Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Contempt For Condi

The Ugly Truth Underlying Boxer's Comments

I can't let this go yet, it's one of those rare things in the news that continues to fester instead of healing naturally and I think I've finally figured out why it's still bothering me: No one is saying the truth of what really was going on between Senator Barbara Boxer and Condoleeza Rice. Put simply: Boxer not only doesn't respect Condoleeza Rice, she has contempt for her. That's really what was on display in that exchange. Rice is a black woman who is not a Democrat and that is a problem for Boxer and for liberal feminists. (Apparently it's also a problem for certain black male civil rights leaders. ...)

Show me the tape of Boxer speaking the same way at a Senate hearing to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright when the Clinton administration had air strikes over Kosovo and Iraq. Never happened.

Show me the tape of Boxer telling former Secretary of State Colin Powell that those who were making decisions about the Bush administration's war in Iraq had the least to lose, personally. Never happened.

Not only doesn't Boxer have the same respect for Condoleeza Rice that she had for Rice's Democratic equal, Madeline Albright, Boxer doesn't have the same respect for Rice as she did for Rice's immediate Republican male precedessor, Colin Powell. Oh let's just drop any pretence of political correctness here and now: Boxer and liberal feminists have outright contempt for Condoleeza Rice because she's a black woman who is a Republican and not a Democrat. That's what this is about.

It's not about equal rights for women anymore, it's not about a woman's autonomy to develop herself, her mind, her own political identity, to exercise her free will and have the ability to make her own life choices. Not at all. Feminism in the United States isn't about any of that anymore. All that matters now is that the woman in question be a Democrat if she's visible as a political activist. It's Democratic partisan politics first, feminist ideals second (if then).

The situation is so mucked up that liberal feminists apparently don't realize they immediately would have slapped Condi's face on the cover of Ms. magazine had Condi been the first Black Female CEO of a Fortune 500 company (not knowing and maybe not inquiring about her political views, but assuming they were exactly the same!). Oh how you would have championed her as the First Black Female Astronaut to Venus (as long as the same Republican politics she has now were secondary to her accomplishments). It's only when a woman's ascension is within specifically Republican ranks that she is held in contempt of feminism. What? You wouldn't champion her as a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination if she switched parties tomorrow? Puh-leeza.

These inconsistencies -- on top of the appalling mental gymnastics liberal feminist leaders engaged in during the 1990s to defend Bill and Hillary Clinton -- underscore the extent to which none of liberal feminism is about feminist ideals anymore. The reason that the liberal feminist movement's applications are inconsistent is precisely because it's no longer feminist first in its emphasis. That is, it is only when viewed from a Democratic perspective that one can find any consistency in liberal feminist positions, arguments, actions, and support for individuals.

It's a movement whose time is over, unless liberal feminists prefer being relegated to the status of one of many subsets within only one polical party. (And don't think for one moment that you are anything more than a subset of the Democratic party. Feminist might be synonymous with Democrat these days, my friend, but not vice versa. That is, "Democrat" in not a synonym for "feminist." Or didn't you notice?) And until liberal feminists come to grips with the truth of their politics, they will continue to engage in inexcusable displays of contempt for strong independent women whose only offense is in choosing to support an opposing political party.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's complicated. But I don't see people dissing, say Dole for being a woman and a republican. My problem with Rice is her unequivocal support for the war, her unequivocal support for the overall completely insane doctrines of neoconservatism.

As for Powell, I lost all respect for him when he went ahead and insisted there were WMD to the U.N.

As far as dissonance between party and feminism, I'm fully aware the liberal establishment isn't necessarily friendly to feminism. I don't read Kos anymore because of its at times virulent misogyny. So don't assume we're none of us aware of all that...

As far as whether Boxer herself stands on respect to Rice? I really don't know...but given Boxer's overall political record, I'll cut her slack first.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Laylalola said...

Well thank you for the thoughtful response. This thing is finally working its way out of my system.

No, I don't pretend everyone who is feminist and attempting to make change working through the established legal/lawmaking/policymaking system doesn't understand the sometimes complicated issues raised. And as part of that weirdness -- and I know it must seem otherwise -- but I'm actually *not* advocating blind feminist support for strong independent women leaders regardless of the content of their partisan political views. Or that any female leader isn't subject to criticism for her positions, Republican or Democrat.

(In the end I guess I'm still shocked at how much certain feminists invest in partisan politics. Want to criticize so-called identity politics? Geez, how about *any* person who puts Democratic or Republican "identities" above all else? Makes little sense to me. And it makes it all the more infuriating when I see such folks who invest so much in a Party "identity" have such inconsistency in applying their secondary feminist ideals, and the inconsistency coming from the fact that they think of themselves as Democratic (or Republican) first, above really all else. What a waste of political focus and energy, and it leads to such hypocrisy, and inconsistency, and loss of credibility to effectively make change in the ... established legal/lawmaking/policymaking process in the first place.)

Oh well. It's really not a new subject. The Boxer-Rice thing, however, sorta has crystalized for me that in some cases it's not just that there is disrespect for a woman whose accomplishments, reversing merely parties, otherwise would be recognized as the work of an independent-minded woman leader -- it isn't just that there's no respect for that based merely on differing political parties. It's deeper than just disrespect. I think there really is the issue of some liberal feminists holding Condoleeza Rice in contempt of feminism for being a black woman leader who is not a Democrat. And that's understandable in some ways, of course. And at the same time -- well maybe it's just a sign of the stages U.S. feminism has gone through and is now at and going through. But I mean I think that dynamic really is out there. And it comes out in weird ways -- sometimes very antifeminist ways at that.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Plane Jane said...

