Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Domestic Violence

Courtesy of Chinaberry Turtle in a comment on an earlier post, I found out that one of the Blogger Boyz whose site I no longer visit characterized the battle between the Hillary and Barry factions of the party as some kind of "lover's quarrel", where, once the Hillary side realizes it can't win, they will kiss and make up with the winner. We wimminz (because we all know Hillary supporters are just typical old white wimmin) will come around and vote for The Precious and if we don't, well then we're infantile.

I hardly know where to start with this alleged analysis.

What gets described in popular culture as lover's quarrels has a more clinical name - domestic violence. It is the use of physical force and/or psychological manipulation against an intimate partner, most often done for the sake of exercizing power over that person. While mostly a behavior performed by males upon females, it can be the other way around and it occurs in same-sex relationships as well. Regardless of the actual genders of the people involved, the person inflicting the harm is in the masculinized position and the recipeint of the violence in the feminized stance, reflecting the society's gendered psychology of domination.

To describe the unrelentingly savage and misogynistic assaults on Hillary Clinton over the course of this campaign as some kind of lover's quarrel that her (feminized) supporters will "get over" is deliberately overlooking the strand of violence that has been present in this campaign season in a way that I have not seen since the bourgeois "riot" at the Florida recount. Domestic violence is a better description. Gang rape begins to come close, too. I have already deemed the attack on Hillary herself an honor killing. Hillary must surrender, and her supporters had best learn to lean back and enjoy it, or else we just can't tell what these wild young 'uns might take it into their heads to do.

Death threats called in to Black super delegates. Caucus goers threatend and forcibly blocked from entering the caucus location. Encouragement on major blogs to find out real life information about Hillary supporters and harras them in their place of work and in their homes. Threats of riots at the Denver convention If delegates fail to vote for The Golden One. Under the veneer of Hope and Change, this is a campaign that traffics in intimidation. You better do what we say... or else.

If this blogger actually used the term "infantile," then there is another level of offensiveness to the characterization, but the greater problem is an inability to truly grasp the gathering political storm. First off, to name principled opposition to the tactics of the Obama campaign "infantile" is simply an attempt to delegitimize the grounds of the opposition, much in the way women's protests against male privilege or minority opposition to white privilege is declared inconsequential, childish, irrational, overly personal, emotional, and other descriptors intended to demean and disempower. This is a time honored (if moronic) way to try to discredit an opponent, but the difficulty here is that it is candidate-centric (You silly Hillary supporters saying you don't like Barack!) and overlooks the legitimacy crisis that is driving the increasing rejection of Golden Boy Barry by party loyalists.

I think it is hardly infantile that people are upset the party is disenfranchising voters in two major states. It is not infantile to require the nominee to have been judged by all 50 states. It is not infantile that candidates' poor performance and questionable judgement be a matter of debate in an election. It is not infantile to be dismayed by reports of voting fraud and voter intimidation in caucuses. It is not infantile to say that the current electoral cycle has been manipulated by the main stream media and by the Republicans (forcing early voting, cross over voting in open primaries, interfering with the attmepts to revote MI and FL), and that the DNC itself has been putting its hand on the scale in favor of one candidate for reasons that have little to do with policy, legislation or even winning in November.

With the refusal to allow a revote in Florida and Michigan and to clarify the will of the voters in those two states, what could once have been characterized as the contest between partisans has moved into a whole new level of political upheaval, one where the party itself is at risk.

The blithe dismissal by a major blogger of the disenfranchisement of millions of voters as the voters having taken "one for the team" is seriously, deeply disturbed. Taking one for the team means being killed to prevent more harm to your fellows, like the Marine recently written up in the news who threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of his squad members. This blogger has characterized a candidate loved by millions, a public servant of the highest caliber, as nothing more than an enemy. He has decided that it is right and just that millions of voters will die politically (not have their votes counted or thir voices heard) to prevent his enemy from winning. He arrogantly sweeps those voters into his army, front rank privates to be sacrificed for the sake of his candidate's victory.

Another top name is currently being lambasted for his anger at Hillary for not getting out of the way of Golden Boy Barry's cakewalk to the nomination. He doesn't seem to notice that it is not, in fact Hillary who is preventing Barry from sweeping up the delegates, but the voters who are registering their lack of faith in The Precious at the ballot box. He imperiously demands that Hillary just stop all this nonsense, dismissing not just the candidate herself but the millions who have made their will known. All of those millions of voices are worth nothing to the media star, opinions that he can dismiss because they are simply delusional votes for Her, the enemy, silly little voters who should know to suck it up and let fate - or force - take its course.

There is throughout this campaign season a disturbing comfort with violence (verbal and physical) to force opponents to acquiesce to a candidate who does not hold a commanding lead in anything, only a marginal one obtained under questionable circumstances. It is domestic violence in a political realm.

How can legitimacy and authority be found under such circumstances?



Pat Johnson said...

It just irks me when the Precious supporters insist she get out now! There are at least 8 more states to go and I am not so sure of how strong his support is now since the Rev. Wright flap. People being polled may just be using the Bradley Effect at this point because they do not want to appear racist. Just a thought. By the way, I love this blog!!

