My Cause Is My Country

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blogging, Democratic Party, liberalism and progressivism

We’re still dealing with the fallout of the meeting with Bill Clinton. Yesterday I provided some links to the Boobapalooza Brawl; here are some more: My buddies Julia of Sisyphus Shrugs and Lindsay B. at Majikthise, as well as Jessica herself, offer opinions. I have nothing more to add.

A more legitimate criticism is that all of the attendees were white. I think it was a major gaffe that Steve Gilliard wasn’t invited, although Steve says he wouldn’t have gone, anyway. “If the choice is loyalty to a politician or loyalty to my supportive, generous and desperate for information readers, that isn’t really much of a choice is it?” he writes. That’s fair, but that was not the choice offered by the meeting. Mr. Clinton neither asked for our loyalty nor said anything particularly surprising or newsworthy in the off-the-record portion of the meeting.

The most controversial things Mr. Clinton said involved mild criticism of some other Democrats (although no one currently running for office) and some nudges at the Right in general. None of this was a big whoop-dee-doo, so why off the record? Because, I suspect, if there’s a massive blowup over somebody’s boobs, for pity’s sake, what would rightie bloggers do with nudges at the Right? Or any mention in any context of Republican politicians? Or suggestions that maybe so-and-so made a mistake when he campaigned on such-and-such an issue? And may I add that Mr. Clinton didn’t say anything that wasn’t extremely mild and tolerant compared to the stuff I say about the same people.

But did he say anything off-the-record that was really blogworthy? That you readers would find fascinating and illuminating?

Not really. Of course, you’ll have to trust me on that.

The overall purpose of the meeting was to open more dialogue between liberal bloggers and the Democratic Party. And when I say dialogue, I mean dialogue. As in a two-way conversation. Clinton praised liberal bloggers — not just the ones in the room — for our ability to respond quickly to the Rightie Media Noise Machine with facts and logic. He’s come to realize that the Democratic Party is nuts to treat us merely as ATM machines and believes the Dems should start listening to what we have to say.

This is all good, I say, for all of us, whether at the meeting or not. This is what many of us have wanted from the Dems for a very long time. We’re all hoping the meeting was only a first step in a process that will involve a far larger group of bloggers in the future.

(And may I also say to those who want to fight about who was invited, and who wasn’t — I choose not to participate, thanks. I’ve got quite enough neuroses of my own to manage without trying to deal with yours, too. So, feel free to snark away, and I will continue to ignore you.)

Christy Hardin Smith says that she checked with Peter Daou, who told her some African American and Latino bloggers were invited but could not come on such short notice. The meeting was thrown together quickly. I had known for about a week that a meeting was being planned, but didn’t know for sure if it was really going to happen (and where, and when) until the day before. I suspect a lot of people had to make a mad dash for the nearest airport to be there, although for me a trip to Harlem takes about 17 minutes on the Metro North Railroad.

There’s one seriously misreported detail I want to correct — I say it was red devil’s food cake (with cream cheese icing), not cherry cake.

On to the main issue: The question of how the Dems and liberal bloggers might work together is problematic. The Right Blogosphere more or less functions as the web auxiliary of the Republican Party. That’s not a model I want to follow. Yet when we — liberal bloggers and Dems — do pull together on an issue (the recent “Path to 9/11” flap being a good example) we’re a whole lot more effective than when we work separately.

As Peter Daou wrote in the first “triangle” essay:

Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step in creating the kind of sea change we’ve seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Simply put, without the participation of the media and the political establishment, the netroots alone cannot generate the critical mass necessary to alter or create conventional wisdom. This is partly a factor of audience size, but it’s also a matter, frankly, of trust and legitimacy. Despite the astronomical growth of the netroots (see Bowers and Stoller for hard numbers), and the slow and steady encroachment of bloggers on the hallowed turf of Washington’s opinion-makers, it is still the Russerts and Broders and Gergens and Finemans, the WSJ, WaPo and NYT editorial pages, the cable nets, Stewart and Letterman and Leno, and senior elected officials, who play a pivotal role in shaping people’s political views. That is not to say that blogs can’t be the first to draw attention to an issue, as they often do, but the half-life of an online buzz can be measured in days and weeks, and even when a story has enough netroots momentum to float around for months, it will have little effect on the wider public discourse without the other sides of the triangle in place. Witness the Plame case, an obsession of left-leaning bloggers long before the media and the political establishment got on board and turned it into a political liability for Rove and Bush.