What I want to know is, why wasn't there outrage--or at least more news coverage--a few weeks back when Laura Bush said that Rice could never be President because she wasn't married and didn't have any family support? This from the First Lady of the same party? I'm still trying to figure that one out.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Layla, I'd like to know why you're panty-twisted about Boxer's comments, but don't even get a little breezy about this:

8:48 PM  
Blogger Laylalola said...

Honestly, I hadn't heard Ms. Bush's comments. Is that what the youtube address goes to? I'll check it out. But come on, Ms. Bush doesn't bill herself as either liberal or feminist -- not that that means she should get a pass for making such comments -- but with Boxer of course things were off kilter, she was saying essentially the same thing yet she bills herself as a liberal and a feminist? Please.

In more recent news, today Salon has a feature by a liberal on Obama not really being Black. Even though he technically is black, race-wise, he was raised in Kenya and is a recent immigrant to the United States and is not a descendant of the Western Africa slave trades that make a black a black in the United States apparently. (I guess he's never experienced discrimination based on his race, is one thing she's saying.) But come on, my point stands: none of this anymore has to do with civil rights or women's rights, does it? It's all about extremely convoluted partisan politics and honestly doesn't even make sense anymore (except in some oddball brains out there apparently).

I'll tell you something else -- because wherever I've written about Condoleeza Rice and this kerfuffle with Barbara Boxer invariably there have been gleeful responses from Democrats saying OOOOOOO what if she's a lesbian? That's why everyone who is not a Democrat is so worked up! (First off, you're talking to someone who's slept with women here and is a former radical feminist. Fear that she's a lesbian? Oh Please!)But here's the thing: In D.C., Condi frequently would be seen out to dinner with a Black Male Boyfriend. And news of this was ... visibly ... *unsettling* ... to DEMOCRATS! Now I don't know if this Black Man is a "real" boyfriend or a "beard" for a lesbo-a-go-go Condi, who knows? But it's weird Democrats like to think there's something scandalous to Republicans about the possiblity that Condi might be bisexual or lesbian (and maybe it would be). And at the same time watching the reaction of these same "open-minded" liberals to the D.C. gossip of Condi on town again with her Black Male Boyfriend was ... stunning, really. It's like only then -- and you could see it cross their faces! -- did Condi really even register as BLACK, finally. And that there was something sort of dangerous and yes I'll go back to the word "unsettling" because it's most accurate about the situation, her being Black, and only "proving" her Blackness to liberals in the company of a Black Man ostensibly her sexual companion.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Laylalola said...

Less contentiously, I did just want to say that my original comparison wasn't: Feminists would be in such an uproar they'd relaunch the movement had a Republican (like Laura Bush) -- any Republican, nale or female -- said the same thing to a single, childless REPUBLICAN woman (Rice). It was if a Republicaan (Ms. Bush again) had said what Barbara Boxer did to Condoleeza Rice to a single, childless DEMOCRATIC woman. (Say, for example, that Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe or Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole had said in a public hearing on Capitol Hill to Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine A. MacKinnon, and/or Susan Faludi that none of these women really had any business participating in public policymaking or debate about war (Steinem, MacKinnon), child pornography (MacKinnon, Dworkin), child care (Faludi), etc., because none has a personal stake -- , ie, none has bio-babies.) Heck, consider the feminist outroar if Condoleeza Rice had said to Barbara Boxer what Boxer said to her (I doubt we'd have Skylanda saying Rice was talking sense and she wanted to hear more of it, like Skylanda said in defense of Boxer, but whatever.) I think all of us can agree that under the scenerio I was invoking there would have been instant and widespread -- and legitimate -- feminist outrage.

7:22 PM  
Blogger skylanda said...

Regarding this:

"(I doubt we'd have Skylanda saying Rice was talking sense and she wanted to hear more of it, like Skylanda said in defense of Boxer, but whatever.)"

Layla, please cut the crap about pretending to have any fucking clue what I would say about anything. I did not sellout my ability to discern crap from feminism the day I decided to hang my hat on the f-side of the fence. You are playing right into the wet dreams of every Republican who is banking on the cachet of Condoleeza Rice being a black woman to silence the left out of sense of political correctness over her race and sex. You are giving the right wing everything they desire in this little game - feminists wasting energy defending a woman who needs no defending (christ, she's got the entire GOP behind her - what makes you think she needs your petty little outrage).

If Rice would say what Boxer said - about anyone who continues to push for this murder campaign we pretend to call the war on terror - and mean it, I'd be all over it, in a good way. But Rice isn't gonna say that. She's too busy being the gal that's made you proud - sending more troops to the front lines. You'll have to pardon me if I don't give a fuck about you and your defend-the-BushCo bullcrap. I'm too busy wondering when my brother's number is gonna come up again. But don't you bother your pretty little head about the reality that military families face...after all, your nonsensical political pandering is soooo much more important that real people's real lives.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This could be an amazing blog if you all would get rid of the celeb obsessed nutjob.

4:46 AM  

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