Big Daddy Sweet Baby Cheesecakes said...

This post helps orgainze some of what I've been thinking/feeling/raging over for some time now. Thank you.

I just posted a copy/link to the Power & Control Wheel on my blog--which is probably the saddest post I could (n)ever imagine doing about a primary election campaign, of all things.

All you really need to do is replace "children" with "voters" and then read each section of the wheel in the context of this primary. It is sad how it rings all too true.


gendergappers said...

Excellent comparison - remember the "iron my shirt" comment by the bully boyz in NH?

It is nothing less than criminal that the media, both mean stream and so-called liberal media, like Air America Radio, are not reporting the violence by BO supporters against HRC's supporters/voters.

This foretells a future we will find difficult to live with if BO is elected. All freedom of speech that isn't praising him as god will be declared racist and off we all go to Git-mo.

To paraphrase GB, here's BO addressing representitives of the free press: "You call yourselves the media but I call you my base."

gendergappers said...

You have to see this! Chelsea is just fantastic and you can bet the MSM will leave this alone.


You have to wait a minute until the preamble of BO people are interviewed until they show Chelsea but WOW! it is well worth it.

Common Sense Gram said...

Wow! This hits the nail ont he head! As an escapee of domestic violence I can relate. You have clarified where some of my rage at the Demands she withdraw!
Well, if I could take it so can Hillary.
I had my family backing me all the way-
Hillary has tens of millions of us! I will back her all the way!
Thanks for another brilliant blog.
May I post this as a link at my blog???

Shainzona said...

Common Sense Gram...a very nice and very appropriate analogy.

Hillary's Family has her back. And it will stay that way long after this primary season. All the way to the White House and into history.

Anonymous said...

Great perspective. And you are absolutely right.
We, Hillary supporters Do Not want her to drop out. We will donate to keep her going.

Peregrine said...

Interestingly, I wrote a piece on Domestic Violence, albeit from another angle. I think it's telling that this is the analogy that comes to mind.

Thanks for yours. Here's a link to mine on mydd


Chinaberry Turtle said...

Here's the quote from the little punk:

Goodbye, Cruel Ballot Box

To follow up on the emails I posted last night, it's worth saying that over the last couple months, during each campaign's moments of extremity, we've had supporters of each candidate (probably in roughly equal quantity) writing in and saying they wouldn't be able to vote for the opponent in the general election. In general I just think that people are deeply invested in the campaign (which is a good thing), and in moments of disappointment and frustration need some outlet, even if only expressed within themselves, to put some contemplated action to their angst. Threatening to upset the applecart in November is the most emotionally satisfying way to do that. Certainly too, when a campaign gets this intense and hard fought, there's just too much cognitive dissonance for people to be on the one hand seething at the other candidate and then also contemplating working for and voting for the same person.

So I see most of these promises as the emotional equivalent of things friends or lovers can say in the midst of heated fights -- the vast number of which they recant later and wish they'd never said.

Clearly though there are some people who really do mean it. A very small fraction I think, but there nonetheless. And there's really no better example of emotional infantilism that some people bring to the political process . One can see it in a case like 1968 perhaps or other years where real and important differences separated the candidates -- or in cases where the differences between the parties on key issues were not so great. But that simply is not the case this year. As much as the two campaign have sought to highlight the differences, the two candidates' positions on almost every issue is extremely close. And the differences that do exist pale into insignificance when compared to Sen. McCain's.

That's not to say that these small differences are reasons to choose one of the candidates over the other. But to threaten either to sit the election or vote for McCain or vote for Nader if your candidate doesn't win the nomination shows as clearly as anything that one's ego-investment in one's candidate far outstrips one's interest in public policy and governance. If this really is one's position after calm second-thought, I see no other way to describe it.

--Josh Marshall

Yeah, well FU Josh. I'm not in your damn party anymore if your Hope-Pope wins and I don't owe you squat. Have fun losing elections from here on out w/o us stupid emotional infants.

I guarantee you one thing. After your Hope-Pope loses in November, the next time a woman runs for the Democratic nomination, you will shut-the-f**k up with all your mysoginistic talk. We're gonna kick your ass this time to make sure you (and all your thrill-kill buddies watching the gang rape) never pull this sh*t again in the future.

Ellen said...

With all due respect, those of us who work with real victims of "honor" killings know there's a massive difference between what happens to them and what Hillary is experiencing.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Ellen, I agree w/ your comment. Literal honor killings are not occurring here in the US and the virulent mysoginistic hatred perpetrated on Hillary is not a literal honor killing.

How do we keep it this way? By calling out all these A-List Boy punks every time they try to push the tenor of political speech toward the literal honor killings of which you speak.

As Obama says, "words matter". And it's true. If all this horrible language, and all these horrible verbal and female centered attacks against HRC are left unchallenged, then that establishes the new standard of what's acceptable when talking about women.

Once it's acceptable to talk about women, and in particular a highly respected woman like HRC, in such a filthy manner that evokes deep seated hatred against female-ness, then the next step is to begin acting out on the basic foundation that these words have made.