The larger question surrounding the meeting is who is using whom? I’ve been amused, but not surprised, at the number of people who assume the meeting was about Hillary Clinton’s alleged presidential ambitions. Let me be clear. First, the Senator’s political career was not discussed at all. Second, most of us in the room have long been on record that we do not want Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic presidential candidate in ’08. I can’t speak for everybody, but no amount of fried chicken is going to change my mind on that.

Of course, some people are still going to interpret either Clintons’ every bleat as part of their campaign to re-take the White House, no matter what I say.

Other complaints can be found in this comment thread at the Guardian “comment is free” blog. Like this guy:

The Usual Suspects were present for the soiree with Clinton because they represent the “left” that constitutes brand-name consumers. They would vote for *anything* labeled ‘Democrat,’ and Clinton knows it.

Yeah, like we all supported Joe Lieberman … oh, wait …

As I wrote in the same comments thread, why is it everyone assumes Bill Clinton is using us? Why can’t it be equally true that we are using him?

Yes, the man is flawed. Yes, he did things as President I think he shouldn’t have done, and I’m not just talking about conduct, but policies, as well. But I if the man offers himself as a tool to enable my agenda, why not take advantage? Access to power, even a tiny bit, doesn’t exactly fall into my lap every day.

If you look back at history, you see that everyone who has ever accomplished anything was flawed. Abraham Lincoln was a racist. Isaac Newton, the father of modern science, messed around with alchemy and astrology. Most of the great men of history, including the historical Buddha, were sexist. Show me somebody who accomplished anything who was without flaw or foible, and I’ll show you someone who paid off his friends to keep their mouths shut.

So to those who claim we bloggers somehow sold out our feminism or liberalism or anything else by meeting with President Clinton, I say: Bite me.

So what is my agenda? As I also wrote in the comments thread, I got into blogging to help restore some sanity to America’s sick political culture, which has become so skewed and twisted we can no longer engage in rational political dialogue, never mind make rational political decisions as a nation.

More than 50 years ago the historian Richard Hofstadter wrote that the hard right-wing fringe of American politics was creating “a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.” Folks, they have succeeded.

The Right’s got a big chunk of the electorate conditioned to vote against their own self-interests. Mindless repetition of Republican talking points has replaced dialogue. The mainstream news media shuts out true liberalism, and in the heads of most “pundits” the extreme Right is now the “center.” Our political institutions are dysfunctional except as engines to move power and money into the hands of those in control.

In truth, the federal government of the United States of America is no longer functioning as a representative democracy. Congress and the White House are just going through the motions. If we don’t turn this around, pretty soon they won’t even bother to go through the motions.

Restoring enough sanity to my country that it can function as a representative democracy again is my cause. Beyond that, I hope that once people remember what government is supposed to be about they will stop being afraid to use government for progressive ends, such as establishing national health insurance. I want to move the political center back to, you know, the center. I want to see balance and responsibility in news media. But the overall aim is healing the sick political culture so that the government can be a government. What happens after that is, well, what happens after that.

Blogging is a means to that end, as is the Democratic Party and Mr. Clinton. But blogging or Mr. Clinton or the Democrats are not my cause. My cause is my country.

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72 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Jennell  •  Sep 18, 2006 @5:11 pm

    Re: Maha’s plaintive wail:

    “I am just another White person, not a human being”

    I actually laughed out loud. Your pity party is getting more elaborate with each email.

    Such anger, such hurt…How could we possibly think that Lofty Liberal Maha et. al could possibly be wrong or have some issues with race that need attention? Your venom reveals more about you than I think you cared to share. When the mask falls off it really makes a thud, doesn’t it?

    Yet, you accuse me of garnering pity? I don’t have or need your pity. How about a fair shake? The right to address your astounding hypocrisy. Or a dialogue, or are you too “neurotic” to engage in dialogue that makes you uncomfortable? Hurts to REALLY look at yourself(ves), doesn’t it?

