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Sparkly's Journal
Sparkly's Journal
March 11, 2024

The 20-year DU Anniversaries (a little history?)

A fellow DUer's 20th anniversary here reminded me -- of course! DU began after the devastation that was Bush v. Gore. I hope it's okay to post a short history, without breaking the rules. It seems too long ago for it to revive any feuds.

The "Shrub" administration seemed as threatening then as the orange menace seems now. By 2004, the fight among primary candidates was fierce. The DU sensibility was generally for Howard Dean. Some of us who supported other candidates lurked on other sites but feared joining DU. I know those of us who supported Gen. Wesley Clark ("Clarkies&quot considered DU with some trepidation.

Clark's strategy included Dean winning Iowa, thinking it might then become a two-man race in New Hampshire and narrow further in South Carolina. But Dean lost Iowa, and Kerry and Edwards came out with huge momentum.

General Clark dropped out of the race in February, and Dean dropped soon afterward. Once Super Tuesday was over, the coast seemed clear at DU. John Kerry was going to be the nominee, like it or not, and everyone was (somewhat) welcome at DU.

That's why there was an influx of new DUers in March of 2004, and why we're likely to see a lot of 20-year anniversaries around now! I just checked my profile, and realized my own 20th anniversary on DU will be March 12th. How time flies!!!

Remembering those times, I am really grateful for the flexibility of the DU owners, operators, and admins - past and present - who rolled with troubled times, changed the rules as needed, and even opened all the new forums to keep us going after 2004. Even though I haven't posted as much lately, DU has been important to me for a long time.

January 13, 2021

Why are the Republicans finally jumping ship?

Just today, we're seeing some die-hard, dug-in Republicans rolling over, and apparently ready to throw Trump under. Clearly it's related to the attack on the Capitol last Wednesday, but it still took days to see a budge. After four years of Trump's abject lawlessness, corruption, criminality, defiance, and mania, what do you think finally may have made even the last hold-outs consider going against him?

June 3, 2020

I See a Backlash Coming: "The Karen"

This is how we become divided -- by stereotypes, prejudices, biases, assumptions and classifications that put us in boxes like Barbies on a shelf -- just a quick look at the packaging tells you the 'type.'

That's how a few instances created The Welfare Queen, still the symbol used to justify white outrage over taxes and "big government."

It's how "militant" feminists fighting for our rights were cast as Man-Hating, Unnatural Women, symbols of feminism and targets of attack, for decades.

There's also the Brainless Trophy Wife, the Bitter Old Hag, and the Snobby Liberal Elitist Nothing in Particular Just Hate Her. (See: The Karen.)

From the earliest times, we have women's names to blame -- Pandora, then Eve. (Careful of your Marys, sisters!) The blame passes down, often by first name.

Of late, the name "Monica" has been slut-shamed. And let's not have another "Hillary"!!

The Becky, now Amy Cooper as a new symbol of the white liberal racist Barbie, and Minneapolis as somehow -- facts be damned -- creating a basis for excluding Amy Klobuchar.

Ultimately, the new stereotype: The Karen...

This is not about INclusion. It is about EXclusion. The backlash is coming at "liberal, educated (Democratic)" white women, and you know why we can't call it out? Because I know, I know, who can have any sympathy for us? Aren't our lives just perfect???

I am with Black Lives Matter.
I am with the protesters.
I am with the movement for change.
I am voting for Joe Biden.

But the struggle in our racial tug-of-war has impacted me, violently. I am hesitant to speak of it because after all, I'm a privileged white woman.

Feminism starts with EQUALITY.

DO NOT label me a "KAREN."

September 13, 2019

Why is Biden in the lead?

I hear it's because he's viewed as the safest bet to beat Trump. He has the gravitas of having served as President Obama's VP. He's got decades and decades of experience.

But he has never been a great -- or even a good -- retail politician, as many times as he's tried, and now he is far, far worse. Set aside the long history that the RNC would love to turn into juicy campaign ads and smears, this is simply NOT our best candidate, by any measure.

