Tag: columnist

Hillary supporter Jessica Valenti plays the “vote for someone that looks like you” card

Jessica Valenti, a Hillary Clinton-supporting columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, effectively called for Democrats to vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman:

When it comes to women in politics, the United States is pretty much the pits. Women make up half the population in this country but hold less than 20% of congressional seats and comprise less than 25% of state legislators. The numbers for women of color are even more dismal.

On the world stage, the US ranks 72nd in women’s political participation, far worse than most industrialized countries – and with numbers similar to Saudi Arabia’s. A United Nations working group late last year called attention to this disparity in a report that found massive discrimination against women across the board, an “overall picture of women’s missing rights”.

And so it seems strange that at a time when the country has the opportunity to elect the first female president, the idea that gender might be a factor is considered shallow in some circles.

Valenti, for all intents and purposes, effectively said the truth about Hillary’s presidential campaign: many, but not all, of Hillary’s supporters are supporting her because she’s a woman. I think that’s just as sexist as a Bernie Sanders supporter saying that he or she is supporting Bernie because he’s a white male and/or Jewish, something that virtually no Bernie supporter believes. I’m not supporting Bernie because of race, gender, religion, etc. (in fact, I’m a white male atheist), but because my political ideology closely lines up with that of Bernie.

One would only need to look to Wisconsin for a couple of real-life examples of how destructive this style of race and gender-baiting politics truly is. In a 2012 Democratic primary for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, Elizabeth Coggs called for voters in a Democratic Wisconsin State Assembly primary that year to “vote for someone who looks like you”, a reference to the fact that Millie Coby, a black woman, was running against Sandy Pasch, a white Jewish woman, in the Assembly primary. Both Coggs and Coby lost their primaries. Additionally, five of the seven members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court are female, yet Wisconsin’s highest bench is probably the most right-wing government institution in the entire country. As a matter of fact, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is ridiculously corrupt (outside political groups have had considerable influence on re-writing ethics rules for Wisconsin Supreme Court justices), hyperpartisan (the Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with Republican Governor Scott Walker on every major case they’ve ruled on since Walker became governor), and even violent (in one instance, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser put liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold).

It’s pretty clear to me that Hillary Clinton and her supporters think that it’s a valid crime for a white man like Bernie Sanders to stand up for progressive values and seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

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Yes, anti-Muslim bigotry is un-American

Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times, wrote this column about how anti-Muslim bigotry that has become prevalent in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the aftermath of the Paris attacks is un-American. Last time I checked, “Anti-Muslim is Anti-American”, the title of Blow’s column, is trending on Twitter, and I strongly encourage reading Blow’s column.

He’s right…opposing an entire religion is an un-American ideal.

Republican presidential candidates, most notably Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have gone all out in recent days to pander to the lowest common denominator in American society, bigots, in order to support their crackdown on an entire religion. Trump has supported closing mosques (Islamic places of worship) and creating a national registry of Muslims. Carson has publicly compared Muslims to rabid dogs. What Trump, Carson, and other Republicans are supporting is absurd and offensive. Proposals to crack down on Islam from Trump and other Republican candidates blatantly violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and comparing Muslims to rabid dogs is downright offensive. Even worse, what Republicans like Trump and Carson are saying is eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric that Nazis used to justify their hatred of Jewish people in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Not all Muslims are members of an Islamic fundamentalist terror group like ISIS, al-Qaeda, or Boko Haram. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Muslims here in America live peacefully and regard those Islamic fundamentalist jihadists as barbaric militants who don’t represent their view of Islam. We should embrace religious freedom in this country, not crack down on it.

 

ENDORSEMENT: Rebecca Kemble for Madison (WI) Common Council District 18

Most of my attention on the Spring 2015 elections in Illinois and Wisconsin has been on the Chicago, Illinois mayoral race for obvious reasons, but I’m going to briefly talk about a race for a seat on the Madison, Wisconsin Common Council (“common council” is a Wisconsin term for the legislative branch of a city) in the northern part of that city.

The race I’m refering to is the District 18 Madison Common Council race between Rebecca Kemble, a columnist for The Progressive magazine and a worker-owner at Madison’s Union Cab Cooperative, and Peng Her, an assistant director at the Center for Resilient Cities. I’m endorsing Kemble in this race, and you can listen to WORT-FM’s interview of Kemble here.

Kemble has a long track record of standing up for progressive values. She’s been a fierce critic of Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the Wisconsin Legislature, and she has strongly supported progressive ideals, especially when it comes to workers’ rights and protecting the environment. More recently, Kemble has been one of the most vocal critics of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, companies that, among other things, don’t insure the cars their drivers use (ridesharing drivers are required to provide for their own insurance, and most car insurance policies don’t insure commercial activity, such as ridesharing), don’t provide workers’ compensation to their drivers, don’t provide rides for disabled people, and, especially in the case of Uber, bully anyone who dares to criticize them.

Make no mistake about it, Rebecca Kemble is a tough-as-nails progressive, and we need more people like her in elected office in this country.