Obama: Win First, Change Later
Robert L. Borosage and Katrina vanden Heuvel put the cart before the horse in “Progressives in the Obama Moment” [Sept. 1/8]. First Obama has to get elected. We must defeat John McCain and his ugly campaign. As we have seen since Richard Nixon, Republicans pursue a strategy of putting the Democrat on the defensive by manipulating fear and prejudice. I take it as a given that millions of Americans will not vote for Obama because he is black. But his biggest challenge is to put his opponent on the defensive and make a McCain presidency the voters’ biggest fear. (I know the mere thought of it scares me.)
ROBERT L. KUHN
New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington
A spirit of change has taken root, and Obama has become its embodiment. Although The Nation is right to criticize Obama’s campaign, more must be done to heal our democracy. We would like to introduce the Hundred Days Campaign: during the first 100 days of the next administration we will organize nationwide actions to ensure that people do not leave politics after the votes are counted and that our social priorities become the nation’s priorities, in Washington and in our hometowns. Join the effort, and help cure our democracy.
RACHEL HAUT, LUIS BRENNEN, PRERNA NADATHUR, LAURIE ROJAS, JON BERGER, ATLEE MCFELLIN, DAVE SHUKLA, TRACY SACHS, PATRICK ST. JOHN, GREG GABRELLAS, ARIC MILLER
Students for a Democratic Society
There She Is, Miss America…
New York City
Thomas J. Sugrue, in his review of Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland [“Orthogonian Visions,” Sept. 1/8], commits one of the hoariest clichés in history when he speaks of “a handful of radical feminists” who monopolized media while working-class and other feminists worked in obscurity on real issues. Boohoo. How about changing “handful” to a spearhead that created a movement against female oppression and that thrives globally today, even in Taliban Afghanistan?
Those obscure feminists were never ignored by radical feminists. In part because of them, a historic breakthrough occurred in Atlantic City. Sugrue’s remarks are a typical male leftist misogynist attempt to marginalize those “radicals” at the expense of the alleged “plodders”–to divide and thus weaken the importance of both groups.
I was at the Atlantic City demonstration in 1968. Many working-class women came to express their anger at the beauty contest. Robin Morgan, the organizer and leader of the demonstration, knew full well the power of media to place issues on the world stage. She had been a child star of a prime-time television show from age 7 to 14 (I Remember Mama). As a Yippie, she learned well how to use the media to bring attention to a neglected issue, the oppression of women. (She eschewed any allegiance to Jerry Rubin or Abbie Hoffman–and to me–in her famous piece “Goodbye to All That,” easily available on the Internet.)