Sunday, February 03, 2008

I would like to express my thanks for NOW VP for Action, Melody Drnach’s remarks in her Below the Belt column this week.

I especially appreciated the following remarks from her column:

Right now, there are many women and men who are volunteering and committing precious time and dollars toward electing the first woman president of the United States. There also are feminists and other social justice advocates who are working to elect other candidates.

As a result of NOW PAC's endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and the desire to change our country for the better, many feminists have thrown their hearts, hands and energies into winning this contest. There are also those who dream of seeing great historic change through the election of the first African- American president. Devoted feminists, who have similar reasons for throwing themselves into the contest, dream of standing in front of the Capitol on Jan. 20, after a lifetime of struggle, and feeling a sense of accomplishment. To challenge those feelings and that commitment does not serve thewomen's movement, or the tireless struggle for social justice and equality.

Unfortunately, discussion during this primary season sometimes has taken a tone that is not conducive to our common goals. We must not fall to the idea that one oppression is greater than another. Race and gender are inseparable. Those who seek to drive a wedge between allies using race and gender are missing the invaluable lessons of the history of this nation. Using this same history as a foundation to claim that gender is more important than race is damaging and does not have a place in any movement for social change.

The choice is ours. I trust that we all will keep fighting to make history and to achieve social change so that in the end, on inauguration day next January, we are all there -- together.

Melody is right both for the progressive/feminist movement and for NOW.

Hillary is the odds-on favorite but she will need Obama’s supporters to work enthusiastically for her if she wins the nomination. This November will be the mother of all battles and we need to work like we’ve never worked before .

I was happy to see both Melody’s comments and the national officers' statement that they still had respect for Senator Kennedy although they disagree with his choice.

The polling data indicate a generational divide in this election; some of the young women we hope will join NOW and become part of our movement are now supporting Barack Obama. If we are going to build a strong feminist movement and build NOW, we must accept that feminists working for gender justice/racial justice will make different choices in the primary election.