An Open Letter In Support of Amanda

[UPDATE: Shakespeare’s Sister lead Melissa just announced that she’s resigning from her position at the Edwards campaign as well.  Sad to see that, too.]

I know that I have had many differences with Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon….mostly on her incomprehension of liberal versus radical Left policies and her quite passionate advocacy towards feminism and women’s rights. (Her approach I’ve argued…not her base politics.)

There comes a tiime, though, where you have to suspend the pettiness and join in social solidarity in defense of a fellow or sista progressive who is under the barrel of a gun….and this is definitely the case with Amanda and the ensuing battle called "Bloggergate".

To reset; Amanda —  along with Melissa Ewen, the lead voice of Shakespeare’s Sister —  was approached by the John Edwards for President campaign to run their website and basically run interference with the A-list liberal bloggers.  Naturally, both accepted the offers, since it would give them major credibility and engage the progressive netroots with the larger political climate.

Not everyone was so happy, though — some from the further Left such as Dennis Perrin  of Red State Son decried the deal as a sellout of progressive principles; quoting some of Edwards’ latest statements implying that he would have no problems with bombing Iran or continuing the war in Iraq.  But that was mere politeness compared to the howls coming from the Right…and especially the Catholic wing of the Christian FRight led mostly by Michelle Malkin and William Donohue, chief spokesman for the Cathollic League for Civil Rights.

The latter two (especially Donohue, using his media cred on MSNBC and FOX News) then launched a bitter and brutal campaign against Edwards, mostly rehashing some past quotes from Amanda’s blog implying "bigotry" against Catholicism and the Roman Catholic Church, to taint Amanda and Shakes’ Sis as "dangerous anti-Catholic bigots" and called for the Edwards campaign to immediately remove these evil feminist radicals from their campaign.  There were also noises coming from the more traditional "centrist" media as well, with Fightin’ Joe Lieberman leading the verse that Edwards was pandering to the "far Left" by hiring such dangerous women on his payroll, and that he was risking alienating those key Catholic "swing voters" unless he relented and removed them quick.

For a while, it seemed to succeed; Salon.com on last Thursday released a story claiming that Edwards had indeed fired the two women (followed up by another story the next day saying that they had been rehired)….but this set off a firestorm in the progressive blogosphere in defense of Amanda and Shakes’ Sis as martyrs of freedom of speech and decrying Edwards as a craven chicken allowing a right-wing extremist to dictate his campaign strategy. 

On Friday, Edwards himself released a brief but terse statement at his campaign site basically admonishing the two women for stirring up controversy and asking them to cool it down…but allowing them to stay on. Seperate statements by both of the women apologizing for their ways were also released simultaneously.  

That sorta ended the controversy….actually, it didn’t, since Donohue announced that he would turn up the heat on Edwards and the two women for their "bigotry"….and some others (like Brownfemipower over at Women of Color Blog) openly asked if the actions of Amanda and Melissa amounted to back door censorship for past actions.

Finally, on Monday, Amanda announced at her blog (Pandagon) that she had resigned from the Edwards campaign, citing the wish to not inflame the campaign with excess baggage and the affect of squelching her own freedom of speech in responding in kind to the lynching antics of Donohue and his allies. The original note was released at Pandagon, but wasn’t accessible due to an Denial of Service (DoS) attack launched by Donohue’s allies to silence and shut down her blog. (It is currently open for the moment. Fortunately, Steve Gilliard of The News Blog reprinted Amanda’s statement at his blog, it can be found here.)

In addition to all that, Amanda found herself buried in an avalanche of hate email launched by Donohue’s followers…and most of it was pretty ugly and even explicit in its loathing and hatred for her stances. A couple of examples, as posted by Amanda recently to her blog:

[from "R.R." in Tallahassee, FL]
Amanda,
after reading your vile screed against Catholics and the Holy Spirit, I just had to see what you looked like. (I envisioned you eyebrow-less, with no visible pupils, and a blank, dead stare.) I see I was correct about the blank, dead stare, but other than that you’re not too bad. I then thought maybe you were mad at God (and by proxy Catholics) for making you ugly, but now I’m figuring you’re just mad at him for making you a woman.

 [from Vivian Thomas]
Catholics are concerned about killing unborn children, you stupid bitch. Chop away if it suits you, but we don’t have to accept that as moral. That’s why it’s called a religion. Look into it

 But those are virtual love letters compared to the more…..shall we say, expressive and explicit greetings thrown at Amanda from what appears to be sexually frustrated Christian men…or MRA wannabes. ByrdBrain would probably blow his wad be mighty impressed at the following screeds:

[from Andy Diggers of Dallas]
Problem with women like you, you just need a good fucking from a real man! Living in Texas myself, I know you haven’t found that real Texan yet. But once your liberal pro feminist ass gets a real good fucking, you might see the light. Until then, enjoy your battery operated toys b/c most real men wouldn’t want to give you the fucking you deserve b/c the shit that would come out of you ears.

