Creative Destruction

February 10, 2007

Amandagate – Unasked Questions

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Feminist Issues,Politics — Daran @ 3:28 pm

At least, I haven’t seen them asked.

Edwards is an enormously wealthy and sucessful white man, who lives in a a $6 Million, 28,000 square foot mansion, set in a 102-acre estate, reportedly “the most valuable home in Orange County”. “Privilege” barely begins to describe this man’s status.

So why is it, in a Presidential campaign that might include a woman and a black among the candidates, that Marcotte and McEwan have thrown their weight behind this pillar of the Patriarchy? And why are feminists rallying behind them, instead of denouncing them for betraying everything the movement stands for?

You’d almost think they wanted the nation to be lead by a white male.

Updated to respond to this comment by ballgame (talics in original):

There seem to be two possible angles to your post here, Daran. I emphatically disagree with both of them.

Angle 1: The idea that there is something ‘wrong’ or ‘negative’ with Melissa and Amanda hitching their wagon to a man’s campaign instead of a woman’s.

I’ve always disliked ‘team-ism’ (i.e. the notion that one of the primary things to look for in a leader is whether that potential leader is a member of the same race or gender group as yourself). Though both are afflicted with WPO feminist blind spots when it comes to understanding how gender negatively impacts men (Amanda far more so than Melissa), I think they both deserve credit for not making gender a litmus test for who they support.

Feminists cannot have it both ways. They cannot complain that the country is lead by white men, while supporting white men for the leadership.

They are both strong progressives, and they chose the candidate who seems to hold the most promise for progressive reform.

Ya think?

Because what I think is that no matter who wins the election, the US will have more or less the same social structure in four years time as it does now. At best they’ll be some tinkering at the margins of social policy, but no real reform.

They could have supported Hillary instead, even though she is seemingly more centrist and establishment, on the logic of ‘the historic weight of breaking the Presidential gender barrier outweighs the absence of progressivism in Hillary’s policies’ (an argument which I think is not entirely devoid of merit). But they didn’t, and I think that speaks highly of their fealty to progressive goals.

It shows that feminists really don’t believe what they purport to believe, which is that good things will flow from having women in high office.

Angle 2: The idea that there is something wrong with John Edwards being a member of the political-economic elite.

You mean “the idea that there is something wrong with John Edwards being a member of the Patriarchy”.

That is what we are talking about, isn’t it, according to feminists? So why avoid the word now?

I pretty much don’t give a damn about someone’s personal circumstances when I think about a politician.

What ballgame as an individual give a damn about is neither here nor there. I’m criticising feminists generally, and feminists generally do give a damn about politicians’ colour, gender, and personal circumstances.

The fact that he or she is a member of the elite is almost inevitable: it is extraordinarily rare for someone of an ordinary background or non-white, or female to be able to make the connections and generate the cash which is a virtual prerequisite to attaining high office in the United States. The Paul Wellstones and Bernie Sanders are few and far between.

Italics are my insertion. Despite his craven omission of those words, this is a description of Patriarchy, as feminists conceive of it. So what happens when a Patriarch comes along and throws them a couple of bones? Amanda “Mad Dog” Marcotte rolls over and says “tickle my tummy”. Cue thunderous applause from the feminist movment.

Frankly, a rich person is more likely to have the resources to counter the inevitable right wing counterattack against anyone who challenges the hegemony of the economic elite…

But he hasn’t countered the rightwing counterattack. He’s done what the rightwing counterattack could never do. He’s closed the Overton Window. He’s silenced them. We won’t be hearing any more interesting opinions from either of them, at least until the campaign is over. All we’ll hear are the same anodyne, don’t-offend-anyone platitudes we get from everyone else.

Imagine if, before any of this had happened, I had said: “The tone and the sentiment of some of [your] posts personally offended me.” I don’t know McEwen well enough, but I’m sure Marcotte wouldn’t have replied “My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics.” She’d have told me to go fuck myself. She’d have given the same response to any right-winger who said the same.

But for Patriarch Edwards, it’s “Yes, sir. Anything you say, sir. Please don’t take my bone away, sir.”

It’s just that generally it’s rare to find a rich person with the passion and integrity willing to challenge the system of privileges by which he or she has benefited.

And John “most valuable home in Orange County” Edwards is such a man?

2nd Update: This is funny, and sort of related.

(Comments are closed. If you wish to discuss this post, you may do so at Feminist Critics.)

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