    I’ll say since no one else will: You are not a neurotic, You are a racist.

    And no amount of screaming at me from your cadre of white pseudo-progressives will drown that out.

    There are more important things to Blacks to be upset about, you cry–because of course, you are better at telling us what to be angry about, rather than allow us to determine it for ourselves. They support you with assuaging emails of ” Maha your not a racist! And of course we would know, we are white liberals!”

    And yet, I offer: How would you all know it, if you’ve never experienced it and won’t discuss it honestly. Case in point: your defensive response to this topic.

    It would almost be like a rich, middle class American telling an oppressed Sudanese woman how to manage her crisis situation…wait, I think you did that too!…

    BUT! you cry, ALL the black bloggers couldn’t attend (a statistical near impossibility as a stand alone response). Furthermore, if they ALL couldn’t attend, why are the black bloggers up in arms about the cast of characters at the Bill Clinton Harlem sponsored appreciation fete? Because they were invited but too busy to attend? That doesn’t make sense. But it sure makes you feel better doesn’t it?

    Whatever gets you through the “white”…oops, I meant “night.”

  2. bint alshamsa  •  Sep 18, 2006 @5:21 pm

    Regarding the amended post #41

    “The point was that if your worse problem is having me as an oppressor, you don’t have much to complain about. Just tell me what I can do for you, and I’ll do my best”.

    Maha, if that was your point, then you could have said that. What you did write is completely different from what you are now saying your point was. The comment in #13 was an extremely presumptious and erroneous assumption. Would you find it fair for me to determine whether or not you have “much to complain about”? What if, when you wrote in this post that you are hurt, someone had come on here and said “Well there are people who are hurting much more than you, so you have nothing to complain about”? How do you think you’d have felt about such a statement? Do you think that you might find it at least a wee bit dismissive and invalidating of your feelings?

    I have yet to see any black people here claim that you are their stand-in for every awful thing a white person has done here. Rather, they’ve attempted to explain how they felt about what the bloggers in question have actually said about this incident. It’s always a lot easier to believe that someone is just abusing you because of your white and they’ve been abused by white people in the past. The more difficult thing is to examine why someone might find your behavior and words so offensive. Of course, in order to do the latter, you have to have a desire to actually get to know the people you’re talking to instead of assuming you know what they are thinking.

  3. bint alshamsa  •  Sep 18, 2006 @5:25 pm

    Maha, what if people applied your statements to you?

    “If you hurt, don’t take it out on me.”

    What if we just assumed that when you said that you were hurt about all of this it was just because you wanted to use us as your punching bag and stand-in for every black person you’ve known who just didn’t like white people and, for some odd reason, believed they weren’te human?

    Wouldn’t it be better to simply ask the person what they think instead of assuming and to try to understand why they are hurt instead of just dismissing it as insignificant?

  4. justme  •  Sep 18, 2006 @6:31 pm

    Why won’t one person of color answer me? What if Bill Clinton just thinks the black bloggers in question blogs /writing sucks?What if certain people are just not viewed to be as good of writers as those who were invited.Why do you dismiss that possibility???

    Glenn Greenwald , IMHO, is an outstanding writer(props to Glenn)But isn’t it possible that he was not at the meeting because Bill Clinton doesn’t like his writing style?, or do we have play the gay card and say he was not there because Clinton is anti gay???(Sorry to Glenn for using him for a example , and thank you for being such a fine example for great writing).I personally would accuse Clinton of being a geek for missing what a great writer he is rather than passing him by because of his sexual orientation.

    I use Glenn as a perfect example because I comment here, and there. I was thrilled when Maha was asked to guest blog at Greenwalds place.I was sure all the people I had encountered there would love her every word and that she would be treated a certain way by people I had felt as though I had come to know.I gotta tell ya, it hurt the hell out my feelings to find not everyone shares my taste in writers.I say this because I think Bill clinton and everyone else on the planet should be allowed to decide for themselves which authors this like and dislike.No matter whether it hurts my feelings or not.(I really was just shocked)..I never thought to play the “Woman card” I just though everyone didn’t share my taste

