Hell No, She Won’t Go
More Exhilarating Primary Coverage
As you’ve all figured out by now, this is the primary season that will not die. Even John McCain, who has had the GOP nomination locked up for a while now, is struggling to stay in the public eye lest he be overshadowed by the Dems in November. How is he doing that? By going on a weird nostalgia-inspired bus tour to show the electorate what he’s all about. It’s just like a Republican to get to know the electorate by telling everyone about things he accomplished 50 years ago. You know how conservatives love to focus on the past.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been roaming around Pennsylvania campaigning for the upcoming primary. Barack Obama recently tried to woo voters with his stunning lack of bowling skills, which has sent the 24-hour news commentators on misogynist tirades about how bowling a 37 makes Obama seem girly. As if bowling skills have anything to do with masculinity or femininity. Former President Clinton and daughter Chelsea have been meeting with superdelegates in an effort to secure enough votes to give her a strong chance at the nomination. While this is a long shot, she still certainly still has a chance if she has a big win in Pennsylvania and manages to win North Carolina and Indiana….oh, and if Barack Obama’s campaign goes up in flames.
Now that Obama has survived the whole angry-black-minister controversy, it’s unlikely that he’ll be quickly taken out by a scandal this late in the race (although there are some rumors floating around that he lied about becoming a non-smoker–big fucking deal. what smoker doesn’t lie about quitting?). She might get her big win in PA, but the chances of winning North Carolina and Indiana are basically zero. The math just isn’t on her side. But if she can manage to convince the superdelegates to stick with her (and to resolve this whole Michigan/Florida debacle), she could come out on top.
But should she do that?
It’s Just Like a Woman to Destroy Party Unity
Last week, Senators Patrick Leahy and Chris Dodd urged Senator Clinton to drop out of the race, lest the party get ripped apart by allowing the primary season to drag on. I don’t know about you, but I have a serious problem with this shit. While I agree that this primary season has become more divisive than I’d like, I don’t see how this is all Senator Clinton’s fault. She may be struggling to keep her campaign alive, but she has every right to stay in the race until it’s over. There is nothing unique to the Clinton campaign that is destroying the Democratic party. The problem here isn’t that there are still two candidates running for President. The problem is that Clinton and Obama are both popular and both have incredibly loyal supporters. I mean, Mike Gravel is still running for President, but no one is blaming all the in-fighting on him.
The thought of our elected officials suggesting that allowing the rest of the states to hold primary elections is somehow bad for the country really annoys me. We’re still pretending America is a democracy, right? So let it play out. Let the people vote. I don’t deny that having two strong candidates this late in the season is going to make things tough in November. With Obama and Clinton supporters both threatening not to vote in the general election unless their candidate gets the nomination, the party could be in real jeopardy. But the solution can’t be to force one candidate out–not if we want to maintain the pretense of a fair electoral process.
He’s Having a Baby
Every now and then a truly great story comes out that challenges the way we think about gender, marriage and family. Unfortunately, instead of taking advantage of the chance to re-examine our social norms, the media sensationalizes everything and turns it all into a joke. This is precisely what has happened to Thomas Beatie. Beatie is a 34-year old married man living in Oregon. He’s also pregnant. Beatie transitioned from female to male roughly 8 years ago. He is both legally male and legally married to his wife, Nancy. Due to medical complications, Nancy is incapable of carrying a child, but since Thomas didn’t have a hysterectomy when he transitioned, he’s still got the sex organs necessary to conceive.
The couple decided to try artificial insemination, but they faced opposition from the medical community everywhere they turned. Eventually they got it all worked out and now Thomas is 5-months pregnant with a baby girl. The media attention has been truly appalling. Case in point: David Letterman devoted a top ten list to Thomas Beatie during which he referred to Beatie as an “androgynous freak show.” Now, making jokes about a man having a baby is one thing, but why must people be so fucking mean. It’s not like trans people don’t face enough discrimination (not to mention violence) without the media tacitly supporting the very attitudes that lead to prejudice and hate.
Thomas and his wife Nancy are very brave to come forward and share their story with the world. It’s an important story to tell: one that forces us to think about the meaning of words like man, woman, father, and mother. It’s a story that probably makes everyone uncomfortable on some level. I know it makes me a little twitchy and I’m pretty well-read on gender and trans issues. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable looking at this story: it makes us question fundamental elements of our identities.
But we don’t have to be assholes about it.