Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gee, um, let's get her in there first, eh?

I read Frances Kissling's piece on Salon this morning Why I'm still not for Hillary Clinton, but I had to keep putting it down. I felt frustrated. Angry even. Frances, whoa. She asks herself if it's possible she's harder on women than on men? And it looks quite clear to me. Yes, she is. And she's not alone. Frances claims that Hillary has missed the opportunity in her campaign to talk about what it really means for women to be equal in this country.

Hmmm. Let's think about this for a second. There is no way a woman running for president can stand up and speak on this topic and be elected. It's naive to think so. Let's be realistic.

I hear and completely agree with the disappointment around Hillary's views on Iraq. I felt let down too. I didn't agree with her. But I don't know when I have agreed with every decision anyone's made? Not a politician, not even my best friend. I'm wagering she did represent the views of her constituency--her job as a Senator, let's keep that in mind--even if I didn't agree with those views. She did move more toward the center than I wanted her to, but I want her to get into that oval office. She can't do anything for us unless she moves in first.

Frances says, She [Hillary] has shown no interest in using her extensive international experience to push for more women in party leadership, state legislatures and even the Senate. A woman candidate who considered her gender a strength (as opposed to something she needed to overcome) would announce a series of measures specifically designed to ensure that women's needs and rights were at the forefront of her agenda.

From my perspective, feminist values ARE at the core of her decisions. Look where she is. Look what she's doing. It's not been done before. She wants the job of President of the United States. She brings tremendous experience to the table. She's not perfect. Why, women, do we insist on holding her to some absolutely impossible standard?

The country IS on the road to further transformation, Frances. But don't you think that having a woman in what is arguably the most powerful position in the world speaks volumes to people of any age, from every walk of life the world over? Doesn't it say, "The country IS transforming." Doesn't it say feminist values are at the core of OUR decisions, that as a country we are learning to respect women, to listen to them, to believe in their vision in a way we have never done before? Why tear Hillary down because she can't be all things to every woman? What male candidate have you felt was the perfect candidate who represented all your thoughts and dreams?

I want the six-year-old girl in Missouri to see that it's not lip service, this notion that you can be anything you want when you grow up. If Hillary can become president, she's not going to have to talk quite as much about what it means for women to be equal in this country. Actions speak much louder than words.