    It wasn’t about black or white, boobs or none, knit or cotton it was about OUTSTANDING writers.Why do you refuse to even consider they were picked because of that? Do you not see how insulting that is to those who were there?Does it not sink in the day was about great minds rather than great colors ?Can you not give these bloggers credit where credit is do? No one bothered to answer Maha’s question either..Be honest with yourself and try.What was she suppose to do?Can you not consider for even a minute another human being might not like the writers YOU like?Maybe he thinks the writers in question SUCK..Does he have to lunch with bad authors?Isn’t he entitled to that?Good God the man gives 8 years to the entire country, how many years in public service ?and he still does more to help with the AIDS crisis in Africa then all of us put together when he could be sitting on his ass at the golf course instead but that isn’t enough.WTF????

    I enjoy the writing at many of the blogs in question,but I gotta tell you IMHO the writing of the people at the lunch is just better than those complaining they were not.They are good bloggers who may some day rise to great based on their own writing as it grows.

    We can compare our problems till the cows come home.The thing I have learned is that everyone has a story and they are rarely privileged..the color of our skin doesn’t shield us from illness or abuse. No one story is greater or less than another. Some are just longer than others.It always makes me sad to see one thinking their own suffering is more than that of their neighbor.Or that is somehow less valid.We all have our cross to bare,I believe.How we bare them speaks volumes…

  5. Donna in WI  •  Sep 18, 2006 @8:20 pm

    Optional, only one black blogger was invited, and only one latino. One went on vacation to Hawaii, the other I don’t know. I hate to think that those two are the entire extent of Peter Daou’s associations with bloggers of color. Anyway, he didn’t try real hard. And yes, Daou would know the race of a few if not many bloggers since he does go to various meetings and gatherings. He’s a networker, which is why he is supposed to be such a good choice for Hilary.

    justme, do you think Ebony magazine isn’t worth reading since it doesn’t have a large readership like say, Time or People? The writing must really suck since white people won’t read it, eh? If nothing else, this debate should have convinced you that white people have no interest in minority issues. Many black/latino/asians/native americans blog about minority issues. Since it doesn’t affect you, well it’s not a real problem, right? That doesn’t mean that minority issues should not be addressed, nor that minorities shouldn’t have a place at the table just because their blog does not appeal to whites enough to drive traffic. Minority issues should be important to politicians and policy makers even if you personally could give a flying f— about us and our issues. Clinton wouldn’t campaign with Dem candidates if he didn’t hope to influence people to vote for those candidates, which means he should have done better than this, unless now the Democrats have decided our votes don’t count anymore. He also should have known better than to campaign with Lieberepublican but that’s another subject.

    This is what we had hoped that the bloggers who attended the meeting could address. We didn’t expect them to take on the blame for the guest list, but we were particularly shocked that many if not most didn’t even notice they were meeting in Harlem eating soul food with not a black person in sight, except the caterer maybe. If they did notice, none commented, hoping perhaps that no one would notice. While Peter Daou didn’t try very hard, he did try, and it would have been much better if either he or any one of these bloggers brought up the subject and the irony, and headed this off at the pass. Instead they waited for the POC to notice then slammed them for having the audacity to see the obvious.

  6. Doug Hughes  •  Sep 18, 2006 @9:54 pm

    WOW –

    Let me make an observation. I gather from previous posts that Maha ‘hangs’ with other bloggers, at least periodically. And it seems to me, she probably knows something about the true feelings that those white bloggers have.

    Perhaps, and this is speculation, Maha knows that despite the character flaws each of them has, she may know they are TRULY dedicated to change in America which would spread the wealth and opportunity without regard to race, creed or color. And perhaps Maha was irked that she and everyone in the photo would be maligned not for what they believe (she gets that crap every day from righties), but because not enough of the folks in the picture were were Black, or Asian or Hispanic.

    There is a line from “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” Sidney Potier turns to Roy Glenn, who plays his father, and says “You think of yourself as a colored man, and I think of myself as a MAN.” If you want to be powerful advocating your cause, as a black or a female or a gay person, STOP seeing yourself as a victim. Start acting like a leader.

    Got ideas? GREAT! Can you organize them? Can you identify the problem, supported by facts? Can you turn your analysis into structured proposals for change? Are the ideas more important than your ego?

