Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Why the anger in me sometimes rages on and on….

Maybe it’s my age.  Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s my years and years of frustration.  

Yesterday I had some disagreements here and elsewhere over the Bush I stupidity. From my vantage point, I saw more commenters take the “see Bill Clinton is really the jerk” stance than Bush I defines who and what the right was and remains.  

While we can debate forever about Bill’s response, the truth is it is a judgment call…quite subjective.  Some saw Bill’s reaction confirming Bush’s sexism, and in a sense wishing he could be like him, while others saw Bill reacting the only way he could; acknowledging it was wrong, and acknowledging that because it was a Bush, the press would give him a pass.  More to come…

Either way, in my view, Bush’s stupid attempt at humor, was not nearly as offensive to me as Dick Armey’s treatment of Joan Walsh.  Maybe it is because being a female, age 63, Armey’s talking down to Joan, even before his sexist comment, his laughing at her views, dismissing them long before he called them “prattle”, brought it back.   So many of us who came of age in the 1960s, who believed in change back then; who marched for it, battled for it, learned, the hard way, that the change was not going to include women, not until we specifically made women’s issues a movement.  

So you understand, I came of age at a time when a single female, even if she worked, needed her father or her husband to cosign so she could buy a car. In 1970, I had two female colleagues who wanted to buy a house instead of rent an apartment as so many of us were.  Both were teachers, both were making decent salaries.  They were not gay, but just thought it was financially smarter to buy rather than rent.  The rest of us (females) were shocked.  We had never thought of that and frankly most of us assumed we needed a husband before we could get a house.  But I was impressed.  Some of our male colleagues reacted with that same kind of derision I saw from Armey yesterday.  

All through the 60s, we, the females, were never asked to the table. While the liberal males discussed the important stuff, we, got the coffees, got the meals, and were told (in actions if not words) where our place in the movement was.

It is from this background that I come.  

I have pushed my way onto committees for our district that were all male…the tech committee.  

And while I was never hesitant to speak up, my comments were greeted with the same kind of “pat on the head, that’s nice dear” derision, I saw all through the last year at some dem meetings here in my city.  While women are and have been the worker drones for the democratic party for decades, men retain most of the leadership positions.

I have labeled over the years by friend’s spouses as “whacko left”, as “bitchy”, as one of those feminist types.  

These men are much closer to the Dick Armey type than to the Bill Clinton type.  The media has given them, Armey, Delay, Newt….a pass.  No matter how rude, how obnoxious they are, they get invited back.  Chris Matthews STILL has a damn show.

I admit I have residual anger from the primaries.  The pundit class got away with blatant sexism and much of the reason, imo, was because the left would not call them out as long as they were supporting Obama.  

Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle, Scarborough, and many others were given a free ride no matter how nasty their sexism got.  When Katie Couric called them out on their sexism, she was labeled by Mr. Liberal KO as the “worst person in the world.”

So yea, Bush I made a stupid joke.  It was a definite eye rolling piece of ignorance and stupidity.  But compared to what the  pundit class has allowed to go on with sexism, compared to the personal, one on one insulting rudeness and misogyny on display with Armey, it was low level for me.

And when Matthews could only offer up “he was wrong but he’s a nice guy”, I saw red.  

Armey is NOT a nice guy.  Nor did Bush II  have a “sunny nobility” as Matthews crowed.  But they get a pass.  

And no Hillary is not “shrill.”  And she was NOT every one’s ex outside court after the divorce.  And she was not “pimping” her daughter.  Nor should her clothing, or looks have been in play.  But they were.  Because she is female.  Joan was belittled and Armey was given a pass by the host because Joan is female.  Bush I was given a pass which is exactly what Bill Clinton said…..because the press ALLOWS the right to get away with this sh*t all the time.  They are an old boys club and they will back each other because the pundit class likes their money and their power.

I would love to see Rachel really go off on these guys but she won’t. She can’t get away with it any more than Katie Couric could.  Even the so called progressive pundit class puts their gender ahead of their politics. THAT is what I see, what I feel, and what frustrates me.  Two years of sexism got a pass from much of the left, and frankly, I still have not gotten past that.  After Obama won, I worked for him, distributed signs in my neighbor hood and voted for him.

I support him but I will NOT support giving a pass to the right wing jerks who continue to mock and belittle those of on the left… of both genders but especially those of us who are female.

