Painful Lessons by Lynette Long in today’s Baltimore Sun

In honor of the women I wrote about for the Bloggers Unite for Human Rights event, I wanted their post to remain front and center on my blog throughout the weekend.

My planned subject for today’s blog was completely unrelated to politics, gender, human rights, etc., but then I read an article in today’s Baltimore Sun and thought it so very well written and thought provoking, I wanted to share it.

Here it is in full with a link to the actual article:

www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.women18may18,0,3121832.story

Painful lessons

Primary reveals obstacles facing women in politics

By Lynette Long

May 18, 2008

This primary campaign has been quite a learning experience, but the lessons have mainly been bitter ones for women. Here are some things I learned on the way to the Democratic National Convention:

People are more sensitive to racism than sexism. My twenty-something daughter returned home extremely agitated after casting her ballot in the Democratic primary. “This white guy was wearing a T-shirt that read, ‘Hillary, cook my food, but don’t run my country,’ and no one said a thing. If I wore a T-shirt that said, ‘Obama, shine my shoes but don’t run my country,’ I’d be called a racist.” Doing or saying anything perceived as racist is not tolerated in today’s America, but that’s simply not true of sexist behavior.

Most people aren’t aware of the insidious sexism in this campaign. I’ve heard commentators say “Mrs. Clinton and Senator Obama,” subtly implying she was a wife and he was a senator. I’ve heard Sen. Hillary Clinton called a bitch, a witch, and a she-devil on national television. I’ve watched group after group of predominantly male panelists on talk show after talk show discuss the election without a thought for female input.

Women voters are not factored into the decision making of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is concerned that black voters will protest and stay home if Senator Clinton gets the nomination, even though she is the stronger and more electable candidate. But the DNC doesn’t worry that white women, three times larger than the combined black vote, will stay away from the polls if Mrs. Clinton does not get the nomination. They expect the white women of the party to fall in step and vote for Mr. Obama in the general election.

The rules for women candidates are not the same as the rules for male candidates. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy adamantly supports Mr. Obama, even though Mrs. Clinton won his home state, Massachusetts, by 14 points. Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly called for Mrs. Clinton to pull out of the race, yet when he was running for president in 1980 he took his bid for the Democratic nomination to the convention floor, trying to change the rules to unseat Jimmy Carter, who already had enough delegates to clinch the nomination. And let’s not forget that this year Mike Huckabee stayed in the contest for the Republican nomination when he had no chance of winning. He was committed to stay in the race until Sen. John McCain reached the number of delegates needed to win. At the end of the contest he had a total of 267 delegates, more than 900 behind Mr. McCain. No media barrage pushed Mr. Huckabee to withdraw. Barack Obama has not reached the needed number of delegates to win the nomination, yet Mrs. Clinton – who is fewer than 200 delegates behind Obama – is being pressured by commentators and the DNC to withdraw.

In the world of presidential politics, race trumps gender. It appears that young, white voters are more willing to vote for a black candidate than young, black voters are willing to vote for a white candidate. My analysis of the statistics found that young white voters seemed to perceive race as less of a factor in their voting preferences, since more than half of them selected Mr. Obama. More than 90 percent of blacks have voted for Mr. Obama, creating a large racial bloc. Female black voters prefer Mr. Obama by essentially the same margin as male black voters.

Politics is a mathematical business. Popular votes, electoral votes, delegates, superdelegates, precincts, districts and states are all numbers to be crunched. Voters are categorized by factors including age, gender, race, religion and income. Statistical tools such as trends, clusters, margin of error, polls, projections and polling preferences are all used to track candidates and predict winners. Pundits use their knowledge of statistics to select and organize data points so they can spin data to present their candidate in the most favorable light.

Political commentary and election coverage is biased. MSNBC is called the “Obama News Network” by various blogs. CNN claims neutrality, but bias seeps through: In my view, its commentators Amy Holmes and Roland Martin are blatant Obama supporters; David Gergen and Donna Brazile are also Obama supporters; and Carl Bernstein and Campbell Brown don’t like Mrs. Clinton.

