Vote like a black woman.
I’ve been seeing this all over social media, and it’s good advice, sounds simple, but there is a lot of information included in those five words about their choices and motivations. I was chugging right along on these two parts of the post, eager to talk about the Democratic Party, black women’s unreciprocated loyalty to the party, when a headline from a couple of weeks ago stopped me in my tracks, stopped me literally between two posts, the first half that lead to this one and then this one. Here is that headline:
“Court says women have ‘ability to reason’ in upholding block on abortion waiting period” – Vic Ryckaert at Indy Star
Go ahead and read the article. This court recognized that women are human beings with the “ability to reason.” DUH
You can see where there would be some concern on my part, you know, seeing as how women are human beings, and of course we have the ability to reason. In 2018 this is still considered a new concept to people. I’m being serious here. The court had to say this.
America finally recognized a woman’s right to vote 18 August 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. At that point, everyone supposedly had the right to vote, but barriers still remained until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to “overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
It’s been 98 years. The year is 2018, and I am still hearing frustration from women about bullshit the Democrats do/don’t do. It’s as if these women have forgotten that 98 years later there is still no party that represents them (or minorities, or non-Christians, or members of the LGBTQ community, etc.). It’s as if they don’t see that the districts are still gerrymandered all to hell, and we’re still fighting against poll taxes and other forms of voter suppression designed to keep PoC from the polls. We know we’re humans with the ability to reason, but we forget that everyone else doesn’t know that, yet. In 2018, there is no party for the rest of Americans, and there are few to no protections for the rest of us.
This post became less about black women, even though they have historically been the most loyal group which the Democratic party can count on, and more about everyone else, all the people, the voters, who still aren’t represented by any major party. Of course there is some overlap here in these categories, but in America:
- Women make up 51% of the population.
- Native peoples (including Americans, Alaska and Hawaii Natives, Pacific Islanders, etc.) make up about 1.1%.
- Black and African American people are 12.6%.
- Separate from race, Hispanic and Latino Americans (of any race) are 16%.
- Separate from race, people with Asian ancestors make up 4.6%.
- Mixed race or races other than black/African or Asian make up more than 10%.
- Christians make up 73.7% of the population.
- Non-Christians including Jewish people, Muslims, pagans, atheists, etc. are more than 25% (figuring the remaining after the 73.7% that are Christian) of America’s population.
- Approximately 5% of the population (self-reported – figure is likely low considering that when people can answer “safely” more than 11% reported some same-sex attraction, with more than 8% reporting having engaged in same-sex sexual behaviors) are some gender and/or sexual orientation other than cis-gendered and heterosexual. At least 5%.
Expecting the Democrats to represent women is like expecting the NRA to represent school children. That’s not who they are; the NRA represents gun manufacturers’ interests. Expecting something else is unrealistic. Sometimes they’ll make a decision that helps you, but it’s not because they represent you and you want it, it’s because it works out for the people they DO represent and also happens to work out for you. It’s a happy coincidence.
That is not reason enough to join the NRA.
While the Democratic Party still aims to attract those specific men, they – more often than any other party – sometimes make decisions that are helpful to (or at least not harmful to) women, including women of color.
But that is not reason enough to be a Democrat.
The party knows other Americans vote with them, especially black women, but they don’t concern themselves with the rest of their voters or what we want because they don’t want to and don’t have to. How do we change that short of not voting at all? That’s still shooting ourselves in the foot.
As a group, black women choose good candidates. And they vote. They’re motivated. In this two-party system we have to choose whoever they put up because the one and only alternative will, 99% of the time, be a Republican person so hateful and repulsive we’ve no other choice. When you keep this in mind, everything the party does makes sense. Even when it frustrates its most loyal voters.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some excellent people in the Democratic Party. I liked HRC very much. I like that Gillibrand, for example, is going out of her way to represent women. I like that (Kamala) Harris wants to work on prison reform knowing that a disproportionate number of inmates are PoC. We only have two parties to choose from in the current system. I’ll continue to vote blue no matter who, but the time has come when Americans need a party that represents them. They need a consistent platform. No more, “sure, we’ll embrace you ‘pro-life'” candidates even though that would confirm that we don’t care about women at all. No more approving justices that will set us back. I believe that a consistent platform and support for human rights will bring us better representation and better candidates over time.
How do we. . . push the Democratic Party to work for the rest of us?
First, as resisters to the current regime, we need to remind the Democratic Party what we’re trying to get out of our government, and we must remind them of their part in letting the GOP take over and drag us down. I think this is where we have the most differences in the resistance, in our goals. We need to get them all out, obviously, but we need to find a way to fix some ongoing problems including the way we keep “electing” the person who doesn’t get the majority of the votes. Much of our electoral system needs to be revamped. Show us that you recognize the problems, the corruption, the “meddling,” the voter suppression, and show us that you have ideas to solve those problems. Show us you want to be sure we never end up here again.
It might not look like it’s all good for you, but getting rid of the electoral college, is a big part of what needs to go. We need to fix the way we assign Senators to states rather than to people, too. Two per state, regardless of population, was to protect southern farmers. A lot has changed. We need to change, too, so that people are and feel represented in their government.
Besides ridding ourselves of the electoral system, we need to set term limits on Congress people, stop treating businesses as people, and hold our politicians accountable. Enough putting Republicans in to make a mess, then putting Democrats in almost long enough to clean up their mess, and then repeating the whole break it/fix it cycle. We will never move forward this way.
We need to stop thinking in the old ways, fighting old ideas rather than working on new. Why are we fighting to keep Roe v Wade instead of pushing to pass the ERA? Recognize officially that women have equal rights like other humans and Roe v Wade becomes a no-brainer. You wouldn’t ignore men’s privacy and tell them what they can or cannot do with their own bodies. Show 51% of the population that you know we’re humans, that you don’t have to be told we have the “ability to reason.”
Second, we have plenty to fight against already. Show us what you will fight FOR, reachable goals, on our behalf. Not just words; show us you’re going to follow through.
“I do not demand equal pay for any women save those who do equal work in value. Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in their service as workers, not as women.” — Susan B. Anthony
Besides the links in the bottom section about work Democrats are doing right now, there are things we all need. We know that pooling our resources is a way to make good things happen for all. Socialized medicine and education works in many ways the world over. We know it can work.
Raise the minimum wage so that a person working full time can pay their bills from their pay. If businesses can’t afford to pay their workers a living wage, then they can’t afford to be in business. Period.
These basic changes help men, of course, but equality and protections would go a long way to helping all people. All people support families, not just straight, white men. All people need health care and education, shelter and food, not just men.
Take care of the basics, and Americans are free; then we can and will flourish.