I was directed to this article to defend my support of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. I was glad to oblige, and here is my argument in response.
Let it be known that I am grateful that the woman's movement has noted both the challenges it faces and also noted the problems it has had in the past and in doing so seeks to reform them. As the author of the article points out, Feminism should not be a myopic viewpoint pitting men against women. True feminism is egalitarianism and moves the entire human race forward: women of all colors, creeds, and sexual orientations, and men of all colors, creeds, and sexual orientations.
Indeed, I as a male do not apologize for being a feminist, nor do I apologize for the rights the women's movement have granted to move all of society forward. Most of the article, except for its obvious Pro-Hillary bias I agree with.
However, I have one serious qualm to raise and it regards this particular passage.
Goodbye to the phrase "polarizing figure" to describe someone who embodies the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make in this one. It was the women's movement that quipped, "We are becoming the men we wanted to marry." She heard us, and she has.
If that is the case, then she has become the man she married. She has become someone who uses polarization, the politics of race, the politics of division, the politics of triangularization, and lets public opinion shape her policies rather than actual conviction. Not only that, but it is implied that she might very well be running as the surrogate for a husband who has been in high elected office before. That sounds a lot like George Wallace to me.
She has voted for a war that should have never been fought, has no end in sight, costs us millions of dollars a day, and applauded when during the state of the union with President Bush said that the surge was working. She has never officially apologized for voting for the war, but has instead reported that she was misled for voting for the war.
She has, I might also add, stayed with a man who flagrantly cheated on her on at least one occasion that we know of. It is very understandable how many of us feel that the reason they stayed together was because the understanding was that if she did not divorce him (which she had sufficient grounds to, based on infidelity) that the tacit understanding is that she would use HIS name and HIS connections to win the Presidency. That may not be the case at all, but it is certainly easy to think that in spite of what the actual facts may be.
If by becoming the man she wanted to marry, we mean she has become a political opportunist who will overlook what many women would consider an ultimate betrayal of the vows of marriage and trust, then women have sadly not progressed very far at all, in spite of all the hard work the Baby Boomer feminists put forth. That sounds much like a woman who instead of fighting for the very ideals of Women's Liberation has instead embraced a man's world and a man's flawed system instead of reforming it at the core.
She accused a vast right wing conspiracy of putting into place the forces that led to his impeachment. Impeachment was a stupid idea and based on totally partisan reasons and it did not succeed. But the fact of the matter is that Bill Clinton lied to the American People, committed perjury, a felony offense, and got away with it. Had any of US done the same thing, male or female, black or white, we might have been sent to prison.
Experience matters, to be sure. But George W. Bush had been experienced as the governor of one of the largest states in the nation. His father had been President. John Kerry had been a multi-term Senator of Massachusetts. Al Gore had been the Vice President and a multi-term senator from Tennessee. Michael Dukakis had been a successful Governor of Massachusetts.
One of these men with experience won. And it certainly wasn't any of the Democrats listed. And the Republican who won used the influence of connections, networking, money, and his last name to win the office of President. Not that Hillary has ever tried or benefited from the same things.
To his credit, Senator Obama never voted for the war in the first place. To his credit, Senator Obama has not let political polls and conventional wisdom shape his policies. To his credit, Senator Obama has not resorted to calling into question the idea that Hillary's policies are somehow fairy tales or discounted her win in New Hampshire because Paul Tsongas, another white male, not Bill Clinton (the first black president) won that state. Bill as you will recall, implied strongly that the only reason Senator Obama won South Carolina is because it is a state where most Democratic voters are African-American. He said, "Well, Jesse Jackson won the South in 1988, and that didn't prove anything."
Barack Obama is NOT Jesse Jackson. First of all, Barack won Iowa, then on Tuesday won North Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Utah, and Connecticut. I can tell you with certainty that there aren't many black faces in those states.
And I can tell you that Barack has a base of support Jesse Jackson could have never DREAMED of.
Senator Obama has not pointed out that because Senator Clinton is a woman and white, she somehow she gets an advantage he does not based on sympathy or racism or sexism.
If Senator Clinton wants to win the nomination she will win younger women and younger people in general, which have voted in droves for Senator Obama. Times have changed. People in generations beyond the Baby Boomers think differently. Baby Boomer, second-generation feminists accomplished so much, set the tone, and put into place so much good---they are not going away, as the article notes, and they will probably decide the election, for better or for worse. But younger people, and younger women in particular have a tendency to think of themselves as people first, and women second. They have a tendency to acknowledge the advances made by Baby Boomers and Women's Liberation while also understanding that the mistakes it failed to address are the reasons why feminism and being a feminist have been defined as a vulgarity the same way "liberal" and "Christian" have been twisted to suit the agenda of Republicans.
Women now comprise the majority of the electorate, not just in the Democratic party, but in the world. The key is for all of us, either male or female, to find our own vote and to find our own voice. That voice is personal, but it ought not to be Female or Male, Black or White, Gay or Straight, Latino or Asian or Native American. It ought to be human, individual, and in the best interest of all of us.