|February 25, 2010
Shades of Stokely Carmichael
Rebecca Sive | 11:11 PM | Blog Post
You can find "Shades of Stokely Carmichael," my commentary on the guest list, and the problems therein, for today's White House healthcare summit, here: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/node/12702
, or see the full post below.
So, like any good policy wonk, first thing this morning, as always, was my coffee and skimming the Washington Post Politics Morning Edition
. I was particularly eager to read the Post this morning
since, after all the healthcare hullabaloo of the last year, today is: WHITE HOUSE HEALTHCARE SUMMIT DAY.
The relevant Washington Post
article turned-out to be: “Democrats Looking Past Summit to Final Talks
.” (See here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022405633.html?wpisrc=nl_politics
The relevant article attachment was: “Guest List
,” which connects you to an AP story: “Who’s Invited to the Healthcare Summit.”
(See here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/whos-invited-to-the-health-car.html?wprss=44
Turns out, 38 people were invited. But who, you ask?
Well, of course, if you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll be wondering how many women were invited. Girls and guys, hold your breath; here’s your answer: Grand total: Four.
That’s right, four, one of whom is Nancy Pelosi. So, three, count ‘em, three other women members of Congress, (total membership : 535 people), including one, count her, one woman U.S. Senator. That would be Patty Murray (D, WA).
Wait, it gets better: The total number of women invited by the White House, apart from Nancy Pelosi, 0. Yes, that’s right: 0.
You ask about the White House invitation approach; well, here it is, according to the AP, “The White House invited 22 high-ranking lawmakers and also asked each of the top four congressional leaders to designate four more lawmakers for invitations
.” (See here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/whos-invited-to-the-health-car.html?wprss=44
So, here’s what I saw when I looked at the White House guest list some more: The “lawmakers invited by the White House” are all either in Senate or House leadership, chair committees, or are a “ranking member” of a committee, with one exception.
Guess what, that exception; he’s a guy too: Senator Chris Dodd, member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and so unpopular in his home state he’s being forced to retire.
Other members of that Senate committee? Well, for starters, there’s Senator Barbara Mikulski, the next (third) ranking member after Sen Dodd, and then there’s Senator Patty Murray, the fifth ranking member.
But neither Mikulski nor Murray were invited by the White House, even in light of the fact that the issue of women’s health, not to say, abortion rights, is front and center in the debate over healthcare reform.
Murray had to wait to get invited, according to the AP, by “the House and Senate leadership,” along with one other pro-choice Democratic woman, that’s right, one other--Rep. Louis Slaughter.
According to the published reports I can find at this hour (10am CST), the final chapter in this sorry saga was written late yesterday when Rep. John Boehner requested that the White House invite Rep. Bart Stupak, he of the infamous “Stupak Amendment.” (See here: http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2010/02/24/stupak-v-slaughter-a-summit-match
, and here:http://freerepublic.com/
Apparently, when the White House was asked about Rep. Boehner’s request, “…the [unnamed White House] official said, "If they want Stupak to come, they can bring him."
Back-in-the-day, some of us got “fired up and ready to go,” (See here: http://chattahbox.com/us/2009/09/07/president-obama-fired-up-ready-to-go-on-health-care-reform
), in our case, to fight for women’s reproductive rights, because we heard stuff like this: “The proper position of women in SNCC, (the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, a leading civil rights organization of the 1960’s civil rights movement) is prone.” (See here: http://www.crmvet.org/mem/stodely1.htm.).
Some say Stokely Carmichael spoke in jest, but what matter?
This all feels like “déjà vu all over again,”* just in a different venue.
Labels: healthcare reform, healthcare summit, Rep Bart Stupak, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Patty Murray, Stokely Carmichael, The White House, Yogi Berra
|February 22, 2010
"Poised to Run: Women's Routes to State Legislatures"
Rebecca Sive | 12:47 PM | Blog Post
Here's a link to an important new study, from the Center for American Women and Politics, about women running for public office: "Poised to Run: Women's Routes to State Legislatures": http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/research/reports/PoisedtoRun.pdf
A lot of this rings true to me. So, if you have a friend/friends thinking about running for office (!), encourage her/them to read this report.