    You have a list of some of the potential power players in a possible partnership between the blogosphere and the Democratic Party. Why pee in anyones diet Coke just because you weren’t invited to the ball? Write to the blogger(s) who WERE there IF you have coherent, specific ideas and/or proposals! Ask them to look at your WRITTEN work; ask HOW your ideas might be included and be represented in future discussions.

    Hint: Your fairy godmother is NOT going to tap you with her wand and get you center-stage in the next photo-op with BC. Good writing is HARD work! Clear thinking requires discipline.
    If you can’t write well, (like me) but you know someone who HAS articulated your cause, suggest the name to Maha, and the others who were there – with a link to the work you admire.

    Maybe BC had a good idea, and maybe there is an opportunity. Let’s not piss it away with petty bickering.

  7. maha  •  Sep 18, 2006 @10:50 pm

    Maha, what if people applied your statements to you?

    “If you hurt, don’t take it out on me.”

    I’m glad you asked me that, because I work very hard at disciplining myself not to make myself feel better by hurting others. Almost all of the cruelty and oppression in the world come from people who think they are entitled to be cruel to others because they hurt. However, I also refuse to allow myself to be stepped on. Mess with me, and I mess back.

    You are banned from further comment on this blog, btw. Find someone else to hate, thanks.

  8. maha  •  Sep 18, 2006 @10:51 pm

    Let’s not piss it away with petty bickering.

    No more on this blog, anyway. 🙂

  9. maha  •  Sep 18, 2006 @11:07 pm

    So far as I have seen you do not pay attention to the issues that are important to black people.

    There are a great many issues important to a great many people I don’t write about. That’s because there is only one of me, and a lot of important issues. Just because I don’t write about something doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s important. More likely I don’t think I have anything unique or original to say.

    BTW, how much time you spend on, say, the problems of people with chronic clinical depression, or people in abusive relationships, or people with a history of childhood sexual abuse, or any number of other issues? And if you haven’t addressed those issues specifically, does it mean you hate the depressed, the battered, and the abused? Or is it that other issues are more important to you at the moment?

  10. Swami  •  Sep 18, 2006 @11:48 pm

    Let’s not piss it away with petty bickering.

    It’s not about petty bickering..It a deliberate attempt to lay a guilt trip on Maha by using a non issue of racism where it applies to a photograph of bloggers meeting with Bill Clinton. The comments that trumpet the accusation of racism offer nothing in the way of seeking understanding, they picked up a scent of concern for diversity on maha’s part and used that as their weapon of choice in an unfounded attack. They are not legitimate comments, they’re disjointed rants by people who want to feel empowered by hurling accusations.

    Oh, and by the way, Jennel. Since no one will say it…except maybe Dick Cheney..Go %&$ yourself!

  11. Swami  •  Sep 19, 2006 @12:21 am

    (even though I am college educated with a BA in English and a graduate degree,

    Huh?… what kind of English uses this kind of grammar.. “No, but I wouldn’t certainly engage on a dialogue on it to learn more,”

  12. Swami  •  Sep 19, 2006 @12:24 am

    Donde esta Jennel ? Sort of like Abraham, Martin and John..I just looked around and she was gone.

  13. whig  •  Sep 19, 2006 @3:46 am

    I don’t want to disagree with you, and really, I don’t. I know that we all have our priorities, and mine are not necessarily yours, just as yours are not necessarily mine. Hopefully we have enough in common to be in some kind of general agreement.

    And it should be said that you have not bashed my issues, nor those of the black community, nor those of any other progressive constituency.

    My concern in writing initially, and as an ongoing problem, is that a lot of issues aren’t being addressed by anybody at all in the circles of influence.

    And yet they are important issues, and even if you disagree with me, they should have an advocate, if not you or me then someone else. And if no advocate is invited, then it is as if that constituency has no representation at all.

    And that is how a lot of black people feel, for good reason.

    I’m not laying guilt on you and I’m not perfect either. I’m just sharing my observation on why it’s important to consider this in the future.

  14. Kevin Hayden  •  Sep 19, 2006 @4:46 am

    Actually, I’m still wondeing why Jessica was singled out, since her boobs are smaller than yours, Maha. 🙂

    The circular firing squad continues with suspicions and accusations abounding. Despite it’s circularity, a lot here are aiming at you and I think folks criticizing some of your toss-off repartee like it was composed at an exemplary moment of calm reflection really does miss the big picture entirely.