Can we just admit that many of his answers were virtually incoherent?? (Radios and record players, as just one example?) I know what he was trying to say, but he is not able to say it.

Debates should matter. This is our party's time to decide. (Or, our party in the three early states -- the rest seem to follow suit.) My state is late, but I support candidates in the process.

In my undecided opinion, three of tonight's ten are now X'd out: Biden, Bernie, and Yang.

I have some favorites among the other seven -- I get emails and contribute to three -- but actually I'd be very excited to support and campaign for any one of them.

I just don't get why Biden is on the top of any list except the "ruled out" list. He's a great guy, and was a fine VP; this is just my personal opinion of his candidacy for potus. It astonishes me, seeing his performance tonight, that all the criticism and commentary is about the people who may have gone against him.

November 7, 2018

Hey Backlash - YOU shut up and disappear!! Hillary Clinton matters now, and into history!!

I voted' stickers put on Susan B. Anthony's grave
Women's suffragist Susan B. Anthony never got the chance to vote, so people are leaving "I voted" stickers on her grave as tribute to her.

Not a mention of HRC, even showing clips from 2016.

The women's march of 1/21/2017 supposedly had nothing to do with women relating to the anger we felt at the double standards thrown at Hillary Clinton every step of the way, the offensive behavior of Trump, the absurdity of his crowds, media, and her qualifications vs. his. I don't ever want to hear again that she was a "bad candidate." BULL!!

The Access Hollywood tape. The women who came forward against him, and his cruel hypocrisy sitting Bill Clinton's accusers in front of HRC at a debate. His making fun of her nearly fainting from exhaustion near the end of the campaign; his interrupting her during the debates -- these are things women can ALL identify with, some of us all too well. (And by the end of the Kavanaugh hearing, it was boiling over among my friends.)

So yes, Susan B. Anthony. Geraldine Ferraro. AND Hillary Clinton. In 2020, I know we're already looking at men again. But for the 100th anniversary, it would be awesome to have a woman nominee again -- one of an age to have fought what Hillary did, and no doubt Hillary would speak for her at the convention. She's always there for the greater good.

The Backlash LOVES to tell inconvenient women to shut up and go away. Throughout history, that's its main role. She's laying low, unfortunately. I hope someday the country will sing her praises, along with other women who were maligned in their lifetimes.
September 29, 2018

This is why Race and Gender Matter: EXPERIENCE MATTERS

I've said this before, in other ways and in other contexts, but here we go again.

We are NOT a "post-racist" or "post-sexist" society. For that reason and others, simple role-reversal arguments ("what if the man had been a woman," "what if the black person had been a white person" etc.) do not necessarily prove level equivalence.

We know the claims that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim determined to destroy America somehow. The "defense" has said that his mother was white and he was raised by white grandparents, so he's not really so black. Then a backlash says that being "raised white" makes any claim to cultural blackness - in speech or mannerisms - fake. But our identity unfolds from experience of other's response to us. Obama presents what people see and respond to as a black face. In other words, there is no question he knows the experience of being a black American man.

Even more, we are cast as "Male" or "Female." Generations of women before us have fought for equal justice, knowing it requires equal representation. To get equal representation, I think we need to acknowledge that we are NOT post-sexist or post-feminist. We need to VALUE the experience of women who have lived what we have -- sitting in classrooms where only boys were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up; where men and boys taunted and humiliated us, or worse; where teachers belittled us, or worse; enduring street harassment, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape; feeling silence and shame.

Meanwhile, perhaps, being belittled, criticized, insulted, manipulated. You're too frivolous or too serious; too staid or too sexy; too timid or too assertive; too feminine or too masculine; too professional or too mommy-track; too analytical or too sensitive; makeover, makeover, makeover. We saw Hillary Clinton go through this from the early 1990s on. How dare she think, speak, work, not bake cookies, wear that, bake THAT, say THAT, wear THAT etc. etc.... (cue 2008: "Why is she so guarded?&quot

Experience matters, which is why I WANT to see women who have LIVED the experience of being women in positions of political power (and specially a president who was a woman between the 1960s and 1990s - I can dream). Women know about CHILD CARE. Women know about HEALTH CARE. Women know about WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT.



