Monday, June 2, 2008

No Means No

Corbett is on the air now

No Means No

Monday, June 02, 2008

When the rain came outside a Washington D.C. hotel Saturday afternoon, they did not run and hide their heads.

Unlike the refrain in the Beatles’ song, they did not rather they were dead.

When the rain came, they stood their ground and, looking very much alive and well, shouted “Count every vote” and “This is what a feminist looks like.”

The protestors, mostly women, knew that when it rains it shines – but only if you refuse to let a stretch of bad weather drive you deep into the shelter of a party that would rather exclude you anyway.

This party is the Democratic Party and Saturday’s meeting of its pompous rules and bylaws committee did more to dampen support for the mainstream party than any Republican ever could.

The party elite told the protestors, by and large Democrats, that they would decide what is best for them.

The protestors explained that they were not slaves and would decide their lives for themselves. By that they meant that they would also decide the party’s future. By that they meant they just might quit.

“I didn’t quit my party,” one young woman later explained. “My party quit me.”

Without them, many analysts believe the Democrats cannot win the White House in November. Without them, Democrats will rally around a flawed candidate who will further divide the party into the haves and the have-nots. Without them, the party will go down in females, rather than in flames.

Men have aligned themselves with the protest as well.

I, too, stood in the rain.

Joining in the common cause, I, too, threw my voice at the universe.

“This is what a feminist looks like,” I howled.

Nobody questioned my support for equality. No one doubted my resolve to stand in support of Hillary Clinton, the strongest candidate among all those who campaigned – including Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and the rest - to win the nomination to represent Democrats against the Republican war machine.

Now only two remain - Hillary the white woman and Barack the black man.

The protestors believe now more than ever that the deck has been stacked all along in Barack’s favor. A combination of white liberal guilt, money, power, deceit and sleazy Chicago politics helped Barack buy his way into the process.

The party bosses must know that their man will likely lose.

So why support him to the end?

That remains the most troubling unanswered question.

What is known, though, is that many Hillary supporters, mostly women who have been loyal to the party all their lives, feel abandoned. Abused by a disloyal party whose leadership is made up mostly of men, they have finally had enough.

The separation is about to commence.

And the divorce will be messy.

But when the split is complete, their freedom of choice, the liberation of walking out, will renew their strength in themselves.

Even if Barack becomes the nominee – and I’m not convinced that will happen – these protestors will know forever that they have power they never before experienced. The power to say no constitutes freedom in the face of a society that expects you to say yes.

No means no – even in the political arena.

Time has almost run out for party bosses. But they still can change - even the women among them who continue to do the bidding of men who promise them everything but never deliver.

Men and women superdelegates can still admit that Hillary is the best person for the job as she fights on until the national party convention in August in Denver.

Once there, the bosses can award her the nomination. If they do, the Democrats are closer to equality than ever. If they don’t, the great gender divide gets wider.

Standing in the rain outside the hotel on Saturday, a critic couldn’t help but sense the power of believing in a principle.

Truth is as principled as it gets.

And the truth sometimes hurts.