By Austin McCoy
Long before Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, Shirley Chisholm launched a campaign for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, we rarely mention her efforts when we look at the history of U.S. presidential politics in the last forty years. It would seem easy to forget how Chisholm blazed the trail for the likes Jackson, Clinton, and Obama after Clinton’s and Obama’s 2008 nomination battle. But the sexism that Hillary Clinton endured and the racism that Obama faced in 2008 arose from a longer context of racism and sexism structuring the outcomes of U.S. party and presidential politics. Chisholm stood as the first to confront the closed nature of national (and black) politics. Defending her campaign to the broader Democratic Party would seem par for the course; yet, Chisholm also battled the established black male leadership in quest to secure the nomination. In doing so, however, “Fighting” Shirley Chisholm, as she called herself, utilized various political styles and strategies seen in later candidates like Jackson, Clinton, and Obama.
Men for True Liberty is writing to ask for two speaking slots at the DNC in Chicago in August. The speeches will educate convention goers and the public about the threat to men’s freedom and liberty. When Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan won in 2012, we were led to believe that the economy would be restored to its former glory. Men’s reproductive rights were not even a blip on the radar. Yes, we had heard about the war on women in 2012, but what did that have to with men? What did that have to do with the economy and jobs? Our naivety led us to think politicians would never try to control men’s reproductive rights. Well, we realized too late what a big mistake it was to separate reproductive rights from the economy and now it’s time for us to atone for our egregious errors.
Women speakers made the greatest impact on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. Clearly the Democrats aimed to exploit the Republican Party’s woman problem. Women like veteran Tammy Duckworth, republican defector Maria Ciano, NARAL president Nancy Keenan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Lily Ledbetter, citizen Stacy Lihn, and Michelle Obama, all ventured to speak explicitly about a range of policies that the Republicans remained vague about during the RNC last week. Many of them explicitly placed very controversial issues like income equality, contraception, and Obamacare on the table, and not just during the early evening speeches, but during prime time.
This morning Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Now, I find Paul Ryan objectionable in a number of ways – he has cited Ayn Rand as the “one person” who inspired his political career, for God’s sake, and never mind that she was a pro-choice atheist while he is an anti-choice Catholic – but we at Nursing Clio are particularly interested in issues of gender, sexuality, and medicine, and so I would like to take this opportunity to explain why Ryan poses a particular threat to women, gays, lesbians, and, well, anyone who cares at all about women, gays, and/or lesbians.
I am currently teaching an upper-division undergraduate course on the history of women in the modern United States. Because I’ve been teaching for several years now, and because my courses have almost always included some kind of study of women and gender, I was not surprised when, during the very first class, one of my students raised her hand and began her response to one of my questions with that ubiquitous disclaimer: “I’m not a feminist, but . . .”
Oh, Michigan…you just couldn’t let Wisconsin soak in the limelight of conservatism for too long, could you? I know there is a whole Badger/Wolverine rivalry, but honestly, you could have at least given the Dairy State one full day of being “King of the Crazy” before trying to snatch the crown away. n a move that will surely place The Mitten State squarely in the middle of the War on Women, the Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Michigan House is considering passing a controversial set of bills designed to restrict and regulate abortion practices.
So far, 2012 has seen state legislators proposing an unprecedented number of bills aimed at regulating women’s access to various reproductive health services, including mammograms, annual pap smears to detect cervical cancer, contraceptives, and abortion, as well as women’s ability to pay for these services through private and public insurance providers. The underlying assumption in all of this health legislation is that women are unable to make informed, responsible decisions about their bodies unless they are mandated to do so by the state. A parallel implication is that even the physicians treating these women are incapable of making medically appropriate decisions without state interference. Medical professionals finally began fighting back on this political trespassing on their terrain just this week.
Combatting Bigotry: Activist Opportunities with Unite Women
Are you bothered by the nearly 1,000 in anti-woman legislation proposed in the past two years? Are you flabbergasted that the Violence Against Women Act is having trouble passing this session? Are you livid over bigoted comments like abused women should “remember the better times” or LGBT individuals should be put behind “electric fences”? Are discussions over the pill and birth control making you ask “this is 2012, right?!? And not 1960?….” Here is a chance to do something!