NARAL, just because you're officially Pro-Choice America doesn't mean you have one. A choice, that is. Just because you've served as a powerful voice for the reproductive rights of American women for forty years doesn't mean you deserve a little respect from your membership. Or that, just maybe, you know what you're doing. Sheesh.
What were you thinking?
Well...NARAL's political action committee chose to endorse pro-choice Barack Obama. Nancy Keenan made the pro-choice choice public and then came the blowback--well, let's call it Hurricane Hillary and have done with it. No matter that the announcement praises both Clinton and Obama. No matter that Ms Keenan makes clear how valuable both Clinton and Obama are to NARAL and to American women. No matter that Ms Keenan quotes Barack Obama on choice:
A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.
No matter that Obama supports and defends Roe v. Wade.
It's not enough. The fact that both Democratic candidates are adamantly pro-choice is not enough. Raging Clinton-backers stormed NARAL's Blog for Choice site in droves. Bottom line? NARAL is a traitorous organization which betrayed Hillary Clinton--and all women, for God's sake, are Hillary Clinton. And Barack Obama is a MAN.
Hell hath no fury and all that. Hundreds and hundreds of women (and not a few men) blasted NARAL on-line. The Clinton-Or-Else bloc is canceling their membership in droves. To be fair, there were comments from rational women on both sides of the primary fence. But there were too many she-wolves, fangs bared, howling at the moon. A sampling of the feral fury:
"Senator Clinton, is a woman for pete's sake... [sic]"
"...an insulting slap in the face to [Hillary's] career and to all women..."
"...women support women!"
"You made your bed--now go sleep in it with B Hussein O."
"...are you a bunch of stupid ignorant women...a bunch of rich bitches..."
"You'll be remembered as part of the howling mob who tried to tear apart the woman who dared reach for the highest office in the land."
"Since when did Barack Obama get a uterus and ovaries? NARAL SUCKS! I will vote for McCain if Obama is nominated, we might as well get used to being barefoot and pregnant right away..."
"You guys suck. Obama sucks. I'm so pissed off."
"An local astrologer [sic] did a current-trend chart on Obama & it was very similar to HITLER'S chart. This is scary!"
"The liar is not even black! He's half black! Hillary is not half woman!"
Obama, according to this Clinton faction, can't prove he's really pro-choice. In New Hampshire the Clinton camp proved he's soft on women's reproductive rights--because they said so. And she's a woman. So what if he is pro-choice? Hillary's been pro-choice longer. And she's a woman. NARAL should have waited it out until HRC says it's over. And she's a woman. How could they--especially after the Clinton landslide in West Virginia changes everything? And she's a woman. Good Lord! As West Virginia goes, so goes the nation! And 70 percent of women in WVA voted Hillary! Because she's a woman. And they know a real woman when they see one.
There are nut cases involved in every campaign, supporting every candidate. Certainly, there are flakes among Obama supporters. But let's be honest: Barack Obama does not fuel that fire. He doesn't write an "I'm a victim because..." script for them. He is who he is--and neither the man nor his message has changed since that first February day of his candidacy in Springfield. He hasn't had his surrogates whine that "those other guys are ganging up on me" following debates. He hasn't claimed his spouse's experience as (miraculously) entirely his own. He hasn't wept for the camera when "It's hard...". He hasn't embellished his history with tales of gunfire. He hasn't belted down Canadian whiskey with a beer chaser or hugged his gun and waxed sentimental about his huntin' days. He hasn't said something like, say, she's unelectable because reports show "Her support is weakening among working--hardworking Americans--black Americans..."
NARAL endorsed a candidate based on his character, his record and, I suspect, to signal us--we women who have been conflicted about this primary--that Obama is most likely to win this nomination and it's okay. He's one of us. Being a staunch advocate for women's reproductive rights is a matter of character and of spirit. No uterus required.