As a wise nerd once told me in a high school Algebra class when I said I hated Coach Fill-in-the-blank, the big buff moron who taught it, "You don't hate Coach Fill-in-the-blank, you simply misunderstand him." And she was right. And that is how I feel about Senator Clinton.
The other night I had a heart-to-heart with a female friend in her 40s, who was very offended by my recent hatemongering towards Hillary Clinton. A few nights prior, I had threatened to egg her campaign headquarters which are right down the street from my house because I was annoyed by walking past them all the time, and I had even said that I would vote for McCain if Clinton won the nomination, just to spite her. My friend told me that young women of my generation take a lot for granted, that I had no idea how lucky I was that I could call myself Ms. Amity instead of only Miss or Mrs. She said we don't realize how hard it was--and still is--for a woman to rise through the ranks like Clinton. As much as she was leaning towards Obama on Super Tuesday, in the end she wound up reminiscing about "Free to Be You and Me," a children's program that she watched with her mother as a child, which became one of the first politicizing experiences in her young life. She voted Hillary.
I felt bad you guys. Like a thoroughly crazed a-hole.
I realized that I had been acting out of a deep-rooted fear of seeing my country stuck in the Middle East until the day I die. My dislike and misunderstanding comes from fear, not rational thought.
But I look at Clinton's track record and it makes me scared: her vote against the Levin Amendment for more diplomacy before giong to war, her vote for the war and her reluctance to say that she made a mistake, not to mention the more recent vote she made to categorzie the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. This does not a true progressive make, but I really think I used my own ridiculous standards for women in power to demonize her. If I assume that all female world leaders must be more peace-loving, warmer, and more liberal than their male counterparts, that's my own gender discrimination talking.
But I feel like I have found all of these stereotypical female traits in a leader--and it's Barack Obama. There are even schools of thought that believe that, in a sense, he will be our first female president.
And what he could do to inspire others is beyond anything I may ever see in my lifetime. If he were white, or a woman, or a black woman, his/her speeches wouldn't be any less powerful, or his/her policies and plans for action against the war any less potent. He reaches people in ways that Clinton can only dream of. Timothy Egan recently wrote in the NYT:
"Obama has made cynics wilt, and stirred the heart of long-dead politicos in places where Democrats haven’t had a pulse in years. Cecil Andrus,the eagle-headed eminence of Idaho, a former governor and Democratic cabinet
member, nearly lost his voice introducing Obama in Boise on Saturday. He recalled a time when he was a young lumberjack who drove down the Clearwater Valley to see Jack Kennedy speak in Lewiston, a day that changed his life.
“I’m older now, some would suggest in the twilight of a
mediocre political career,” Andrus said. “I, like you, can still be inspired. I
can still hope.”
This kicked off the second biggest political rally in Idaho history. And the first? That was when President Dwight Eisenhower came to visit. Last week his granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower, made a small bit of family
history on her own. She said that if Obama is the nominee, “this lifelong
Republican will work to get him elected.”
But what I realize now is that I should have been a little less emotional and misogynist in my rant. Especially with these a-holes running 'round spreading the hate.
I could go on and on to try to justify my strong-dislike-bordering-hatred for this woman, but I won't because I realize what she means to others. And at the end of the day she is an amazing woman admired by many, and rightfully so.