    But before all this brouhaha, when the first pics of this luncheon were published, I didn’t think “Oh, I wish I could meet with Clinton” Or Duncan, Matt, Peter, et al.

    I was envious that all of them got to meet you and Dave Johnson. Because, over time, blogs and emails, I’ve had a small glimpse of who both of you are and you’re both the rare sort of folks that I feel the world has gained from. Givers, not takers. And far more considerate than some here have granted.

    We live. To be actively complaining about the millions of injustices committed worldwide every minute, to quantify whose pain deserves the most immediate attention, to have the temerity to speak in behalf of every injured party….. that would cause paralysis and grant you no freedom from critics. Sometimes, it’s just a lunch and a bit of amusing conversation with peers, and nothing more.

    Trying to imagine myself in your shoes if I got an invitation, I’d go because I was curious. At the least, I’d figure on getting a decent lunch by showing up. And I’d see if there were something I could gain as a writer/journalist/activist, not something monetary, but rather, a broader audience that I might influence for some common good.

    But unlike commenters insisting on the relevance of their points – which may be true – I don’t think it’s wise to jump on your shit in your forum for not behaving as they see fit. (Marionettes 101 is down the hall, to your right).

    I wish them each peace, and an easing of their pains. I wish the same, for you.

    And I so enjoyed your post that when I got to the ‘bite me’ part, I was thinking this was a classic post.

    Well, it still is.

  15. justme  •  Sep 19, 2006 @5:52 am

    Donna In response to your question about the readership of Ebony making it less worthy of reading NO and I never once suggested that less readers in numbers equal a better or worse writer.For example I think Maha is a better writer than Kos, but she has less readers.And Donna, it was a cheap shot to suggest “The writing must really suck if WHITE people won’t read it” because I would NEVER say anything of the sort NEVER! I am so sorry this topic has touched a nerve with you, but you will NOT make me into your Monkey , and I resent you trying.
    Since I replied to you , I hope you will return my consideration by answering the questions I asked before.And before you point the white person finger at me you should at least be sure I am white.The truth is I am more red than white.You Just assumed I was white and it was foolish.And as for you being convinced I have no interest in minority issues, well you are as far off base there as you were on my race.My brother-in- law is a man of color and he is serving as we speak in the middle east.I am a aunt and a God mother to 3 beautiful children of color.For you to suggest I am not concerned about their future and their issues is cruel ,ill-informed and down right sad.
    I told you, and anyone else reading my comments that I liked the blogs in question very much…that was my point of view and I am as entitled to it as you are to yours, but they do not meet the best of the best standard in my view… but who the hell am I but one person? I hate shakesphere too… I loathe it… Does it mean it isn’t great? Hell no it just means I don’t enjoy reading it.Isn’t Bill Clinton allowed to decide this blogger or that blogger sucks from his point of view? Does it mean they suck? Who knows, but if he thinks their writing is shit for whatever reason does he have to invite them to eat with him?Can’t you at least entertain the idea that the bloggers in question were not invited because their writing style was not liked by the host?Is the idea that far out ?
    When you say a place at the table do you mean the big table or that lunch?Policy was not shaped over lunch , lunch was eaten.Do I think people should be judged based on how many readers they have, No way!!!!!I think they should be judged on their merit and on the host liking the writers style.
    Also , Maha asked a series of questions above about what she should have done.I am still waiting to hear a reply.
    How come torture will not get 60 plus comments in the threads above?? It is obvious to me certain people don’t give a “flying f–” about it compared to a lunch…..identity politics is in effect.
    Donna In WI I have really enjoyed your comments on this blog until today…the white people comment was uncalled for and it really crossed a line personally.EH???..I have never given you anything but respect ,then you make a below the belt comment and expect more respect.Forget about it.I am so sad for you.
    BTW, there were no red folks there either.But I don’t assume it is because Clinton is an Indian bigot.I assume it is because no liberal blogging red person has caught his attention as a really great writer. “The seat at the table” that day was reserved for the really outstanding bloggers..
    Maha does not write about Indians here very oft.I am fine with that, and I would never accuse her of not caring about Indian issues.American issues ARE Indian issues. I don’t hear her discussing mens health issues much either, but I hardly believe she doesn’t give a rats ass about mens health.She has a Son.She has shown compassion for humans in general.
    Maha please don’t write about Indian issues to pander to me. You cover my issues. They are American.And don’t skip a free lunch just because there is no one red at the table(or any iowans).I adore your work because it comes from your heart not from a script.Stick to that and you will find yourself invited to many tables.I hope you will continue to focus on the bigger picture and on issues that affect the greatest numbers of people, not just folks of one color or another but all of us together.
    #56,59,60 your comments kicked ass