And, if you have male political colleagues in positions of political party power, ask them to step-up-to-the-plate, and help out. It's (past) time.
Here are the report's big conclusions:•" Women Need to be Recruited.
"Women need to be encouraged to run for office. Women are more likely than men to run for office because they were recruited rather than deciding to run on their own.
• "Political Parties Matter .
"It is critical that women candidates attract party support. Women who reach the legislature usually do so with the support of their parties.
• "Organizations Help Women Run.
"Organizations are encouraging women to run for office, but they have not been the most important source of encouragement for women's candidacies. Organizations, including women's organizations, could be more active in candidate recruitment.
• "More Women Can Run.
"The pool of women candidates is larger than is commonly believed.
• "Resources are Important.
"More funding and training can help women win."
For more information, go to: http://cawp.rutgers.edu
Labels: Center for American Woman and Politics, Rutgers University, women candidates
|February 8, 2010
If Ida B. Wells Were Alive Today
Rebecca Sive | 6:45 PM | Blog Post
Here is the link to my February post for Today's Chicago Woman
Ida B. Wells is inspiring in any month, but particularly so in this Black History Month, as women, all women, of all colors, gather together to figure out how to save healthcare reform, so that it will matter for women.
Ida B. Wells taught us both how to fight and how hard to fight: a writer, community organizer, and tireless advocate for justice, she never, ever, gave up.
Here is my fan-letter post about Ida:
One of my favorite heroines of Chicago history--in fact, of all American history--is yesterday’s-Chicago-woman, Ida Barnett Wells. (See: http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=W041.)
Ida B. Wells was born and educated in post-Reconstruction Mississippi, in a time when, and in a place where, African Americans experienced the very worst of what post-slavery white America offered-up to post-slavery black America. Lynching was common, and in Ida’s Mississippi homeplace, as well as in Memphis, Ida's home as a young adult, all forms of public life were strictly segregated. (See: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_people_wells.html
Ida was a young woman when the U.S. Supreme Court infamously decided that “separate [could be] equal (for blacks and whites),” including in public transportation. (See: href=http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_plessy.html
Indeed, Ida B. Wells first came to public notice when, still her 20s, and newly arrived in Memphis, she fought against just this kind of segregation, on the railroads.
Ida filed a lawsuit; she wrote editorials in the local newspaper; she spoke-out without fear. But, when a friend was lynched, and Wells spoke out against the lynching, Ida was forced to flee to safety, to Chicago.
In fact, Chicago was thought to be the “the promised land” for many of Mississippi’s African Americans.
The Chicago Daily Defender preached this message to Mississippians, distributing the newspaper at the very train stations where Mississippi’s African-American families boarded the (segregated) trains for Chicago.
Of course, times were tough in Chicago, too, but times weren’t nearly as tough as they were in Mississippi, where the sharecropping economy meant the meanest form of poverty.
Ida hit Chicago and started "blogging," writing for the Chicago Daily Defender, among others.
And, girl(s), did she “blog.” Ida said what she thought, when she thought it. She was clear as a bell, at times caustic, and always, always, writing about the political matters of the day most important to African Americans. She was also a stirring and untiring voice for equality for women.
Fast-forward to today. At Today’s Chicago Woman, I try to say “…what time it is,” too.
And here’s what time it is, as I write in mid-January 2010: The U.S. Congress is about to come to agreement on a healthcare bill--with the votes of the women of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in-hand--a bill that renders American women separate and unequal (just what Ida fought against a hundred years ago), by virtue of its approach to reproductive healthcare to American women.
How can this be, you ask?
Here’s the back-story: According to Jessica Arons, writing for the Center for American Progress, (http://www.americanprogress.org/), and RH Reality Check, (http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/), federal legislators made a “deal” at the outset of developing the healthcare reform bill, a deal that included a commitment to maintaining the federal status quo regarding access to abortion.
That status quo is the deal made by an infamous Chicago Congressman, Henry Hyde. Why infamous? Well, "The Hyde Amendment" denies federal funding to Medicaid-covered poor women seeking abortions, while their richer sisters can continue to be reimbursed by their (private) health insurer.
