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Posts Tagged ‘2008 Election’

Good to know. How can I help? I don’t have anything different to add to the online cacophony other than my endorsement, but yesterday’s statement by Eve Ensler on Huffpo perfectly describes what’s clanging around my own feminist head and heart. Actual blogging may be on hold these days but there comes a time to cut & paste:

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it’s their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don’t like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story — connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God’s plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin’s view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, “It was a task from God.”

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist’s baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God’s name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don’t move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, “Drill Drill Drill.” I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

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I’m not a special interest voter. I believe single-issue voters who refuse to vote for a progressive based on one policy are responsible for keeping the left in splinters and the status quo dominant. Single-issue voting also suggests over-investment in a single cause, which makes me question the voter’s overall judgment and dedication to the common good. But at base we’re all single-interest babies to some extent, and during election cycles it’s something I try to monitor and question to keep from queering my perspective, so to speak. So, while I don’t care only about mental health policy, I care enough to be frustrated by the moratorium on discussing my issue with force and meaning. Yes it’s scary and there’s a lot we don’t know about mental illness, but the same can be said for the war and we’re talking about that.

I caught some of yesterday’s Congressional hearings, and it appears Obama was the smartest person in the room. But 2 minutes into her testimony it was Hillary Clinton who said this:

The cost to our men and women in uniform is growing. Last week the New York Times noted the stress on the mental health of our returning soldiers and marines from multiple and extended deployments. Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third and fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression, or acute stress. … The Administration and supporters of the Administration’s policy often talk about the cost of leaving Iraq yet ignore the greater cost of continuing the same failed policy.

Word. What she means by “anxiety, depression and acute stress” can be seen up close and personal here.

While we’re on it, might as well compare and contrast a couple mental health policy statements the candidates gave to NAMI dearest last winter. You may recall NAMI sent the candidates a 24 item questionnaire based on their pro-drug, anti-choice medical model propaganda. Thin gruel, but the only documented clue we have as to where the candidates stand on mental illness. Little wonder that McCain, who is in the news this week for calling his wife a “cunt” wouldn’t go within an inch of responding to NAMI’s questions about mental health, and the Democrat’s responses are party-line, which is good, but we need sharper discourse and real vetting, especially with regard to Obama’s focus on preventive policy, which rings the nanny bells that so many of us have had it up to here with. But then he goes and hints he will appoint our kind to his executive branch:

I also believe that the federal government should be a model employer of workers with disabilities or mental illness…. To assure that the federal government holds itself to high anti-discrimination standards, I will increase funding to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and assure that the person I appoint to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is committed to enforcing anti-discrimination laws that protect federal employees through a strong Office of Federal Operations. Perhaps most important, I will provide leadership to my appointees throughout the executive branch so that they, employers in the private sector, and workers with disabilities across the country will understand the importance of this issue.

I also find his strong-worded responses to issues of discrimination, seclusion and restraint encouraging but hard to believe so long as he remains subservient to the biopsychiatry framework. On the other hand, Clinton, responding to the question of parity, takes the opportunity to link pharma with the very idea that things aren’t all that hunky dory: (my bold)

All patients should have access to effective treatments recommended by their prescribing physician without the fear that government-sponsored or private insurance will deny these life-saving medicines. That said, we do need to have a better understanding of the best pharmaceutical treatment options for all patients, which is why I have proposed establishing an independent public-private Best Practices Institute. A public-private partnership, this institute would develop and guide research priorities so that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals know what drugs, devices, surgeries, and treatments work best.

Not exactly fighting words, but a hella more than the Rethuglicans have brought to the table, which by my count is nothing.

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h/t: Dr. Soldz

I remember getting pissy and deleting our last attempt at an open thread, entitled, ironically enough The Kitchen Sink, but I’m fixated on the primary and something’s gotta give. I’ve considered going drastic, quit writing about psychiatry altogether and turn this site into a pathetic imitation of 15 million other netroot blogs, or reserve a single open thread for the denouncing, renouncing, hilarity and linky wonderment to come, and see if that curbs my political jones. Could be I’m entrenched in the election because I refuse to mention it, which is mere neurosis, and a timely tip to seek some balance. So please take this thread as an invitation to comment and drop off links to any remarkable agitprop screeds found cruising the Internets. You may know I am a political junkie but there will be no bloodletting whatever your delusion, and no personal attacks despite unseemly depths of conviction or blasé indifference regarding the political process. Switching between the two appears to be the norm.

Full disclosure — I went with Hillary last week but cried a little afterwards, it was knowing that the first time in my life my vote was actually counted, or so I thought… til I checked Wonkette and found a certain bug in the system: Texas Caucus Results Thwarted By Possibly Transgendered Old People

The Texas Caucus will never be decided, and not because of some Diebold terrorist glitch, either. No, it is because old people don’t know the meaning of “transgendered,” and when caucus officials tried to explain it to them last night due to ballot confusion, the old people cursed them out and refused to give any gender at all.

Over at Vanity Fair, James Walcott says what has to be said, in The Sorrow and the Pity Party:

If only returning to the womb were a viable escape option from Hillary’s taloned deathgrip! Probably such posts are indicative of the low morale pervading Sullivan’s side pocket of the universe, his readers mirroring and amplifying his own downcast, defeated mood in a dispersed pity party. Hillary Clinton’s bounce-back on March 4th had Sullivan drowning his sorrows (“I just had a Jager shot, and hope to get drunk very soon”), and staggering like a ghost through the stricken ruins of his dashed hopes, lashing out at Hillary like Sebastian blaming everything on “mummy” in Brideshead Revisited. Or perhaps Sullivan is closer in the depth of his despair to Sebastian’s lover Kurt, sadly, bitterly contemplating his wounded, pus-ridden foot. For Sullivan, Hillary is the psychic pus that torments him so (she’s not just any old “monster,”she’s a “fratricidal maniac”), Obama the healing, uplifting ointment.

And for the cooler heads, this instant classic has been making the rounds, by HTML Mencken at Sadly, No!

The Cult Thing:

Eh. It’s not the support or supporters I object to, it’s the enthusiasm and the fanatics. For any politician. But especially for such mediocre ones. After all, it’s not as if either Clinton or Obama are exactly FDR incarnate; they are both fairly average “liberal” politicians who are thoroughly schooled in the arts of serial triangulation. They ain’t radical; nor are they idealist; they are simply better than any Republican alternative. They’re good enough for a vote (with or without one’s nose tightly held) but that’s it. It just won’t do to mask this homely reality with fawning, drooling praise of either politician.

As usual the fun is in clicking the links, and sharing your impression or lack thereof, whatever the case may be.

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