Shock and Awe - a "Woman" (OMG!) President?
I am a long time Feminist. I grew up feeling special because I was female. My mother celebrated my femininity. This was augmented by the all-girl summer camp I attended, a girl's catholic school for junior-high and finally 4 years at a Woman's College. I have been politically active in support of a woman's right to reproductive freedom and even spent two glorious weeks with the Woman's Action Coalition, helping blockade abortion clinics during the Republican National Convention in Houston against the SCARY pro-lifers, so women could enter freely.
I have a strong sense of myself as a woman.
So why was I not more fired up about Hillary Clinton's campaign for President of the United States? Did I forget a few things over the years? Did I fall asleep? Where did my shock and awe, regarding this historic event, go?
Well my dears, it's back. Thanks to the misogynists in the media and on the campaign trail. New Hampshire and those a-holes with the "iron my shirts" signs woke me up - but Hillary's response to them was so fantastic, I felt my feminist passion reawaken. Especially when one of my woman neighbors said "She staged that in order to win votes". I mean - how cynical we have become!!
So - I don't know who will get my vote. I am unhappy with Ms. Clinton's support of the war and I'm not sure if the tearing down the Berlin Wall of men-only presidencies supercedes ending our occupation of Iraq. As usual, it's not a black and white decision for me, (no pun intended!) and I will be delighted if either Obama or Clinton win the election. Edwards for VP anyone?
A friend of mine posted the following on one of my yahoo groups and I have to share. I have never heard of Robin Morgan - but I looked her up and she is a famous poet and author. Based on this essay, I will read more of her:
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT (#2) by Robin Morgan
Goodbye to the double standard . .
--Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who's emotional, and so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.
--She's "ambitious" but he shows "fire in the belly." (Ever had labor pains? )
--When a sexist idiot screamed "Iron my shirt!" at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted "Shine my shoes!" at BO, it would've inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.
--Young political Kennedys--Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.--all endorsed Hillary. Sen. Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort "See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him." (Personally, I'm unimpressed with Caroline's longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe's suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)
--Goodbye to the toxic viciousness . . .Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary's "thick ankles."
Nixon-trickster Roger Stone's new Hillary-hating 527 group, "Citizens United Not Timid" <http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=14617&R=138F92C658>" (check the capital letters).
--John McCain answering "How do we beat the bitch?" with "Excellent question!" Would he have dared reply similarly to "How do we beat the black bastard?" For shame.
--Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged-and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.
--Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan "If Only Hillary had married O.J. Instead!" Shame.
--Goodbye to Comedy Central's "Southpark" featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC's vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame.
--Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not "Clinton hating," not "Hillary hating." This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage-as citizens, voters, Americans?
--Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . .The women's movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC's Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments (http://www.womensmediacenter.com/<http://www.womensmediacenter.com/>). But what about NBC's Tim Russert's continual sexist asides and his all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN's Tony Harris chuckling at "the chromosome thing" while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that's not even mentioning Fox News.
--Goodbye, goodbye to . . .
--blaming anything Bill Clinton does on Hillary (even including his womanizing like the Kennedy guys--though unlike them, he got reported on). Let's get real. If he hadn't campaigned strongly for her everyone would cluck over what that meant.
--Enough of Bill and Teddy Kennedy locking their alpha male horns while Hillary pays for it.
--an era when parts of the populace feel so disaffected by politics that a comparative lack of knowledge, experience, and skill is actually seen as attractive, when celebrity-culture mania now infects our elections so that it's "cooler" to glow with marquee charisma than to understand the vast global complexities of power on a nuclear, wounded planet.
--the notion that it's fun to elect a handsome, cocky president who feels he can learn on the job, goodbye to George W. Bush and the destruction brought by his inexperience, ignorance, and arrogance.
--Goodbye to the accusation that HRC acts "entitled" when she's worked intensely at everything she's done-including being a nose-to-the-grindstone, first-rate senator from my state.
--Goodbye to her being exploited as a Rorschach test by women who reduce her to a blank screen on which they project their own fears, failures, fantasies.
--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.
--Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn't as "likeable" as they've been warned they must be, or because she didn't leave him, couldn't "control" him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!)
--Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn't bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She is running to be President of the United States.
--Goodbye to the shocking American ignorance of our own and other countries' history. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir rose through party ranks and war, positioning themselves as proto-male leaders. Almost all other female heads of government so far have been related to men of power-granddaughters, daughters, sisters, wives, widows: Gandhi, Bandaranike, Bhutto, Aquino, Chamorro, Wazed, Macapagal-Arroyo, Johnson Sirleaf, Bachelet, Kirchner, and more.
Even in our "land of opportunity," it's mostly the first pathway "in" permitted to women: Reps. Doris Matsui and Mary Bono and Sala Burton; Sen. Jean Carnahan . . far too many to list here.
--Goodbye to a misrepresented generational divide . . .
--Goodbye to the so-called spontaneous "Obama Girl" flaunting her bikini-clad ass online-then confessing Oh yeah it wasn't her idea after all, some guys got her to do it and dictated the clothes, which she said "made me feel like a dork."
--Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they're not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo), who can't identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her.
--Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking "what if she's not electable?" or "maybe it's post-feminism and whoooosh we're already free." Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, "I could have saved thousands-if only I'd been able to convince them they were slaves."
I'd rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary, and all the brave, smart men-of all ethnicities and any age--who get that it's in their self-interest, too. She's a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let's hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too.
We are the women who now comprise the majority of US voters.
Hillary said she found her own voice in New Hampshire. There's not a woman alive who, if she's honest, doesn't recognize what she means. Then HRC got drowned out by campaign experts, Bill, and media's obsession with All Things Bill.
So listen to her voice:
"For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words."It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will."
"Women's rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak freely--and the right to be heard."
That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the US State Department and the Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (the full, stunning speech: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm<http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm>).
Me, I'm voting for Hillary not because she's a woman--but because I am.
RMFebruary 2, 2008
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