*(I reserve the right to take this back if the Republicans come up with a Phyllis Schaffly or Anne Coulter type!)

March 25, 2018

It is still not hip to be With Her.

It wasn't hip to be with Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton, either.

Then it wasn't hip to be with Suffragettes who were beaten and jailed before the 19th amendment in 1920.

Then it wasn't hip to be "mannish" or "unwomanly."

Then it wasn't hip to want to keep your job, after training returning GIs to do it.

Then it wasn't hip to object to economic oppression or social repression, but you could be medicated.

Then it wasn't hip to be feminist, because pro-equality must = anti-men.

Then it wasn't hip to be for women, because nobody wants to be a militant feminist.

Then it wasn't hip to imagine we weren't already equal, because we are. If you don't get that, YOU must have issues.

Then it wasn't hip to speak up about sexual discrimination, harassment, domestic violence etc., because you women said you wanted equality.

Then it wasn't hip to support a woman who'd survived all this for president, because we're so past all that, we're post-feminism. That's so old! The hip thing is to be so arrived, that we oppose the woman. That's how up-to-the-minute we are.

Now we're so up-to-the-minute, she is persona non grata. The woman who went further than any other. The woman who was ahead of her time, all the time. The woman who deserves us to cheer and champion her. Instead, the message is, "Go away." and "If only it'd been Bernie or Biden..."

SOME day, people will realize how screwed up the national sexist psyche is, and how steadfastly strong she was.

Call me unhip. I'll always be WITH HER.

March 25, 2018

From the Million Mom March to this -- a Feminist perspective

Stinky and I showed up for the Million Mom March on Mother's Day, 2000, in DC (our first protest together).

The Million Mom March took its name from the Million Man march a few years earlier, but it was all about women taking on gun violence and advocating for gun control. We brought "Sparkly Jr." with us.

Then-Senate-candidate Hillary Clinton was there, and we got to shake her hand. Sparky Jr. shares her first name (different spelling), and I'd shown her pictures in the newspaper of the new First Lady, with a name like hers, reading to children back in 1993...

Discussion forums in 2000, as I recall, were a CNN message board (one board scrolling with every message -- so fast it was mind-boggling) and AOL boards. I got into heated exchanges about gun control, and learned a lot in having to debunk the absurd logic of gun nuts.

In 2004, I joined DU (via other message boards - MWO, BartCop, a Democrats' forum I've forgotten) after lurking a long while as a "Clarkie" -- some will remember the controversy!

The gun control debate was hot here. (Is there still a "Gungeon?" I don't even know!!) Voices for gun control legislation were in a slim minority. Unrestricted gun 'rights' were advocated as the true 'liberal' stance (because hey, "liberty" is two letters away from "liberal," or something). Reminders that this view of "liberty" was actually in line with far-right Republican policies, while the Democratic party's platform had long embraced gun control, were met with hostility. I had one comrade against arms. He was tireless, and he was banned.

The results of gun "liberty" have been tragic since the Million Mom March. As we were marching that day 18 years ago, some of the children who marched today were being born, or conceived, or considered.

I've often thought it would take another military draft to energize a new youth movement of the kind we saw during the Vietnam war, but here we are. These kids, too, have skin in the game. It's just a different game.

One difference is that the girls are equally loud and equally heard, if only because they are equally victimized. (Not to say that women were ever safe from men's violence, but that's another story.)

It's been a relatively short time since the Million Mom March, where we met HRC; it's been a short time since the bombastic orange moron maligned and maneuvered his way around her and into the White House; and it's been a short time since the Women's March in DC the day after the creature's inauguration, where women of all ages and colors, along with men supporting us, expressed our abject outrage.

