Five years ago, The Onion posted this:
I bring this up because yesterday it went viral after the organizers for this month's Women's Convention (the same group who organized last January's Women's March) announced that their headline speaker will be...Bernie Sanders.
Yes, the man who called Planned Parenthood "establishment" and who spawned a thousand BernieBros is now a headliner for a women's convention, because...well...because.
The reaction to this decision has been denounced by several prominent women and men on the left:
While Sanders does have a good track record supporting women's rights, it rubs many the wrong way that with 21 women serving in the Senate, 16 of them Democrats, none of them are speaking at the convention and yet Sanders is. Tamika Mallory, one of the event's organizers claimed that some, like Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, were invited to participate but had to decline. It is unclear whether they were offered the same prime speaking slot Sanders accepted.
Mallory further clarified that the true Convention headliner is California representative and Michael-Tracey-Shover-in-Chief Maxine Waters, but she's actually the keynote speaker, not the headliner. And yet, the slogan for the convention comes from a quotation of Waters': "Reclaiming Our Time." As one of the Democratic Party's most visible and outspoken women, she should be headlining the Convention instead of a man who still doesn't identify with the party he ran to be nominee of.
I was a proud attendee of the Women's March, but even then I had suspicions about the politics of its organizers. Upon releasing their manifesto that week, not only did they quote Hillary Clinton's "Women's rights are human rights" without attributing it to her, they left her off the list of women who inspired the event. Although the idea for the March belonged to a Hillary activist, Teresa Shook of Hawaii, it had become the property of a group who did not express enthusiasm for the former First Lady and Secretary of State. Organizer Linda Sarsour didn't help matters when she offered a weak tea explanation for Hillary's omission:
Sarsour, an outspoken Bernie supporter during the primary, never fully warmed to Hillary in the general. When asked about voting, she explained that defeating Trump was a top priority, but her shortsightedness led her to make videos like this one below, where she encouraged people to "vote their conscience" in states that were safe - like Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina. I don't need to remind you who those states ultimately voted for.
Also complicating the proceedings is the Conventions' inclusion of several female speakers whose pro-Sanders activism has alienated women and men on the left alike, such as Erika Andiola, Nomiki Konst, Winnie Wong, and Nina Turner. These women have spent much of 2017 boosting the Vermont Senator while bashing centrist Democrats like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and bullying Hillary-supporting women like Joy Reid and Neera Tanden (also singled out among critics of the decision to headline Bernie by Jeff Stein's Vox article - which is not a coincidence.)
Most will agree that a Women's Convention is necessary. But the message it has sent by putting Sanders and many of his worst acolytes front and center threatens to reopen the festering wounds of the 2016 primary in a time where the Left needs unity to defeat the greatest threat to our democracy since the Civil War.