It Is 2019, No One Gets To Be 'Not Ready' For Sh*t Anymore
Hands down, one of the stupidest things I recall from 2008 (and there was a lot of stupid that year) was the footage of all the desperately sad McCain voters explaining through tears that they were just not ready for a black president. It has annoyed me for 11 years. Not just because they were weird racists, but because not being "ready" for something implies that you intend to be ready for that thing eventually, that there are specific things you need to do in order to prepare yourself.
For instance, if someone says to me, "Robyn, are you ready to go to dinner?" I could say "Yes, let's go" or I could say "Almost, just give me five minutes to put my eyelashes on straight!" If I say "Actually I'm gonna stay home and watch some trashy shit on Bravo, you go ahead!" then the whole concept of "ready" goes out the window. Because I am not going anywhere. And neither were those people.
In 2016, the same thing happened. People got all, "Oooh! Is America ready for a lady President? We're not sure!" about things.
And now here we are in 20freaking19 with people still going, "Ooh! Are we ready for a lady president? Or a black lady president? OR A GAY PRESIDENT? Not sure! We could still be putting our eyelashes on. We don't know."
Just yesterday, we all heard the story of racist Georgia mayor Theresa Kenerly who reportedly decided not to consider the resumé of an applicant for city administrator "because he is black, and the city isn't ready for this."
America's got an entire cottage industry in which people "prep" for the apocalypse, so do not try to tell me that no one can get it together to figure out what they need to do to prepare themselves for someone other than a straight white dude being president. No. I say they all get themselves some canned goods and Jim Bakker food buckets and call it a day. They can even have their own show on A&E.
Now, sure. Sometimes this kind of phrasing is used in place of saying "these people are gross bigots." It sounds nicer. It sounds like "Oh, it's not that they're racist/sexist/homophobic assholes, it is just that they are not prepared. They need more time. Time to do ... something, we're not actually sure what, but something." It goes right along with the "Sure, that guy uses racial slurs sometimes, but he's not racist in his heart." and the "We don't hate gay people, we just hate their sins" rhetoric that allows for a dichotomy wherein these people get to simultaneously be bigots and nice people.
But other times, possibly the majority of the time, it's the political punditry equivalent of "Oh. Is that what you're wearing?"
Now, let's take a look at the actual statistics here, shall we? Seventy percent of the respondents (and 86 percent of Democrats polled) said that they, personally, were totally fine with the idea and prepared as can be to vote for a gay man for president. A clear (super!) majority! It was when they got the "BUT IS THE COUNTRY READY?" question that only 36 percent of them said yes. That is saying something a heck of a lot different than those headlines were. The actual thing that survey revealed was that the vast majority of Americans have no problem voting for a gay person, but think the rest of the country is full of bigots who would not.
And it could have been presented that way. That, actually, is quite interesting. It's even a tad uplifting. Extra, extra, read all about it! "Americans Not Actually As Terrible As Americans Think!" It wasn't.
The intentions here are clear. A good chunk of the Democratic pundit class (who are, by the way, the very same people who said that Donald Trump would never win the election) has decided that running anyone but Joe Biden is just too big a risk and running anyone else will lead to Donald Trump being elected. The entire point of a headline like that is to plant a seed of doubt. To make you go, "Ooh, I really like this person, but what if all those other people really are too bigoted to vote for them? What then?"
Kamala Harris brought this up in her speech to the NAACP on Sunday:
There has been a conversation by pundits about "electability" and "who can speak to the Midwest?" But when they say that, they usually put the Midwest in a simplistic box and a narrow narrative. And too often their definition of the Midwest leaves people out. It leaves out people in this room, who helped build cities like Detroit.
This whole conversation about what people are "ready" for, about who is electable and who is not electable is being had almost entirely by people who, I'm sorry, do not know what the hell they are talking about.
Trying to scare people off of voting for women and gay people because those women and gay people might scare off some bigots is not only a shitty way of perpetuating and coddling bigotry, it is a losing strategy. That is how losers talk.
Anyone who is living in the year 2019 and is truly "not ready" for a female president or a gay president is not voting Democrat to begin with. It's not happening. There is absolutely no chance that person is not voting for Donald Trump. The only people saying to themselves "Wow, Elizabeth Warren has some amazing policies, if only she also had a dick" are the people sitting around worrying that other people are thinking that. It is, truly, the dumbest ouroboros.
If there is a demographic of people who really don't want Donald Trump to be president but would absolutely refuse to vote for a woman or a gay man specifically because they are a woman or a gay man, that is a pretty small group. If you're gonna go in that direction, you might as well tailor your entire election strategy toward appealing to the two Shakers left in America. Either one would be just as effective.
There is absolutely no need to ever again talk about whether or not anyone is "ready" in this particular context. Throw it out the damn window. At this point, if someone is not "ready," they're not simply underprepared somehow, they're assholes who have absolutely no intention of ever being ready for the thing they are not currently ready for.
So fuck 'em.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse