Tag Archives: women

Gun Issue May Drive Women To 2014 Polls

Off-year elections are always terribly problematic for Democrats.  The Republican base of crazies and old, rich white people always shows up at the polls.  The Democratic constituency doesn’t.

That’s how we got stuck with the Republican House and how the GOP took over so many state legislature and thus gerrymandered the Congressional districts to protect the GOP House.  And how so many crazy Republican Governors got elected in 2010….

The Democrats have to find issues that will drive their voters to the polls in these off-year elections.  Gun control may be one of them.  We just have to break through the DC Bubble about Guns and their fear of the NRA.

All the polls say the public widely supports additional gun controls like background checks, banning assault weapons and high volume magazines.  We just have to get the Dems to believe this and come up with a credible and effective messaging process.

That’s always the biggest challenge:   The Democrats just don’t know how to message and make the most of issues that drive their supporters to the polls.

But they may be starting to learn…

From TalkingPointsMemo.com:

 

Women who don’t usually vote in midterm elections — the same women who generally drive Democratic victories — will turn out in 2014 over the issue of guns, according to a recent poll.

The survey released by Women Donors Network, a self-described progressive “community of women philanthropists,” found that a subset of women voters who usually don’t vote in midterm elections are more likely to vote in 2014 on the issue of gun violence.

That echoes what former Rep. Steve LaTourette (OH), now a militant moderate leader in the Republican Party, said on Tuesday when he cautioned his party against sticking too close to the National Rifle Association in the post-Newtown legislative push to reduce gun violence. If the GOP is seen as being in the pocket of the NRA, he said, it could cost the party big with women in future elections.

The survey, which was conducted by Democratic pollster Diane Feldman and Republican pollster Bob Carpenter using live phone calls to 1,500 women, found that “women who may not ordinarily vote in a non-presidential year are among those most engaged with issues of gun violence.” The group also posted a PDF slide deck presenting the poll’s findings.

Feldman explained in an interview with TPM on Wednesday the results mean guns could be good politics for Democrats.

“As we approach the 2014 congressional elections, the question will be to what degree do single women, lower income women, persons of color participate since that’s the Democratic edge,” she said. “And this is an issue that can encourage them to participate.”

MORE:   Gun Issue May Drive Women To 2014 Polls | TPMDC.

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Will the GOP Blackmail Dems into Defunding Planned Parenthood? | | AlterNet

I can’t believe people aren’t more focused on the GOP attack on Women’s Health Care.

The Dems just don’t seem able to get out a message…

I did what little I could.  I made a donation to Planned Parenthood yesterday and I encourage you to do the same.

Here’s the link to do so:  https://secure.ppaction.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=pp_ppol_DonationFormOneTimeGift

When the news came down Friday afternoon, it was genuinely shocking, which is a rare event in our era of over-the-top right-wing antics: House Republicans, following the lead of Planned Parenthood-obsessed Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., zeroed out spending for family planning services in the continuing resolution to fund the government.

Even though pro-choicers have known for years that the anti-choice movement opposes contraception right alongside abortion, these cuts to Title X, which doesn’t fund abortion but only contraception and other reproductive health care, were still a surprise, considering how popular contraception remains with the general public. Still, while this bill was a punch to the gut for the vast majority of Americans who support birth control services, most political watchers assumed it to be symbolic anti-choice posturing from House Republicans, and that the Senate and the president would not allow federal support of Planned Parenthood to be abruptly cut off.

I wish I could share their confidence in Planned Parenthood’s safety. There’s reason to fear this gesture is more than symbolic, and that Republicans could successfully blackmail Democrats into defunding Title X, a funding initiative that goes all the way back to radical feminist socialist Richard Nixon. For a hint of what could happen, look back at what happened with the Stupak amendment that nearly derailed health care reform, forcing Democrats to accept a compromise that dramatically curtailed access to abortion for low-income women. Republicans, and a handful of conservative Democrats, have already demonstrated that they will hijack the debate to attack women’s rights, and there’s no reason to think this won’t happen again.

More:   Will the GOP Blackmail Dems into Defunding Planned Parenthood? | | AlterNet.

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Yesterday, Once More

I’ll take us back to the 1960’s one more time…

I just came across a few snapshots in time.  Some  “time capsule” moments on YouTube.

I keep looking back because I keep wondering where the energy for change has gone.

It’s hard to believe how much times have changed…for the better– since the early 1960’s.  But I never realized how depressing the 1960’s–which I always thought of a as a decade of hope and change– could be…It’s remarkable, given the restrictive society at the time, how much hope was alive then.

I wonder if it still is…

There were so many people afraid of change then– just like now.

Today, the Afghanistan war has just surpassed Vietnam as our longest war.  Bush’s personal vendetta/ war or choice in Iraq is still going on.  Ghetto’s still exist.  The Tea Baggers prove racism is still alive .  The old “Silent Majority”, which isn’t either, is still around.  Post-feminism wants to return women to the kitchen and subservience, while the Men of the Religious Right still try to take away their right to control their own bodies.  I’m almost relieved we haven’t come far enough on Gay Rights to start dismantling them…

I think we need to look back to see “the way we were” to see how far we have come.

