Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Less than two weeks remain before the mid-term elections on November 2 when the current scapegoats for the nation’s problems will be voted out and another group of scapegoats voted in. The Tea Party, associated with the Republicans, and PUMAs, associated with Democrats, are splinter groups creating havoc in the heartland elections this year. Both groups have built up more power than the incumbents realize.

The acronym PUMA, or Party Unity My Ass, is not one I stumbled across in my extensive readings about history, women, politics, and the problems that divide us. My friend and fellow blogger, Still4Hill, an insider and PUMA blogger with this group of dedicated Democrats, thoroughly provoked my curiosity with her knowledge of PUMA. Now I know this label is plastered to all those women and many men who were infuriated by the media and the party itself for insisting on Hillary Clinton’s early withdrawal from the presidential race in 2008.

These are the folks who continue to experience anger at how the first woman presidential contender for a major party nomination was treated by the white boys club in both politics and the press. Of even greater significance today is that these people, because of their experience watching Hillary Clinton’s campaign, are now recognizing and monitoring the underlying cultural biases against females, no matter what the party (or lack thereof). Once that bias is revealed it is an impossible task to ignore it.

It was Still4Hill’s response during the week of August 17 to a written party solicitation for her vote in November 2010 that opened the hidden door to the PUMAs for me. She speaks for many of us (and not only PUMAs) with the following statement:

I vote in EVERY election. I voted in my state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday in 2008. I also saw my governor shred my vote on the convention floor in Denver. It seems to me that the last people in the world who care about my vote are the Democratic Party leadership…..

Still4Hill ended her response by requesting her party demonstrate how the party “honestly cares about women, suffrage, enfranchisement, honesty, and fairness.” For more on this, see her blog @

As much as I would like to say the Democrats have a monopoly on antics such as the above, it is impossible. Over the years I have been a part of both parties, and the Arkansas Democrats even allowed me to be an Al Gore Super Delegate in 1988. I, too, had to give up my vote to oblige the demands of the party.

Switching parties in 1993, the Republicans never quite trusted me even though I left the Democrats for good cause. The unspoken rule is that a woman is never to challenge the white boys without permission, and both parties are run by the white boys. A woman is especially not to go against a sitting U.S. Senate icon without being perpetually rebuked for such a mortal sin. The stage whispers at the time hoarsely mentioned that, “She did the unthinkable and she just cannot do that!” Even better was the loudly proclaimed question, “Who does she think she is?”

This is NOT a Republican or Democrat thing as much as it is a male thing. Men do not appreciate menacing women who do not do as they are bidden to do. And the women supporting those men are wont to punish the women challengers or mavericks even more than the men do.

History is replete with examples of menacing women bothering the white boys. In 1912 an ad was placed in Wisconsin publications about the upcoming vote on women’s suffrage. Here is the text from the ad published by Progress Publishing, Watertown, Wisconsin:

DANGER! Women’s Suffrage Would Double the Irresponsible Vote
It is a MENACE to the Home, Men’s Employment and to All Business!
.. a separate ballot printed on pink paper…… will be handed to you on November 5. Be sure and put your cross (X) in the square after the word “no” and be sure and vote this pink ballot.

Wisconsin men voted down suffrage on that pink ballot in 1912 by a margin of 63 to 37 percent. Two of the most widely cited reasons for failure of the Wisconsin referendum were the schisms within the women’s movement itself and the perceived link between suffrage and temperance. Both of these reasons are rooted in American culture as negative female attributes: Women fight with each other continually and no women want their men to hang out in bars drinking.

Four years after the Wisconsin defeat of suffrage, 7,000 women converged on St. Louis to line the streets along the route that male delegates followed to the national Democratic Convention. Dressed in all white with yellow sashes and carrying yellow parasols, these women quietly stood in a “golden lane of silence.” When the Democrats yielded to the ladies and put suffrage on the platform, a contemporary writer described the joyously waving parasols as a sea of golden poppies. These golden poppies pleased their male masters by being quiet and looking pretty.

Ten years later, my father’s two older sisters were students at Lindenwood College in St. Louis when the League of Women Voters organized a collegiate group (a photograph is in their college yearbook). Dorothy and Elise Rumph had the opportunity to join this group in February 1926 and were given an opportunity of “creating a more intelligent interest and active participation in American citizenship. The state and national affiliates of the league give to the new voters opportunity to study the field of the woman in politics and to become acquainted with the work of the national leaders.”

What saddens those who understand what is going on today is that the media and party structures in 2008 emotionally projected devotion for Obama and hatred for Hillary based partially on cultural sexual biases passed down from ancient history. John McCain and Sarah Palin had much the same treatment but McCain’s was centered more on his admission of not being up on economics. Palin? Well, she suffered the same treatment as Hillary based on cultural sexual biases but Palin’s was more ridicule than hatred.

Remember the media and party treatment of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin and all the other women running for all levels of office in the mid-term elections. Do not forget how many of them have been called whores and witches and any other medieval negative adjectives assigned to females in the Middle Ages when you vote on November 2.

Most of all, never forget the unconstitutional jailing and abuse of the suffragists protesting at the White House gates in 1917.