I was not going to vote for Amy, she was my second choice. Elizabeth Warren is my first and I’m voting for her tomorrow in the Minnesota primary (this is not a piece about all the reasons you should vote for Liz – you’ve got the internet for that. This piece is about something else, keep reading.). Pete was my third. Joe and Bernie are both off in the distance, for me, for right now.
I haven’t been rage crying because I was in love with Amy as a candidate. She had flaws, like they all do.
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about joy and how I was trying to imagine myself in a future state joyfully voting for Bernie or Joe or any of the candidates that I am not crazy about (those would mainly be Bernie and Joe). I would throw daisies, kiss babies, and sing “Power to the People” in my best Patti Smith voice while I went door-to-door convincing my neighbors to vote for [INSERT NAME HERE].
I will support and vote for any of the Democrats because they all will be worlds better than Trump. I still believe that. In my head. But I’m not digging up any joy in my heart at the moment.
The reason I was rage crying today was for another reason. It’s said that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’m pretty sure the patriarchy was. It seems to me that it was built overnight through genocide, slavery, raping, pillaging, and plundering. It wasn’t built brick by brick. It went up in a flash and now here we are living in it, unconsciously comfortable in the skin that is our very own homegrown good ol’ USA version of white men taking care of things, and simultaneously ruining everything in the process.
Dismantling patriarchy or any system, on the other hand, is labor done brick by brick. It’s back-breaking and painstaking. It’s protesting and marching and fighting for human rights and it’s court fights and some fist fights and campaigns won and lost and it’s so slow that it seems impossible. My husband’s football coach used to tell him that he ran too long in the same place, so slow he was. That’s what it feels like. And for every brick knocked down, the power puts three back up.
That’s what happened to hit me today while I was just going about my business.
Since Joe and Bernie announced their candidacies I’ve been shouting into the void – “You could step aside! You want to fight the systems that brought us Donald Trump? OK, then – admit that you are part of those systems. Your time has come and gone. You’ve fought your fight, you’ve done your service. Get outta the way and let Kamala, Pete, Cory, Julian or Liz have a turn. You’re done.” They didn’t listen to me.
That’s why I’m mad. We had the most diverse set of Democratic candidates ever. We patted ourselves on the backs and said “Ooh look at what a great diverse set of qualified and smart candidates we have to choose from.” And what happened? One by one they dropped out. Is it coincidence that the two that most likely will be left standing are the two old white guys (I promise to be judicious in my use of “old white guy”), three if you count Bloomberg? Are they that flipping wonderful, or are we just constitutionally* unable to knock down even one brick?
[Now for the digression. I went back through my voting history, starting in 1980 when I cast my first vote for President (Jimmy Carter btw). In all the elections for President and US Senate there were only white men on every ballot both for Democrats and Republicans save four – Joan Growe for US Senate in MN in 1984 (she lost); Tammy Baldwin US Senate Wisconsin (she won); Barack Obama (won), and Hillary Clinton (lost). One black man and 3 white women in 40 years of voting were the only non-white man choices I’ve ever had. And I didn’t count US House or State or local elections. End of digression.]
It’s obvious that Bernie and Joe are both infinitely better than Trump and of course I’m going to vote for whoever gets the nomination, since I’m voting to save our democracy (and against dictatorship), aren’t you? We of course are on the same team, and I’m sure I’ll be able to dig deep and find a way to support either of them. But I am getting a little sick of giving all of these grumpy old men (can I say that?) a second and third and fourth chance. Call me a grumpy old woman.
Every time I saw Amy on that debate stage I saw a strong, smart woman standing there with a bit of Midwestern snark that I happen to like (though some found it bitchy, which probably did her in), grinning while the men around her were waving their arms, red-faced and shouting at each other. I didn’t focus on Amy the imperfect candidate with a problematic record and without a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the nomination (even though she announced in the middle of a Minnesota snowstorm). What I saw most was a strong and smart woman trying her best to knock down a couple of bricks. FFS.
And that’s why I’m sad, and mad, that she’s no longer in the race.
But I’m still all-in for Elizabeth Warren, and I’m not giving up on her, and all this comes with a disclaimer:
“I believe that Elizabeth Warren is honestly truly actually sincerely truly honestly sincerely the best darn honest-to-goodness candidate, and she will be the best President, and I know and I am convinced of that, AND I am obliged to give this disclaimer because she IS a woman and if I didn’t disclaim (is that even a word) as such then people might say ‘you’re only voting for her because she’s a woman’, even though no one would ever admit out loud that they are voting for [INSERT MAN NAME HERE] just because he is a MAN, even though they certainly do vote that way sometimes, or many times, but there I go again with the patriarchy.”
If Liz does not prevail then I guess we’ll keep giving more chances to the old white men (second instance, still judicious), and hope and pray that this time they’ll get it right, or that next time we’ll get it done.
I am asking you to vote for Liz. And if you’re afraid that she can’t win, then remember that the way she wins is if you vote for her.
*Isn’t it interesting that in my rage writing I used the word “constitutionally” – maybe you have noticed that we still don’t have an Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution.
[Artwork shared with permission. John Mavroudis]
©Rebecca Larson 2020