I for one do not intend to let it get past the "words" stage. And the action I am going to take in this regard is voting against the Hope-Pope. Next time around, these liberal-punk-boys will realize that these silly little wimminz will not just sit down and take it. The wimminz will actually blow your little party up before "kissing and making up."

In my opinion, that's the only way to show these punks that we mean business, that we take this mysoginistic discourse seriously, and that we won't stand for it.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Hah! It's great to see other women and Democratic lifers coming to the same conclusion!

Lover's quarrel indeed. Some guys are just too stupid to know when their gal has walked out on them.

"I changed those stupid locks, I made you leave your key, next primary cycle - you'll be coming back to me." I will survive without you, punk.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Wow. With people like Anglachel and Janis (here and here), I can finally be sane again! I was living in a bubble of isolated fury until I found these blogs.

W/o the Internet, Howard Dean, Josh Marshall, and the rest of their filthy gang probably could get away with their little plan to make the wimminz and the stupid Dunkin' Donuts Democratic lifers come crawling back to the party.


Cyn said...

As a former victim of DV, the oldest of 4 sisters and the mother of 2 daughters, you hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Shh, Shh, wink, wink, don't look, turn your head the other way. Maybe others won't notice.

It's what the Boyz network does best.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
show me said...

This was another great post! I read what Marshall said and it the last time I visited his site.The anger has remained and it is powerful, I am ready for a revolution. Can anyone think of a way to go public and break through the Media embargo? We represent at least half of the party, the dependable hardworking for years half. I sure hope you are writing to the supers and party leaders because words do matter and yours are excellent Anglachel!

Shainzona said...

show me....keep connnected to these blogs and, as soon as we get Hillary in the White House,then we will UNITE against this incredibly horrible process we are living through and turn our attention to the Boyz.

It will not be a pretty sight!

Anonymous said...

A great post.

Today in an upscale grocery store I encountered two very large liberal looking men at the checkout counter. One was very loudly proclaiming he wanted to bury Hillary, put her 6 feet under. I said "I don't want to hear that." He said blah blah. I said, "That doesn't justify murderous comments." He said, "I don't mean to insult your candidate," pat me on the shoulder, "I just want her to be somewhere for 6 months where I don't have to listen to her." I said "Well maybe we can put you somewhere for 6 months where you don't have to listen to her." Muttr mutter, have a nice life.

There were a lot of people around. What would they have done if we were alone?

I will write in Hillary. Once again we have to tell "liberal" men that cannot abuse us and expect our support.

By the way, honor killings do happen in this country. Not only ones that are so defined by the perpetrators, but also all the jealous men who kill women and their children.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

I said "Well maybe we can put you somewhere for 6 months where you don't have to listen to her."

Oh - PLEASE tell me that you actually did say this!!! AWESOME!

And foxx, i take back what I said. There are of course gender-related killings here in the U.S. which are every bit as heinous as the technical definition of "honor killings" in other countries. Witness:

Man Kills Wife, Kids, Self

What I hate is the fact that when a man kills his whole family, the entire incident is referred to by the media as a "tragedy". In contrast, when some woman kills herself and her kids it's not a generic tragedy. No - the woman is a crazy MONSTER.

Of course, they're BOTH monsters, but the disparity in the coverage is sickening. That's why I hate these liberal punk blogger boyz so much. They use language that perpetuates and reinforces this interpretive structure through which we view the world:

Men do bad = tragic situation.
Women do bad = crazy bitch monsters at the helm.

I hate that. I'm not taking that crap anymore. And now that there are political blogs for us, these liberal punk A-List blogger boyz can't shut us up!

Dana Seilhan said...

Literal honor killings are not happening here in the U.S.? That's funny, I thought the most dangerous time for a woman in a domestic violence situation was when she was leaving the relationship... and if the man isn't killing her out of a sense of slighted honor, well, I don't know *what* he's thinking.

But the mentality is the same, even if the bloggers and politicos in question don't quite have the guts to act it out in violence. But it sure sounds like they are working themselves up to that point.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Dana: But it sure sounds like they are working themselves up to that point.

I totally agree with you. After all these young male punk blogger boyz talk woman-hating trash about Hillary all day long, I absolutely believe that has an effect when they then go home and interact with their girlfriends or wives or daughters.

There's no way these guys can work themselves up into a verbal gang-rape on HRC and then suddenly divorce themselves from all this hateful language when they interact with the real women in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I did actually say that, I'm proud of myself. They were taking up so much space, and I thought they just had to be challenged. Their world had to be shrunk a bit.

I recall reading a news account a couple of years ago of a couple in this country who killed their daughter in an honor killing. I'm sure there are others, just like there is genital mutilation going on here too.

Greenconsciousness said...

Ellen R. Sheeley

Despite my tremendous respect for you, I disagree. I don't think what is happening to Clinton is unlike honor killings except for the actual murder - look at the coercion patterns. And the cultural conditioning that leads up to it. The murderous outrage that she dares to compete in what is the privileged sphere for males only.

You know I don't say this lightly - I think the pattern is there.