This is more of a rant than a diary, but some of you wanted to me to do it and so I did.  


  1. Michelle

    I’m glad you posted this here, and I certainly don’t want to take your tip jar.  Many sexist actions get a free passes, and I can only speculate to the variety of reasons why.  Perhaps a working thread is in order….

    As far as my diary, I don’t think 41 got a free pass from anyone really.  But it’s kind of like Karl Rove doing or saying something evil, which he frequently does.  We all agree it’s evil, and so we don’t write/comment about it.

    As for the media, I suspect that 41’s comments are not ‘newsworthy’ because the world is on fire (which goes back to John Allen’s comment to me in my diary).  Sexism so blatant as what 41 said is easily dismissed as a ‘joke’ and in the case of 41, he’s just ‘too old’ so he can get away with saying shit.  I called bullshit on both of those excuses, just as I did when my dad used to make racist ‘jokes’.  Everyone else would tell me that my dad was ‘too old’ to change, but that’s bullshit.  Hate knows no age.

    As for 42, well, we will agree to disagree still.  I was not involved at all in any form on the blogosphere with primary wars, so in many ways, I come to this scene unscathed by what apparently happened to others who were involved.  And I have said before, I was an Obama supporter from the start.  I made my choice between HRC and Obama based on merits with gender and race no consideration in that evaluation.  I consider my thoughtfulness in that process a SUCCESS of the feminist movement.

    As far as my experiences with sexism, they have run the gamut.  I am often called a bitch, and I suppose in many ways, I have made that label into my own form of compliment.  I have no regrets being a strong woman by speaking my mind and using my voice.  Good luck shutting me up anyhow. 😉

  2. Perspectives are always accurate – they are empirical experiences – and without sharing them we can never understand each other.  I am from the exact other end of the Boomer spectrum – the tail end – and because of that my experience comes from a completely different perspective though we are technically of a single cohort.  You and all your peers were the “established order” – if perhaps not the “Established Order” – by the time I was old enough to pay attention to any given issue.  Everything you and yours said for the first time was what I grew up hearing.  I’m old enough to remember The First Female (everything) and The First Black (everything) but not old enough to have seen a White’s Only sign still in use or have a female friend turned down for a loan because of her gender.

    By the time I was old enough to shout slogans of equality, everyone had already heard them and – for the most part – accepted them.  The struggle of my time has not been the dam-bursting revolution but the mopping up, not the noble clash against clear evil but rather the less satisfying and more subtle eking-out of improvements among people who often really don’t want to be bigoted but who just haven’t worked yet out how to entirely stop.

    The present is a complex time, often barren of meaty moral arguments to win and more often an incremental environment.  We need at times to be outraged and at times to be tolerant, at times to push and at times to provide space.  Not always a satisfying struggle, but only because a lot of the work has already been done by you and yours.

  3. All too often, personal insights are lost in the maelstrom of a blog, especially when it’s coloured by political passion. We often are fighting over one thing, but actually trying to work out something else. In the argument of the moment – say about Bill’s remarks the other night – there is a whole subtext of feeling that is being worked out.

    So you touch the real point – the changing role of women, and the sexist that still exists in many places, and which enrages you, and then something which is implicit in what you say: that a younger generation have no idea what an older generation went through to win the very liberties they enjoy.

    It’s painful, but how could it be any other way. My kids enjoy benefits, travel, a social life and an ease of being which I could only have dreamt of at that age. At times, like tonight at a birthday dinner for their mother, they ask about my background, and I will tell them how different and relatively hard it was (I lived in what Americans would call a ‘project’ for much of my adolescence). They’re intrigued, and it’s salutary sometimes for them to know how different life was: but on the other hand I don’t want to weigh them down with guilt about their joys and privileges.

    An example happened tonight. Because of friends in the US, I managed to get my 18 year old son onto the Obama campaign in both NYC and PA. My son saying that it wasn’t fair on others who didn’t have those connections. I agreed with him, but explained my dilemma: I would have done anything for that opportunity at his age. He took it, and ran with it. But he felt it was some kind of handicap that he’d won it through his father’s connections while, paradoxically, much of my working life has been dominated by my desire to make things better for my kids.

    It reminds me of a skit on the Tracy Ullmann show: two working class parents visit their daughter, a snooty private school educated girl who doesn’t want to know them. As they leave, they agree: she’s arrogant, proud, elitist and snobby. And they smile: it’s all we ever dreamed of!

