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Happy Trails, Robin.

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A response to Robin Morgan’s “Good-bye to all that #2”

Elizabeth Ferrari

US elections 2008: The women's movement must condemn the sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton and must also unite to reject her candidacy anchored in racial division and pseudo-masculinist bullying.


To Robin I can only say on this occasion of your second good-bye, happy trails to you.

Happy trails, double standard. I grew up in the seventies. And I fought for and lived by the idea taught to me so carefully by my feminist mentors that my life really was for itself and not for spectacle. And that dwelling in possibility was the way forward. Both, not either. As a young feminist, I fought shoulder to shoulder with other women but also, with anyone marginalized right out of their sneakers in this culture. I didn’t see the oppression foisted on me by this culture as more especially wrong. It was all wrong. It still is all wrong. The strides that any of us have made were and are due to our collaboration – not to the privileging of one form of bigotry over another.

Happy trails, toxic viciousness. It’s not enough to assert that because a woman is running for the highest office in the land that women should accept the toxic viciousness that emanates from the campaign that Clinton is waging. It wasn’t enough to be told that Clinton was inevitable, it wasn’t enough to listen to her apologies for her race baiting surrogates, it isn’t enough to watch her out-roar Obama, McCain and Bush. That she reflexively mimics the violent rhetoric of the right wing is not an achievement, although it may be a measure of her ability to lead – poll-based and intemperate. This country has had enough of war mongering; the world has had enough of our war mongering to last a lifetime. A lifetime of mourning for the millions of lives lost, crippled, displaced.

Happy trails, news coverage target practice. It’s possible that if we get an actual progressive into the White House, the horrendous surrenders that the Clinton administration ceded to the corporate media might be reversed. I’m at the moment confused as to whether that surrender is a piece of the Clinton years that Hillary is claiming or disavowing. And perhaps the sexual predator Bill O’Reilly won’t have the privilege of hosting former First Ladies or Presidents. We can hope.

Happy trails to the meme that all blacks are male, and that all women are white. And that would herald the silence of the Clinton campaign that has figured Obama as a drug dealer, a mugger and a carjacker. That would mean that a thoughtful black man wouldn’t be “feminized” as somehow “weak” by the Clinton campaign because he prefers to deploy that old tool, diplomacy, over the mindless escalating rhetoric of obliteration as a first measure. Has anyone notified Hillary Clinton that the women’s movement and the anti-war movement have been entwined since their inception? Robin?

Finally, happy trails to, you, Robin for calling me a pouting hand-wringer:

“Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn't as "likeable" as they've been warned they must be, or because she didn't leave him, couldn't "control" him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. . . Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn't bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them." -- Robin Morgan

Happy trails to the politics of gas lighting. It’s not my problem, nor any voter’s problem, what accomadations Hillary Clinton made in her marriage. It becomes my problem when the consequences of that deal impacts my government. It isn’t her cookies that disturb me. It was her support for NAFTA and later, her lies to Ohioans about her support for NAFTA. It wasn’t Bill’s blow job that I care about, but his blowing the Colombian government for a fat fee – a government that has the highest assassination rate of labor organizers in the world -- that bothers me. That should bother you, too, Robin. They do it with chain saws. Do you get it? Hillary is claiming the lunch bucket vote while her partner is taking blood money from the murderers of union organizers.

Happy trials to overlooking vote suppression! Hundreds of thousands of black voters have been targeted for robo calls that deliver confusion ahead of the North Carolina primary. The same organization, Womens Voices, Womens Vote, has caused havoc in five other states among black voters, and all the while, pretending to be advocates for women voters. Qui bono? And, how egregious is that cover? Perhaps because I was fostered in a feminist movement that actually did believe in equality, that makes me furious. And I will continue to work for equal protection for these voters.

I will forgo voting for Hillary not because she is a woman. I cannot vote for her because I am a feminist. And because selective bigotry deployed for political purposes is anathema, is not what I busted my ass for all these years. Happy trails, Robin.

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Elizabeth Ferrari is a San Francisco author and activist.
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