Then, maybe, we can gain the courage and the energy to keep moving forward.

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The Long Goodbye

As many of you know, I have been a little preoccupied lately.  We have finally reached the point where my sister and I are needing to transition my mother to Assisted Living due to Alzheimer’s Disease/Vascular Dementia.  Being a lifelong Republican who worshipped Ronald Reagan, she’s probably almost satisfied that she has the same disease that ultimately did him in.

This is a very strange time for me.  I won’t pretend or be dishonest.  My mother is a difficult woman.  We have had our issues, but she is my mother and we will do the right thing to be sure she is as safe and comfortable as possible during these final years.

What I find most disturbing about seeing someone at the end of their life is looking at what they missed.  But I realize I can’t force my values or judgements on her or view her life too much through my own lenses. She is a product of a different era and had her own wishes and desires and probably was as happy as she could be given her expectations.

It’s the lowered expectations that disturb me.

When I watch “Mad Men” and see Don Draper and his family- at least in season one- I see our family, but in a much better neighborhood.  I was always struck by how limited the options were for women in the 1960’s– and that is when she was in her prime.

I am grateful for one thing.  I knew her four years longer than my sister.  I knew her when she was still young and vivacious.  Something happened in the late 1960’s and she became a different woman.  I think it was the fact that she was not equipped to deal with change.

My mother was born in 1932 and lived in Danville, Virginia her entire life.  She was raised to be get a “Mrs Degree” and she did.  She had no education after high school and devoted her 20’s and 30’s to building my father’s career.  When he died in the early 1980’s, she was lost.  She tried religion, she tried following politics, but she never really found herself after she was no longer Mrs. H. B. Michaels.  She had never really built her own identity or developed her own interests, so she had nothing to fall back on.

I also saw her and her friends from the 1960’s when I read “The Help.”   I saw so many women, when I was little, who had no purpose and nothing to do, so they became obsessed with trivialities.   I saw a little of Hilly and a lot of Elizabeth as representing my mother.  If you looked in the medicine chest of every woman in Temple Terrace in the 1960’s you found two new wonder drugs:  Birth Control pills and Valium.  They were on the cusp of freedom and change, but didn’t know how to deal with it.  Many of these women didn’t even get dressed until it was time for their husbands to come home for dinner.  If the husbands didn’t spend too much time at Earl’s Bar and Grill and forget dinner…

My mother could be wonderful at times.  She had my father build a stage in our backyard and organized plays with the neighborhood children.  I think that’s where my love of theatre my have begun.  She loved MGM Musicals and, as a child, I watched them with her.  That was also probably the first thing that screwed up my early perception of life.  It ain’t no MGM Musical, but I’m not sure she ever had that realization.  She wanted things to be simple, clean and beautiful.  She couldn’t deal when it wasn’t.

She did go back to work after my sister was born.  Before I was born, she had been a receptionist at Dan River Mills.  When she went back to work in her early 30’s, someone younger and prettier had that job.  So she went to work at Hilton Hall with hundreds of other women who were smarter than their male bosses.

She was president of every Club she over joined.  If she had had the education, direction and self confidence that would come with the Woman’s Movement, she would have had a different life.  But she didn’t.  She never could cook or run a house, but she knew she was supposed to do so.  I don’t think she ever recovered from not being able to fill the role she thought she was supposed to fill and didn’t realize she should have tried something else.  She went to college, briefly, in her ’50’s, but she didn’t have the self confidence to keep it up.

She became a master at denial.  I don’t know exactly what went wrong around 1969, but I have my suspicions.  The world was changing and she was frightened.  She did not know what to do, so she ignored it and demonized any change.  My father remodeled our house instead of buying her a new house.  She never recovered from that.  She started gaining weight.  She and my father began to behave more like George and Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, than Ozzie and Harriett.  Anyone within earshot knows this…

But she kept up appearances and dove deeper into denial.  When my father became ill with cancer, I think it was almost a relief to her.  She got to take care of him, deal with doctors and insurance companies and had a purpose for the first time in years.  Like I said, when he died, she was lost.  She didn’t have a self to fall back on.  She was used to being someone’s wife or someone’s mother and had never found herself.  She was not one for a Jill Clayburgh “Unmarried Woman” reinvention.  She didn’t have the skill set.

I think I may, unknowingly, have been saying goodbye since 1969.

Frankly, she never dealt well with me once I told her I was gay.  Her first reaction was that people would talk and what would her friends say.  Then she worried it would ruin my career.  Then she told me I was going to hell, so I did the same to her.  I would not speak to her for more than 6 months.  Then she tried to work it out.  I give her credit for that.  But we were never close again.

I had moved on, but she couldn’t.  I loved the way the world had changed and embraced it.  She was always stuck in Danville, Virginia as it had been in about 1960.  I think that was the last time she was comfortable with the world.

So, it may be a blessing that she is moving to the place where she lives in the past.  She was never comfortable in the present and she feared the future.

And we’ll try to continue to say goodbye with as much grace as we can muster.

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Filed under My Journey, Social Commentary