  16. maha  •  Sep 19, 2006 @7:30 am

    I’m just sharing my observation on why it’s important to consider this in the future.

    I do consider African-American issues and have written about racism in the past. For example, I consider racism to be the uber-wedge issue of wedge issues that enabled the the extreme right wing to take over the Republican Party and win white working- and middle-class voters away from the Democrats. I still think racism is the foundation for a lot of right-wing ideology, even though by now younger righties may not be consciously aware of this. That may not have been the angle you had in mind, but it’s the angle I see as a white person watching other white people.

    As far as the meeting was concerned, it would have been normal and natural for someone to have pointed out the lack of racial diversity and complained, because it was a gaffe and an embarrassment. I intend to do what I can to be sure it doesn’t happen again. But from the reaction you’d think we were posing in the picture with Klan hoods in front of a burning cross. Give me a break. There’s an implication that all white people are racists who will sell out minorities at every opportunity that I find hurtful and insulting.

    And, of course, some of the commenters, notably bint and Jennell, are racists themselves.

    The meeting was very general, and there was not a lot of time spent on any one issue, anyway. Most of us, like me, just sat and listened and didn’t address any issues at all. It was basically about how bloggers and the Democrats can better work together, not about policy.

    You are right that a lot of issues aren’t being addressed at all by people in circles of influence. This isn’t just race issues. There are huge and vast areas of vital concern that aren’t being addressed, and these affect people of all colors.

  17. Bonnie  •  Sep 19, 2006 @2:58 pm

    Maha, you are one of the best at what you do. Those of us who are fighting to get our country back need your eloquence, your analytic skills, and your terrific ability to pull so many things together from so many other sources. I learn so much from your posts and links to other informative sources. Many of your regular readers are delightful and add much to the discourse. I appreciate that you ban trolls and readers who seem to only want to start a fight because it gives me something I can’t get elsewhere–thoughtful dialogue. So, thank you.

  18. julia  •  Sep 19, 2006 @5:41 pm

    Donna, Peter Daou is a blogger of color.

  19. whig  •  Sep 20, 2006 @12:38 am

    Thank you, Maha. I appreciate what you said.

  20. Delux  •  Sep 20, 2006 @7:53 pm

    I say that if the people at that table are your “oppressors,” your life is gravy. Everybody should have such problems.

    When White progressives need to wonder why progressive people of color won’t join their organizations, eagerly attend their events, or even talk to them? Remember this comment. The contempt you have for the real issues people of color are trying to bring to the forefront in this is crystal clear.

  21. not your standard poodle  •  Sep 20, 2006 @7:58 pm

    Wow.

    Maha actually called two african-americans commenters racist.

    That is the kind of attack I would expect to hear from a radio or television wingnut against a person of color who dared to question the attitudes of many white people.

    I am white btw — so what next, accusations of self-hatred?

    In all seriousness, you are way behind the 8-ball here. I recomend you read something, anything by Arnold Mindell. Like “Sitting in the Fire.”

  22. maha  •  Sep 21, 2006 @5:29 am

    The contempt you have for the real issues people of color are trying to bring to the forefront in this is crystal clear.

    The issue is whether we’re going to help each other or hold each other back, and throwing messy public temper tantrums over imagined sleights is holding us all back, and has to stop. I treated the African American commenters exactly the same way I’d treat anyone else behaving badly.

    Maha actually called two african-americans commenters racist.

    Anyone who prejudges and hates another because of race is a racist. Those two clearly qualified.



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