What else have I learned? That most Americans vote with their hearts rather than their heads. That voters make decisions out of fear and personal interest rather than out of principle. That all politics is local politics. That when voters like a candidate they will excuse almost anything, and when they don’t like a candidate they will parse every word and excuse no sins. I’ve also learned that the most powerful constituency is the media. And I’ve learned that true courage is especially hard to find – especially in a politician.

Lynette Long is a psychologist in Bethesda and the author of 20 books. Her e-mail is drlynettelong@aol.com.

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4 thoughts on “Painful Lessons by Lynette Long in today’s Baltimore Sun

  1. That voters make decisions out of fear and personal interest rather than out of principle>>>

    And voting for McCain is about personal baggage rather than principle……….

  2. I was a strong Hillary supporter, marched in the first march after Stonewall, in other words, i’ve got feminist and queer credentials and then some. to vote for anyone but Obama at this point—yes he should have done better by us–suggests a disregard for the whole of our world, not just our country, not just our communities.

    Obama made a big big mistake as did the Democratic National Committee leadership as did the leadership of the Dem parties in Michigan and Florida and so on.

    Reality is we have to choose the ticket that is the better of them all, if not what we’d hoped for. Anything less is self-absorption. Sacrifice. Once again we are called upon to sacrifice. I know–it stinks. But it is what it is! McCain’s pick of Palin had NOTHING to do with conviction. If you think it did…

  3. What?? You all have missed the entire point. The caucus fraud and voter fraud was RAMPANT. This entire thing was a sham. Including scripted so called roll call.

    I will not and I cannot vote FOR someone who used cheating to silence my vote and millions of others. To do so is equal to not having any say on ANY issue. people have fought and died for my right to vote, if Obama and the D.N.C. think this cheating by ACORN and the Obama campaign was okay to do and now we will follow there dog whistle home they are mistaken. If they cheat in the G.E. they will STILL be called out on it and so will their candidate.

    To the person above who called Dr. Long “bitter” Thank you for giving a perfect example of how when any woman has a legitimate right to take issue she is diminished with words like “bitter”

    Righteous anger has it’s place yet we are “dismissed” with your sexist language as a matter of course in this society. Examine your own words and values.

    The D.N.C. and the Obama campaign with this caucus cheating and voter fraud have set women back to the days before Alice Paul and The National Women’s Party and if you do not see that then I feel sorry for you.

    It will be YOUR vote that won’t matter next.

    I am not voting for Obama, he stole my vote by cheating and caucuses thus canceling out the TRUE will of all the voters and the super delegates were bought off.

    Also please use a more reliable source for information than “Fact Check” they are owned by the Annenberg Foundation…meaning ACORN and in bed with the Obama campaign.

    Dr. Long Soros, Oprah, G.E. *a sponsor of Oprah* and a few others including GOOGLE who filtered information in favor of Obama early on controled the information and the way that information was presented during this primary season. George Soros son is on the board of “Google” and at one point Google even admitted to censoring search results in Obama’s favor siting “racism” as the reason yet a blood bath of sexism was fine as long as it didn’t favor Senator Clinton.

    If you all want to go along with this b.s. which is worse than what Nixon did by FAR and if you trust Obama to do what he says, you are not using critical thinking or doing the homework you should be doing. Obama doesn’t care about you, if he did he wouldn’t silence voters, cheat in EVERY single caucus state to over turn the real voice of those who voted in primaries, he wouldn’t have sat silent for the misogyny that was benefiting him. Change? Sometimes, change is for the worse.

    Dr. Long your caucus fraud analysis is amazingly well researched with tons of videos taken AT the caucuses.

    I’m looking into getting the ACLU in my state involved even if Obama and his “registered new voters with ACORN” steal the G.E.

    We cannot allow any politician to lie this much and to steal the rights of the voters. He’s going to be held accountable one way or the other whether he goes to the White House or not. The man is a disgrace.

    Alice Paul’s namesake,

    Feminists against voter fraud. Suffragists for Democracy.

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