Monday, June 9, 2008

It's lights out, unless.....

Here on the Plains, we've had quite a few MAJOR storms in the last month. More than once, my fellow prairie dwellers have had to curse the darkness AND light a candle, since whole neighborhoods have lost electricity--along with their trees and cars--in the heavy rain and winds.
Every time that familiar flicker before the dark hits at my house, my baby-boomer mind thinks of that old Peter Wolf song, Lights Out. It starts out, "Lights out, uh huh, blast, blast, blast!"

So where the hell is this free association going? was lights out last Saturday for Hillary Clinton. And even though I supported Obama, I did not think that watching her concede was a blast. To the contrary, it bummed me out. She's a smart, gifted politician who was in the right place at the wrong time. We don't talk about it much, but I think one reason why Democratic prairie people were more supportive of Obama than Clinton (by 3-1) is because we know Obama's ascension does not herald a post-racial era (as a lot of giddy people say it does), but he certainly moves us forward. It would have been great to have a woman president. But Clinton's vote on the war made her, in this particular year, an imperfect vessel for those dreams.

Which brings me to my central thesis: there is a lot of talk, by the pundits, and more than a few female Clinton supporters, that with Clinton out, their allegiances will switch to McCain. To anyone contemplating that: please DON'T. If you do, it really will be lights out, for the women of this country. We will fall further and further backward as he kowtows to the wingnuts and appoints extremists to the Supreme Court (the next president will probably have the opportunity to nominate three people).

It already is lights out for Lily Ledbetter, the plaintiff in the Title VII sex discrimination suit against Goodyear Tire. You can read for yourself
about Ledbetter's egregious treatment at Goodyear--about the huge pay gap between her salary and other managers' salaries, for 20 YEARS, despite her excellent performance reviews. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against her, with Bush appointees Roberts and Alito in the majority. McCain has already signalled his enthusiasm for judges in that mold.

And, of course, with McCain we can all kiss a woman's right to choose goodbye, as the judges he appoints will join the Bush appointees in overturning Roe v. Wade. This will place decisions about abortion not with women and their doctors but with state legislatures.

These sorts of scorched earth tactics never work. Ask all those Nader supporters in Florida if they STILL think there wasn't "a dime's worth of difference" between Bush and Gore.

All it takes is a relative few of you to do the unthinkable. Go ahead. And that blast you'll be hearing will be the sound of our civil rights, gone up in flames.

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