Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Message to Obama: Half Steps On Social Issues Not Enough

Jill Filipovic published a superb op-ed in the Guardian. Jill is a hardcore Obama fangirl. She takes a realist view of what President Barack Obama will do for feminism. She urges feminist activists to keep fighting for change.

"The progressive solution, so far, has been to just tell the supposedly hated groups (plus poor people, immigrants and people of colour) to keep quiet and wait their turn," writes Jill. "The political capital to help marginalised groups is coming someday, right?"

The political capital has been here. A Gallup poll shows this hasn't been a center-right country since 1991. 52 percent of Americans say they lean Democrat. Obama still feels the need to restart Bush's unsuccessful faith-based program and have the gay bashing Donnie McClurkin and Rick Warren at his political events. Obama vowed not to do politics as usual. He created bigger culture war controversies with Warren and McClurkin than by repealing the Global Gag Rule. Obama won no political capital from the Christian Right and pissed off his base. The President's social policy stances make sense in the framwork of DLC. Obama needs to understand no one cares how Mickey Kaus votes.

Jill writes, "Contrary to what the Ms Magazine cover may imply, Barack Obama isn't Feminist Superman." What she means is Obama is first and foremost a political animal. Feminist issues are not high on his agenda. Feminists and other progressive social groups will have to put pressure on the President. Don't count on Obama lifting a finger to help immigrants, gay and lesbians, teen mothers or anyone else that don't have powerful political clout.

Obama repeatedly reminded us his campaign wasn't about him. It is time we put his words to the test. Too many Americans have been marginalized during the Bush years. We will soon have the have-nots and have-less-than-the-have-nots. Excuses about political capital no longer cut it.

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At February 03, 2009 9:34 PM , Blogger The Donkey said...

"It is time we put his words to the test."

It is more a matter in believing President Obama and doing something to work on the issues. What would you want the President to do different? Should he drop the stimulus package and work on funding abortions for poor people?

If you did want more abortions paid for by us, then it would be better if you work toward that as opposed to saying I am not going to help the President at all because he is half-stepping. How far will the Republicans move these issues? We should work on what we have.

At February 03, 2009 9:43 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

Donkey, I agree that progress activists need to be more proactive. I don't expect Obama to drop the stimulua package. I do want the president to do more than one thing. Sending George Mitchell to Israel showed Obama to be serious about Middle Eastern affairs. Ending the global gag rule was a good start more needs to be done.

Activists can not sign legislation. Obama can and we need to pressure him into backing more progressive policies. The problem is Obama is (at heart) a DLC Democrat. Our interests aren't necessarily his interests. This is something Jill and I agreed on in a Facebook exchange. We are happy that Obama got elected. We understand he isn't a progressive.


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