Posted by: Allyson | September 16, 2008

NOW to Endorse Obama/Biden

NPR reported this morning that NOW will make an official endorsement of Obama/Biden this afternoon.  Click here to listen to the Morning Edition interview with NOW president Kim Gandy about the decision.

I admit that I have an uneasy relationship with NOW.  While I wholeheartedly accepted them in high school, I’ve been more critical and concerned about their views since one of my college friends called them the “National Organization of White Rich Women.”  And although that comment was made four years ago, I think there’s truth to it.  While NOW claims to be interested in disability rights, work/family rights, and racial equality (among a whole host of other issues), they don’t seem to be a very diverse group.  Plus, they don’t seem to give any attention to trans issues.

But despite my reservations about the organization as a whole, NOW is a decidedly feminist organization, and I’m pleased to see that they have decided to officially support the Obama/Biden ticket.  We need as many feminist organizations as possible to declare their support for pro-woman candidates, whether they be Democrats or a pro-woman third party.  NOW is a strong (if imperfect) feminist presence in the United States, and their vocal support of the Obama/Biden platform is crucial.

Furthermore, I think their support is especially important considering that they endorsed Clinton during the primaries.  NOW’s decision to support Obama/Biden is a very public form of proof that being pro-woman does not mean voting for a woman.  It is a public statement that Clinton fans are not rabidly running to support the McCain campaign.  Instead, it demonstrates that feminist voting goes way beyond a candidate’s secondary sex characteristics and instead depends on candidates’ policies and values.  So thank you, NOW.  You and I may not agree on some things, but you’ve made my day for setting an example for pro-woman/feminist voters.

Crossposted at This is What a Feminist Blogs Like

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Responses

  1. As a young Latina mother who actually works for California NOW, I understand the issues that other WOC see with NOW, and I’ve been witness to some pretty appalling racism and marginalization of WOC in the organization. I’ve also, especially in California, seen a shift over the last few years to address issues of WOC that coincides with a greater number of WOC in chapter leadership positions. I’m hoping that NOW can grow outside of that “rich white women” constituency, and I think this is a pretty critical point in whether they will or not.

    We did a post on the national NOW endorsement: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2008/09/now-jumps-in-on.html

  2. I agree, I think the support of Obama has the potential to help NOW’s image. On the other hand, I simply cannot imagine them endorsing McCain. It just doesn’t seem possible. But they could have endorsed a third-party candidate; they could have endorsed McKinney if they really wanted to advocate a woman and just a woman. So I don’t think the endorsement will help them overcome all of their image issues, but I think it will help.

    Also, I’d like to clarify that I don’t think NOW is intentionally exclusionary. No organization is perfect. I think that by an large, they’re still valuable and viable. There’s room for improvement, but NOW is nonetheless an important and enduring feminist organization, and we shouldn’t take it for granted.


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