Jen’s Occasional Hungover Feminist Report: Take Back Something Edition

By request, here’s a round-up of my posts from Take Back America this week. I’m definitely glad I went, got to see some old friends, did a little netroots networking, and got some free food and drink. But overall, as I said a few times, the conference was frustrating.
It’s upsetting to see progressive people (when we’re alone together) get so bogged down in winning that they don’t talk about who is always losing. And it’s disappointing that issues like equality and justice are addressed for people in the Middle East, but not people in the Mid-West.
If the democratic party wants to be the party of progressive politics, it needs to recognize that “single issues” are about creating freedom for all of us, and are central to the fight. Maybe you can win elections against conservative republicans by using their tactics, but what have you really won? And, who still loses?
Here’s a list of all the posts I did from the conference:

Take Back America: Sitting in the girls’ room

The first small group session I’m attending at Take Back America is called Women Rising: The Issues That Count. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the room is half full and of 75 participants, only 7 are men. So, women are rising among ourselves, I guess.

Basically a poll briefing and review of how politicians tend to ignore and take for granted what they think of as “women’s issues.”
Take Back America: In my underwear

Frankly, this kind of session is what exhausts me about living in DC for almost 10 years. It’s mostly speechifying, and not a lot of actual discussion. We got a few works from Brown about poverty, but in general, this session is all about the game of politics, not the real lives of people not in this ballroom whose lives are changed, and sometimes ended by this “game.”

Uh, no comment about the title. I was really tired.
Take Back America: Fully Clothed This Morning, Thank You

There was a town-hall discussion going on when I got here, and they got to the point of my eternal struggle with progressive politics. How do we win together without marginalizing issues? The reason progressives don’t fall in line like conservatives is because we’re progressives. Duh. Other opinions matter.

In which I lament what will become the overriding issue of the whole conference for me.
Take Back America: Mike Gravel is Crazy Like a Fox

The first presidential candidate to speak to day is Mike Gravel, everyone’s favorite crazy guy. Ralph Nader is introducing him, bold choice. There was cheering and booing. The woman next to me is muttering about him under her breath. Gravel comes on to “Power to the People� amid more Ralph-related cheering, and newly enthusiastic booing.

The first of 6 speeches by democratic presidential candidates. Gravel was totally overshadowed by the Nader drama, and the fact that they lost Bill Richardson during this speech.
Take Back America: Bill Richardson and the Richardson 3?

I think Bill Richardson has more experience than all of the presidential candidates combined, so it is sad that he’s “second tier� like Gravel, and thus relegated to the early morning session. He’s also part of the diversity trifecta among the democratic candidates with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which is pretty cool.

Thank goodness they located Richardson, because his speech was good. And his tie was crooked. And, I’m aware the title of this post is extra lame, but I only had one other idea and it was worse.
Take Back America: Poverty and Politics

My favorite quote of the whole conference so far is “No one will pay attention to you if you don’t make noise.” Damn skippy.

Changed from Race, Poverty and Politics, this was an interesting session, about how America “rediscovered” race and poverty after hurricane Katrina.
Take Back America: Obama Mania

I’ll be honest, it’s hard to not get swept up in the excitement and energy. But, I’m a cynical bitch, so I can manage. Obama’s music is “Think.� He also did a good job of working the phrase “take back america� into his speech. He mentioned one of the things that inspired him, images of the civil rights movement, “young people, straight backed, clear eyed.�

After this session I had a conversation about Obama’s speech, and one of the things I find appealing about him is his thoughtfulness, but I’m not sure that’s generally a successful trait in a candidate.
Take Back America: Edwards has the biggest banner

I’m not sure what his song is, it wasn’t familiar. Shockingly, he’s talking about Iraq. And some other issues, especially heathcare and poverty here and around the world.

Edwards’ talk about poverty is the most compelling thing about him, I think. He’s done a lot of work in it, and you can tell how important the issue is.
Take Back America: Best Panel, No Question

The most important take-away for me? A reminder that voting is important, but it happens on one day of the year. To make the changes you want, you have to think about what you’re going to do the other 264 days.

I believe I’ve already spent plenty of time talking about how much I enjoyed the Hip Hop Artists and Activists panel. Mainly because it was the first session where I felt like people were sharing instead of showing off. I guess it’s easier when you’re not really invited to speak in the first place.
Take Back America: Hillary Clinton Clinches the French Canadian Vote (oops)

She starts off with the information that Bush is planning to veto the stem cell research bill today. Asshole. That’s what I call him, not what she said. But, you can tell she was thinking it.

I just can’t stop thinking about Celine Dion. And now, trying desperately to see onion rings as vagina-like. I really am trying, Ann.
Take Back America: Dennis Kucinich Likes Peace, Don’t You?

He wants to create a cabinet level department of Peace and Non-Violence, including dealing with domestic violence and child abuse. This isn’t just a political matter, it’s a spiritual principle.

No more snark from me about Kucinich. A cabinet level peace department would be nice. So are fluffy clouds and lollipops. Oops, slipped out. Sorry.

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