I guess someone forgot to tell that asshat that Amanda is already hetero. 

 [from Paul Bernard of Scottsdale, AZ]
i like the way you trash talk i don’t particularly want to have sex with you but i would like a blow job.

Oh, but I thought that she was one of ‘dem radicallesbians that don’t do men, huh???

And then there is this typical wishful wingnutty greeting from someone named Bud Phelps (no relation to the "Reverend" gay baiter Fred Phelps, no doubt):

It’s just too bad your mother didn’t abort you. You are nothing more than a filthy mouth slut. I bet a couple of years in Iraq being raped and beaten daily would help you appreciate America a little. Need a plane ticket ?

Oh, goody, goody….does dewd know that most of the raping and beating in Iraq is being done by…you know..FREAKIN’ AMERICANS?!?!?!? And how about a Christian who is supposedly "pro-life" and "anti-abortion" openly wishing that Amanda was…well, aborted??  I guess that some fetuses are more sacred than others.

But the grandaddy of all roundhouse insults — at least the ones Amanda chose to print — comes from a fella named Romanco de Lorne who is so passionate about defending his church from "bigotry" that he resorts to all caps:

YOU RACIST WHORE. FAT UGLY BITCH. SUCK MY LONG COCK ASSHOLE I HOPE YOU KIDS NEVER LIVE AND YOUR PARENTS DIE A TRAGIC DEATH YOU ASSHOLE BITCH!
I HOPE YOUR WOMB IS BARREN AND YOUR CAREER PLUMMETS TO HELL YOU BITCH

Yup….nothing like  good, solid Christian men defending their religion, isn’t it??

Amanda herself hits the nail square on the head when she riffs:

Reminder: Donohue was claiming to be so hurt by my “bigotry”. Yet, for some reason, his supporters write me and they are more interested in telling me that my womanhood is repulsive to them. Interesting—almost as if his claims to speak for Catholicism were in fact dog whistles to scare people about women’s equality.

As I told some close friends in the days that Donohue was on the news, spraying code words about “get the feminists” (which explains why he roped Shakespeare’s Sister into this, even though she really had nothing to do with any of this—except she’s pro-equality, which is what is really what offends Donohue and all the people who gave that anti-Semite airtime), a good half of my hate mail could be summed up, “You have a pottymouth, you stupid cunt.” 

[…]

Right wingers right now are pretending like sexism has nothing to do with me, which is an argument that works if you think a) men get emails about how they need to suck a dick on a regular basis and b) that there’s nothing whatsoever sexist about allowing men to curse but hitting the fainting couch if a woman does.

Oh, but Amanda…try being a gay man, or someone who fits the type….I’m sure that they’d get the same treatment.

Time to wake up and smell reality—real bigots follow the siren call of the fascist right wing. Why would they even bother with liberals and all our equality and human rights and other tedious ideas?

[….]

But I shan’t belabor the point. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the hate mail the Bill Donohue’s “Christian” campaign against me has inspired. This is all stuff from days ago—I’ve gotten more than 100 since. Hell, from the looks of my email from last night, I’ve had more than 100 in the past 12 hours from self-proclaimed Christians who want me to know that I have hurt their feelings and this has nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with their own misogyny and tendency to witch hunt.

In short, this is nothing more than the classic "slut-baiting" that happens to any woman who dares to challenge the wacky Christian FRight’s principles on sexuality or women’s position in society.  This could have been launched just as strongly and just as easily against Nina Hartley or Joycelyn Elders, or Dr. Susan Block or Dr. Carol Queen or Dr. Gloria Brame, or Renegade Evolution or the Queer Bitch or Brownfemipower or Blackamazon, or Vicky Vette or Bridgett Lee, or Kira Reed or Shauna O’Brien, or Annie Sprinkle or Susie Bright, or even Lani Guenier or Hillary Clinton…it’s just that Amanda Marcotte and Melissa Ewen happen to be strong women and feminists who dare to be open about calling the fascists out on their bullshit…and happen to get way too close to real politifal power for the wingnutter’s comfort.

This is what you get, Clones, when you don’t defend to the death the basic principle of "My body, my choice, my damn business and nobody else’s"…and that other principle "Keep your Jesus off my penis (or clit) and your morals off my balls (and wombs)". An injury to one is still, in the long run, an injury to all.

Well done, Amanda….go get that mountain of human crap, and don’t ever let him up when you get his ass. The can of Whupass is at your full disposal if you need it.

Like I said….sometimes you put principle ahead of personal differences.  I’m backing Amanda on this one.  How about thou7??

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