Sara at Diotima is criticizing NOW:
Sara then asks what my opinion is. (Although she also says something about the “feminist-on-the-street,” and you know, I don’t think I’m really very “street.”)
First, if NOW thinks that sexism and racism are the reason that Moseley Braun’s campaign has been ignored by the press, then that alone is an excellent reason for NOW to endorse Moseley Braun. Resistance to sexism and racism is, I think most feminists would agree, self-evidently a good course of action to take. Some might object that Moseley Braun “can’t win” – to which NOW could justly reply, only resisting sexism and racism when you’re guaranteed to win is called “cowardice.”
Secondly, what harm is done by endorsing Moseley Braun? Again, critics will say that no one should ever endorse a candidate who “can’t win,” but I disagree.
There is a time, I think, for progressives, leftists and liberals – including progressive feminists – to band together and concentrate on knocking Bush out of the White House. That time is later, after a candidate (hopefully one who is at least marginally acceptable to progressives and feminists) has been selected by Democratic voters. Meanwhile, however, it’s perfectly appropriate to vote our dreams and principles. Maybe later it’ll make sense to vote for something else, but if you can’t vote – and endorse – your dreams in a primary, then when on earth can you?
Third, on what I’d consider mainstream feminist issues – pro-choice, pro-child-care, pro-helping-poor-mothers-and-children, etc etc – Moseley Braun is as good or better than any of the other candidates running. Purely on the issues, she’s a reasonable choice. (Personally, I prefer Kucinich – who is all that, plus stronger on labor issues – but Kucinich’s recent flip-flop into the pro-choice camp is a legitimate reason for NOW and other feminist orgs to resist his campaign).
Finally, I think that it’s fine if NOW prefers Moseley-Braun in part because she’s a woman and because she’s black.
Isn’t that racist and sexist?
No, it isn’t. Having a preference for women of color without regard to their political views would be sexist and racist, but it’s clear that NOW wouldn’t have endorsed Moseley Braun if NOW didn’t agree with Braun’s politics.
But why should NOW consider Moseley Bruan’s race and sex at all? Because a non-racist, non-sexist government should include all sexes and races at every level. To date, 0% of American presidents have been women and 0% have been non-white. All else being more-or-less equal among the candidates, I’d prefer the non-white, non-male candidate – simply because we’d be a better country if the presidency wasn’t a white-male-only office.
As Moseley Braun has said, it’s time to rip the “men only” sign off the oval office’s door. She’s the only candidate whose election will accomplish that. If NOW wants to endorse her for that reason (as well as for her stands on the issues), that seems fine to me.
Which is why (despite what I’ve said in the past) I’m now leaning towards voting for Moseley Braun, rather than for Kucinich, in the primaries.