Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thoughts on the NYT MO Platform article …


Y’all, my Afro is featured in The New York Times!

Check it out.

I was interviewed about the Missouri Democratic Party’s platform drama earlier this year. I served on the platform committee and, after a prolife Dem added template language from Democrats for Life to nullify the pro-choice section of the platform, I worked with fellow committee members to right that wrong. Anyhoo, the Times wanted to revisit the whole thing and I damn sure wasn’t going to let a prolife Dem spout nonsense unchallenged.

The article is solid. 

The podcast is slanted, and it seems that they want to cast the prolife Dem as a victim and all the rest of us as unreasonable.

Thus, this post!

***pause … crack knuckles … continue***

After the disaster of 2016, I made several promises to myself.

First, that I am not going to organize to get back to where we’ve already been.

Second, as a Black woman who is part of the most reliable voting block on the left, I will either be respected and heard as such or I will take action to hold those accountable who fail to do so.

And finally, that I will not take strategic advice from groups of folk who haven’t refreshed their strategy in damn near ten years.

Wait.

I also pledged to wear leggings as often as possible, because this sistah requires comfort in these troubled times.

Blink.

So, I approached my service on the platform committee with all those things in mind.

Shall we?

Things I wish I’d thought to say during the interview …

Access to abortion is not some insignificant wedge issue that politicians can chose whether or not to champion based on how they think their district feels about it.  Reproductive healthcare is key to every single progressive issue Democratic claim to champion, so failing to support the full spectrum of services indicates a fundamental lack of understanding how policy works.

There can be no economic justice without reproductive justice. The ability to control whether or not you get pregnant, whether to carry a pregnancy to term, and the spacing between children is a big fucking deal. It means the difference between being able to make ends meet or not, being able to get an advanced degree or attend college/training or not. For some people, it is the difference between life or death. I’m passionate about access because IT FUCKING MATTERS.

Folk can’t claim to be pro-worker and support policies that would allow employers to block coverage for reproductive healthcare.

Dems can’t claim to be working to lift folk out of poverty and support policies that ban abortion coverage for poor women and defund programs that make it easier to afford birth control.

You can’t claim to stand with Black women and then dismiss our leadership, ignore our demands, and support policies that promote reproductive oppression.

And you can’t say a platform is pro-choice if it includes language stating that the party will welcome people who do not support abortion access and see their presence as a strength.

In conclusion …

As I said earlier in this post, I am not organizing to return to where we have already been. I regret almost every compromise I’ve made over the years on core progressive policy. They didn’t result in wins, they just slowed down losing.

In our new reality we have the opportunity to build something better that is informed by the fuck-ups of the past. I’m here for that. I’ll work hard on that.

What I’m not going to do is quietly sit back and watch folk perpetuate abortion stigma while pushing an appeasement strategy that is surrender by another name.

Toodles.

5 comments:

dinthebeast said...

“You have to believe in something in order for somebody to believe in you. You can’t be such a watered-down thing.”

This.

Like Blue Gal says, as Democrats, we need to lead with our values.

The compromising away of those values is how they win, not just on the specific issues, but on the whole Overton window placement that decides whether we get heard at all.

Thank you for fighting this fight. As a white man in California, it can sometimes feel like the front lines are a long way away from me, but I've been around for long enough to know better by now.

And congratulations on the NYT article. They need a whole lot more content like you and your writing, and a bit less of the conservative old white men sector, in my opinion.

-Doug in Oakland

Yankee, Transferred said...

Brilliant, as always.

TRoyal said...

The 'fro and the politics remain righteous. Love from the Chi!

Theresa Williams said...

*slow clap* thank you for your work!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! And welcome back! I missed having someone articulate my thoughts as well as you do.