Surprise, surprise: In the run-up to the healthcare reform bill, neither the anti-choice Republicans, nor the anti-choice Democrats, kept their end of the deal Jessica describes. Instead, they proposed new, and, again, surprise, surprise, worse terms.
To add insult to injury, instead of fighting these proposals, say, in the way Ida would have, the pro-choice women in the U.S. Congress basically folded. The result: "the Stupak Amendment" (see http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/, for a refresher on that one), as well as the Senator Ben Nelson deal (see same place for a refresher on that one), both amendments effectively eliminating--each in its own special way--the federally-guaranteed right to access to abortion.
THESE WOMEN LEGISLATORS, OUR SUPPOSED ADVOCATES, ENDORSED A HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN WHICH ACCESS TO ABORTION, (A FORM OF HEALTHCARE, AFTER ALL), WOULD BE EXEMPTED, SOLELY, FROM THE ORDINARY COURSE OF HEALTHCARE TREATMENT AND PAYMENT.
NO HEALTHCARE FOR MEN, PILLS FOR IMPOTENCY, SAY, WOULD BE SUBJECT TO ANY RESTRICTIONS TO THE NORMAL COURSE OF TREATMENT OR PAYMENT: NONE, NONE, AND NONE.
As I write [in mid-January], we don’t know what the final version of the healthcare bill the Congress sends to the President will be. Nor do we know whether the President will wake-up and remember who elected him (among others, America’s women and African Americans), and, therefore, decide that he ought to lead, instead of to follow, when it comes to insuring our equal rights.
However, and in any event, we know this: As we celebrate Black History Month, and as we look ahead to next-month’s celebration of Women’s History Month, history is being rewritten, for the (way) worse.
Ida would rail against this rewrite, and so should you.
Ida wouldn’t have stood this for a hot minute. She would have said, plainly and forcefully:
WE WON’T, AT THE BEGINNING, MIDDLE, OR END OF ANY DISCUSSION IN WHICH WOMEN’S VERY LIVES ARE AT STAKE, ALLOW ANYONE TO SUBJUGATE US.
WE STAND FIRM AND UNITED. IF THE CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT THINK OTHERWISE, JUST LET THEM TEST US.
WE WON’T MAKE DEALS. WE WILL MAKE WOMEN’S LIVES BETTER.
As your Today’s-Chicago-Woman Ida-surrogate, I say to you: Let’s do what Ida would do. Shout these words from the rooftops--in Black History Month, in Women’s History Month, in every month until the right deed is done.
Labels: Black History Month, Center for American Progress, Ida B. Wells, Memphis, Mississippi, Plessy v. Ferguson, rh reality check, Today's Chicago Woman, U.S. Supreme Court, Women's History Month
|February 3, 2010
Springfield: Look Out: There's a New Woman in Town
Rebecca Sive | 1:17 PM | Blog Post
Below is the link to the Pioneer Press
article, telling the story of Robyn Gabel's win in the Democratic Primary for Illinois State Representative in the 18th District.
The seat was vacated by another great woman, Julie Hamos, who, unfortunately, lost her primary fight, and held before that by yet another great woman, Member of Congress Jan Schakowsky.
Robyn exemplifies--in her person, her career, and in this fight-to-the-finish--the best of those who would be our elected leaders.
Read more about Robyn here: http://www.robynforrep.com/
Robyn's victory is especially sweet for those unabashed feminists among us. For, from her earliest days in Chicago, and every day since, she has fought for women's rights and opportunities--without flinching, retracting, dumbing-down, or in any other way sacrificing this core commitment.
This is mighty, mighty special. I, for one, am thrilled that the voters of the 18th district recognized this ever-so-needed quality.
And, in the face of the not-so-subtle and, in my view, sexist, digs at her age, from her younger male competitors, Robyn
proved, not they
, the true meaning of audacity, hope, and change, not-to-mention the power of a lifetime of hard work and commitment to social justice.
Read here: http://www.pioneerlocal.com/evanston/news/2026428,evanston-18thstatehouse-020410-s1.article
So, in the midst of the doom and gloom you may be feeling about current public life and failed public policy, cheer for this victory and for Robyn, most especially.
Labels: Jan Schakowsky, Julie Hamos, Pioneer Press, Robyn Gabel, the audacity of hope