You and I have been involved for about a year. I’d eyed you from afar at the DNC in ’04, and hoped that something might happen. Then there was that crazy, intense period last spring, when we were definitely doing something, but neither of us knew exactly what – I mean, should I commit to you, or keep my options open for the first female president? Was what I was thinking, and I know you felt that – but, by June, we seemed to have it all figured out. I was committed, and not just in some bullshit “you’ll do for now” way, which (I hate to admit) is how I’ve been with most other candidates. I could see a real future with you.
That’s why these past months have been so rough. I mean, I guess what I’m saying is that my mental picture of your campaign was like this:
Now, Jon Favreau may have many great qualities as a speechwriter, chief among which seems to be an ability to utilize the progressive rhetoric specific to his generation (it is mine as well, so I recognize it!) which Bush’s disastrous presidency made popular even among people with no real commitment to social justice issues, while skillfully blending said rhetoric with some lyrical passages and some crowd-pleasing ambiguities, managing to convey a take on social issues and that particular subset thereof which we call “identity politics” which far outstrips that presented by any other President in terms of its intelligence, depth, and nuance, while cleverly distracting the reader or listener from the fact that nothing has been promised or even said outright. I know you like that. However, I always thought that you were more than just talk. Together, you and Jon convinced me that you knew what you were talking about – that you got it. If this photo is any indication, then Jon, at least, does not.
I get the feeling that I don’t really know your gender politics any more, Mr. President. Maybe I never did. However, it says something that you kept Jon around, knowing – as you must have known – about these, shall we say, tendencies of his. What it says is not good.
That’s not the end of it, either. The Larry Summers thing really hurt. I mean, it was such a betrayal. I tried to convince myself that you didn’t know about his “girls are dumb” thing, but it didn’t work. I mean, my mom knew about that, and she’s hardly the type to spend 50% of her day surveying the feminist blogosphere like I do. You’re clearly smart – my smartest President ever, I think – which means that, when you do things like this, I can’t really convince myself that you “just don’t know any better.” You always know better. The question is whether you care.
Rick Warren, Mr. President? RICK WARREN?! Be honest: how little respect do you actually have for me? The worst, most humiliating part of it all is that I blame myself. I finally go ahead and trust a President – something I’ve never really done – and the next thing I know my friends are coming at me with news like this. Then you have the gall to defend yourself by saying that you “[disagree] with Pastor Warren on issues that affect the LGBT community.” Um, great, me too, but what about issues that affect my community? You know: the one comprised of women? Women, whom your new BFF Rick believes should be in submission to their husbands (they will all have husbands in Rick’s ideal world – even the Ls! – just as the Gs will have wives and the Bs and Ts will not exist), and to whom he would like to deny access to safe and legal abortion? Or does that not merit a mention – is that just one of those “other issues” you disagree on even though you don’t apparently disagree so much that you can refrain from giving this man a crucial role in your inauguration (and your tacit approval thereby) because it’s “bringing together all sides of the faith discussion in search of common ground?”
Mr. President, I’m tempted to say that you have found your common ground with Rick Warren, and it consists of being utterly dismissive and clueless re: women’s issues, which at this moment both of you seem to be.
You know about my last Democratic Presidency, of course. Everyone knows about that shitshow. It was long, and intense, and although Bill and I had some good times – I’ll always be grateful for the deficit – for the most part it was just scandal, scandal, scandal, all the way through. I had to overlook Paula Jones. I had to overlook Gennifer Flowers. It was fucking impossible to overlook Monica Lewinsky, although (sick to say) I tried. I was the very picture of an abused, codependent feminist voter. “I mean, I guess if you looked at these things from an outsider’s perspective,” I would say, “it might seem like my President is a misogynist with severe impulse control issues who exploits his institutional power in order to seduce or sexually coerce young women, engaging in sexist, demeaning, belittling cigar-in-the-pussy behavior verging on sexual assault, which I would find utterly revolting and unacceptable from any other man on the face of the planet. But you don’t know him like I do. He really tries. And he’s better than some of the other guys out there.” Looking back at myself, all I can say is: YIKES.
I do not intend ever to get back into that place, Barack. I certainly don’t intend to go there with you. As far as our Presidency goes, there will be a zero-overlooking policy.
So, Mr. President, here’s the sand. I want you to watch me very carefully while I draw this here line in it. I’m going to be generous and say that you haven’t crossed it yet, but you are close, very, very close, so close that the outermost grains of it are brushing against your shoe. You need to back away from this line, this line you have not quite crossed, at a speed so great it could break the sound barrier, if my support for you is to continue. Do something to show me you care. Lifting the Global Gag Rule would be a good start. I know this comes across as “needy” and “demanding” and all those other things us chicks are always being warned against – it creates a division in your party! people will be reluctant to ally themselves with you! blah! blah! blah! – but frankly, I’m a little tired of being ignored.
You do not want to cross that line, Mr. President. Hell, as they say, hath no fury like a voter base scorned. You think you had a tough time with Hillary? Just you wait.
A Lady Voter