I hate what has happened to spur this, yet I love seeing the power of the response, and especially the voices of women (always the strongest proponents of peace) -- heartfelt and HEARD, at long last.

January 18, 2018

Phrase to Retire: "Everyday People."

The best context for "everyday people" is the Sly & the Family Stone song by that title, with the lyrics:
I am no better, and neither are you.
We are the same whatever we do.

And "different strokes for different folks!"

I just saw a focus group of evangelical Trump supporters on MSNBC. The whole thing made my skin crawl, but especially when one guy said Trump should go out and hold more rallies for "everyday people."

What is an everyday person? Are there every-other-day people? Twice-a-week people? Only-on-Sunday people?

Of course, I know what they mean. They mean people just like THEM. The segment wrapped up with the question of what evangelical, so-called Christians like most about Trump: "religious liberty," which to them is the liberty to discriminate against people who don't share their religious views.

Everyday people are fine with discrimination, imposing their views on others, breaking up families, and having a sexist, racist, dishonest, money-grubbing imbecile as leader of the free world. This is what Jesus would want -?

I guess if you're not an everyday person, you're a liberal elitist intellectual chardonnay-sipping hot-tub soaking person. Or, you might be a lazy welfare cheat living off the government teat, depending on the stereotype of the day.

I'm just proud I'm not their definition of an Everyday Person.

January 8, 2018

Amid all the bravos at the Golden Globes tonight, there is one name conspicuously missing.

The Golden Globes celebrated women tonight.

Women celebrities wore black in solidarity. All lauded the roles of powerful women they played. There were words of righteous anger, there were heartfelt tears, there were "right-on's!" We're not gonna take it anymore!

Various women were lauded, from Rosa Parks to Margaret Atwood to Recy Taylor to a slew of fictitious women.

This, when we just saw the first woman become the nominee of one of the two major political parties... A woman who fought back sexism her whole life, who endured ongoing harassment as we all did, who broke all the 'norms' of first-lady as an accomplished woman in her own right (who didn't particularly care about her hairstyle or clothes or cookie recipes, thank you very much).

She took on health care when nobody else would touch it. She fought for children's rights, for minority rights, and yes for women's rights, worldwide. She became the most qualified candidate in modern history (some say equaled by George HW Bush, but she fought battles he couldn't have imagined).

Seeing her defeated by a monstrosity of misogyny, hostility, dishonesty, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, megalomania and abject disqualification for the presidency was a SHOCK.

So many people underestimated the power of sexism, its insidious persuasion and the depths of its effects, too many people were sure she would win (a narrative pushed by some opponents).

The shock *prompted* the 1/21/17 women's march in Washington. Women who'd spoken out against Trump were magnified to a level that couldn't be ignored.

Here we are, shy of a year later, preaching about courage, milestones, and women's progress! Lots of women at the Golden Globes, in glittering black gowns, surgically altered to look 1/3 their age, oh so proud of their sisterhood -- and none would DARE say the name of that one woman.

The one who didn't get makeovers, facelifts, tummy-tucks or liposuction. The one who fought tooth and nail to accomplish what she did from the time she was a little girl. The one who excelled on her own brilliance, and her own courage to work for causes she believed in. Sorry, she looked frumpy, and was never cool. She's not a thing you feel really cutting-edge, in-the-know admiring aloud at parties.

Just like the word "FEMINIST," her name was made into a pejorative by a strong backlash early on. Once a step of progress was accomplished, the reaction was swift -- "Feminist" became an uncool word to avoid. "I'm all for women's rights, but I wouldn't say I'm a feminist."

Now it's "I'm all for women's rights, but I wouldn't say.... HER name."

We can't move forward if we keeping sweeping every step we make under the rug, because it's immediately culturally shut away in the past, no longer relevant, no longer welcome, hip, or worthy of mentioning.

Can't we just say her name proudly, as the first woman to come as far as she did?

I'll start: Hillary Clinton!!

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