People who claim to be upset that the Democratic Party "appointed" Barack Obama are firing away on the blogosphere, wildly claiming that women's rights were violated. And self-righteous and self-serving bloggers, like Larry C. Johnson, try to give these claims some legitimacy.
You can't argue with rants; you cannot reason with those that are unreasonable, but you can point out their historical ignorance. And they've got a doozy of one right now; the current rally cry co-opts and misquotes the words of one of our greatest Americans.
From Larry C. Johnson's "No Quarter," this morning:
“No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her” -Susan B Anthony, 1872.
And it's not just on Johnson's blog you find this quote. Google it and you'll find it's moving rapidly across blogosphere. Problem is, Susan B. Anthony never said that!
This is what Susan B. Anthony said, and it was in regards to the women's suffrage movement:
I have not allied and shall not ally myself to any part or any measure save the one of justice and equality for woman; but the time has come when I strike, and proclaim my contempt for the tricksters who put their political heel on the rights of women at the very moment when their help is most needed. I never, in my whole forty years’ work, so utterly repudiated any set of politicians as I do those Republicans of Kansas. When it is a mere matter of theory, a thousand miles from a practical question, they can resolve pretty words, but when the crucial moment comes they sacrifice us without conscience or honor. The hubbub with the Republicans show they have been struck in the right place. I was never surer of my position that no self-respecting woman would wish or work for the success of a party which ignores her political rights.
This quote comes from pg. 794 from the book, "The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony," by Ida Husted Harper. It was published in 1898.
If you look at the full context of the quote—without it being co-opted and twisted—it speaks in regard of Anthony's work in the women's rights and suffrage movement and speaks directly at her personal experience with politicians who have tried to deny women their rights, specifically their right to vote.
Today, nobody in the Democratic Party is denying the right of women to vote, nobody in the party is trying to take away from individuals or groups of individuals—whether they be women or minorities—their Constitutional protection to vote. What happened in Michigan and in Florida, were unfortunate events put in place by politicians long before Barack Obama was even considered to be making a serious vie for the Democratic nomination. This was an unfortunate game of chicken where the fat-cat politicians in two large states tried to deny the voters from 90 percent of the states in having a real say in the candidate that we picked as our nominee. In the end, more people voted, and more votes really mattered, than in any other presidential primary season that I can remember.
How would you feel if you were a woman in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, North Carolina, etc., if the Democratic leaders of Michigan and Florida had gotten their way and had virtually ended the primary season in the first three weeks? How would you feel if you were a woman in New York and men like Carl Levin, Mark Brewer and Ken Pruitt (a Republican male nonetheless) had cancelled out your vote?
I made calls to Pennsylvania for Barack Obama. I talked to many woman who were excited that, for the first time in their lives, their votes counted. The Pennsylvania primary wasn't an afterthought for the first time in their memory. Some of these women never voted in primaries before because they felt they didn't matter or count. But they voted and they were counted.
The momentum created by having such a large amount of delegates already decided would have virtually ended the primary season for all intents and purposes. But the DNC stopped Florida and Michigan, and in 45 other states, women's votes counted, because a Michigan/Florida early-January juggernaut didn't decide the nomination.
Again, what happened in Michigan and Florida was unfortunate and I hope it never happens again, but please, this was not an attempt to keep women from deciding these primary contests.
Susan B. Anthony, if she were alive today, would have been proud to see that more women had a chance to decide the Democratic nominee for President than ever before. And again, if she were here, she would have been right behind Hillary Clinton on that podium and she would endorse Barack Obama for the presidency.
This diary is cross-posted at my blog Left of the Hudson.