    When it comes to feminism and women’s struggles in the 60s, I’m pretty atypical and tend to be quite blunt. My mother was our breadwinner and looked after the family. Following in her footsteps as a role model, I was for the first ten years of my children the housebuilder, cook and home husband. All my life, I’ve been surrounded by strong women and I treat them as equals. Among friends and colleagues (and partners) I would say the women have generally been more successful in the men in their careers. I treat them as equals. If they crack a joke about men, I might crack one back about women. But I so don’t even understand what these right wing idiots are talking about. I need to watch  something like MAD MEN to get the casual dismissal of women, and the assumed privileges of men. It’s never happened in my personal life and so I might be a bit insensitive about it, especially during the primaries. Women to me have always been equals, and in my work (TV drama) mainly my superiors and bosses. I find it hard to give a woman a pass because she’s a woman. At least in the UK, it’s boys who are underachieving at school, and male unemployment is much more extensive.

    I tell you this, just so you know where I’m coming from, and in response to your diary which makes so clear what your history is. It’s so easy to assume things about each other, which makes the other person’s attitude seem offensive or angry. But if you understood the whole context, it might not be so…

    I hope we have a better understanding now

  4. okay not really.  its because of women like you that i enjoy the freedoms i do today – not that there isn’t a long way to go – so thank you for all that you have done to pave the way.  as to your other feelings about clinton, the media, etc, i understand you, hey i share some of your frustrations as well.

    but don’t think that obama is giving these guys a pass in this.  i have come to realize that the president is the epitome of you can get whatever you want as long as you ask a certain way.  watch his actions – they speak louder than anything else.

    great diary – keep ’em coming 😉

  5. on other people. The part that most people don’t understand is my extremely high threshold for taking offense. I also have an inability to hold a grudge. Because of those two traits, I often seem to belittle other people’s outrage at certain events.

    It’s not that I don’t understand the offense or that I am missing the point. It’s that, to me, such things are trivial in the grand scheme. Yes, what Bush 41 said was offensive. But then there is offensive and there is OFFENSIVE. I have only so much room in my head for anger and outrage. In cases like this, I will save my outrage for those who kidnap children and turn them into killers or sex slaves.

    It is easy to understand where those who do get angry over a comment by an Armey or a joke by a Bush. Half the human race has been treated as second-class citizens for most of human history. Women are still treated that way in many parts of the world. Because of that history people tend to view those sexist comments as part of a whole. The sexist joke is viewed as being as bad as the act of throwing acid in the face of a girl for daring to go to school. That’s where you lose me. The two events will never be equivalent in my mind.

    I just wanted to clear up any misunderstanding my comments might have left on issues like this or on gay rights. It’s not that I’m unsympathetic or dense. It is simply my nature not to take offense.

  6. Hollede

    When I was a very young girl, I could not understand why I was not allowed to do things my brother could do. Despite the best efforts of two societies that did not see women as equal, I spent much of my life showing them I can do anything a man can do.

    Unfortunately, not many noticed. Even though I was reading at a 12th grade level in the 2nd grade, not one teacher ever took a real interest in me. My parents are teachers, but were very involved in their careers.

    I must say that I gave up trying so hard academically in my early teens. Oddly enough, I learned that physical labor and putting effort toward our cabin was the true path to respect in our family. Our family cabin is affectionately called the ‘work farm’. We are constantly doing stuff to it. I learned to work really hard and am proficient with a paint brush, an ax, a rake, or a hammer.

    I do have a couple of degrees and my parents are proud of me, but I cannot help but wonder if I had been a boy, would I have been encouraged differently?  I know I spent years being really pissed about this. Unfortunately, the more angry I became, the less seriously everyone around me took me.

    I fortunately did not give up on learning and found better teachers at University. I have learned life lessons as well. I discovered that I am able to help people change more if I am able to see their side first. I also have a wicked sense of humor and have used it for good (mostly) all of these years.

    I continue to be frustrated with the world I live in, and often wonder if I am not just living in a really rotten part of the Matrix. But if I only see the bad and rage at the world, I hurt myself.

    While I know too much and if I start talking to others about the true state of the world, I feel as though I am really depressing and having zero impact on others (except, perhaps to incite them to suicide). However, when I am funny and joke with people, I can get them to see things in a more hopeful way.

    Sorry for the jumble bumble. Just kind of came out.

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