Dear President Obama,
As the 2012 Presidential election season begins, I find myself trying to figure out whether or not I will campaign on your behalf.
You see, in 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. As a feminist, I wanted dearly to see such a proactive, feminist, capable, and successful politician like Hillary to be my President. I cannot express how badly I wanted Hillary as my President. I’m not alone. Millions of women, of feminists, wanted Hillary to be our President. We were heartbroken when she lost the nomination–to you.
But even so, we rallied to your cause. We worked hard for you. Millions of women helped you in your successful bid to the Presidency. We didn’t do it because of admonitions from male liberals that “McCain would be much worse.” No, we did it because of hope. We hoped that, even though we couldn’t have Hillary, that we could still have a feminist as our President. We hoped that we would finally have a president that would stand up for our rights. We hoped that you would be the leader of the Democratic Party that would stand up and say, “Enough. We’re not going to use women’s rights as a bargaining chip with Republicans. We’re going to live up to our promises. We’re not going to settle for being “better than the Republicans.” We going to stand up for equality, and we’re not going to back down. This is the right thing to do.”
To our dismay, you’re not. As hundreds of anti-choice legislation appear across the country that would undermine our rights and drag us back to second-class status, you’ve said nothing. You allowed your party to use women as a bargaining chip in the health care debate. As many have said, you and the Democrats have “thrown women under the bus.”
Why should I campaign for you? Why should I lend you my support and my aid?
I cannot answer that question, though the echo chamber of male Democrats and male liberals are crying “because he’s a Democrat! He’s better than Republicans! Do you want another Bush?”
The only reason that’s being given is a guilt trip. Vote Democrat, or else Republicans will win and things will be much worse for you. That’s the threat. Instead of support from my brothers, I get a backhanded threat.
I won’t be blackmailed, Mr. President. I need a damn good reason why I should support you again. No more hope–I want support. I want action. I want scathing reprimand from you to your party for stabbing in the back the millions of women who have supported and continue to support the Democratic Party.
The 2010 election was a mandate–but it wasn’t in favor of the Republican agenda. It was our answer to the Democrat’s treatment of its large, active female constituency: This is what happens when we stay home. Republicans win, and everyone suffers. Do you want us to stay home in 2012? Then keep your promises to your sisters. Fight for equality.
Let me share how I would like the next twelve years to go: I would like you to become the President we all thought you would be, that is, a strong ally of women–unwavering support for abortion rights. Equal pay. Strong support for victims of rape, harassment, and abuse. Strong condemnation of the men who commit these crimes. Equality for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The end to restrictions on the jobs women may have in the military. And that’s just the beginning. I want action. No election slogans. Action. Then, I would like my dream of 2008 to come true: I want Hillary Clinton to be my President.
Idealistic? No more than you during the 2008 Democratic primaries–which is why I dismissed you as unelectable. I still maintain that you won the nomination because of the split in the party between supporters of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Prove this political scientist wrong. Become the politician that women want you to be, and that Democrats need you to be.
Then I can give you my full, enthusiastic support. Until then, I’ll remain what my generation has been condemned to be thus far in our political lives: disappointed.