Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

November 11, 2007

Hillary Clinton and Female Solidarity

Filed under: culture, media, politics — Tags: — codesmithy @ 1:02 pm

There have been a few stories that I’ve come across the past week that have gender as a central theme or, at the very least, an undercurrent.

To start with, we need to accept that sexism exists. It is a real phenomenon that exists and persists in society just like racism. Women were the last group of people given the right to vote in America. There is evidence that the Bible was rewritten over time to downplay the role of women (see “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” by Bart D. Ehrman pg. 178-186).

For a more recent example, Lilly Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for 20 years and was paid substantially less than her male counterparts. In a completely disingenuous 5-4 court decision, the Supreme Court found that because she didn’t file her complaint in the first 180 days of employment, she was not entitled to compensation. A measure (the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) to close the loophole is apparently going nowhere because Bush promised to veto the measure.

Then there is the case of Hillary Clinton and the no tipping scandal. The point of running the story is clear, to paint Hillary Clinton as a power-hungry ice witch (like Cruella De Vil, if you will). There is a segment of the media that subsists on this middle-school level gossip and tries to dress it up in faux-importance as character issues (like her laugh, cleavage, or hand gestures), however the theme is the same: Hillary Clinton is a stone-cold, ball-busting, queen of mean. Although these “serious” commentators will never admit that is their message, they just tease their viewers with that conclusion on a daily basis and play offended if one ever tries to call them on it.

I find it sort of ironic that what the no tipping scandal actually demonstrates is the failure of trickle-down economics. The manager took a hundred dollar tip and doesn’t share it with the wait-staff. Every Milton Friedman worshiper and free-market fundamentalist should be applauding, and should be the quintessential example of how capitalism can and does screw people over: not everyone has the same access to information, nor the power to effect change in the distribution of income. Greed is good indeed, well, for the manager at least.

Is Hillary Clinton an ice queen? No. Is she your best friend forever? No. She is a smart, competent woman running for President of the United States. That said, on a list of my preferred Democratic Presidential candidates, she would actually rank pretty low. I’m concerned about dynasty, and I am disappointed that Hillary Clinton hasn’t been more of a leader on important issues like opposition to the war, against telecom amnesty, etc. I find it more frustrating because she is something of a political superstar. Nevertheless, I think she’d still make a good President.

The last thing that I would like to address is the issue of female solidarity. Female voters are sometimes attacked for only voting for female candidates and are accused of being irrational, stupid, sexist or otherwise unqualified for doing so and told not to vote if that is the case. Think of this as the “politics is hard, let’s go shopping instead” Barbie message. To that I say, look, in the Ledbetter case all five justices (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito) were male. It was a close vote. If O’Connor were still on the Supreme Court would it have come out differently? I can’t say. What if four to five women were on the court as opposed to just one? Would the court have more, less or the same likelihood of finding in Ledbetter’s favor. I would have to say, I think it is more likely they would find it Ledbetter’s favor. Although, I might be wrong and it does all depend on particular circumstances. However, I can hardly blame women for wanting to ensure that their discrimination cases are heard by a panel that better represents them and eliminate the possibility of bias and sexism. It wasn’t as if women got the right to vote and all discrimination based on gender disappeared overnight.

Everyone exists in circumstances that they were born and there are always limitations on the extent that one can put himself/herself in another person’s shoes. There is always some bias, and often people try to honestly correct for it. However, the best way to correct for it is to have a jury of one’s peers, and that is something the Supreme Court just isn’t for women. The only way to correct this is to get a proportional demographic into elected political office. The fact that only 74 out of 435 members of the House of Representatives and only 16 out of the 100 members of Senate should be an indication of how much work still needs to be done (source).

If a woman votes for Hillary Clinton, not because she is a woman, but for women generally, and for no other reason, that is still a perfectly legitimate vote in my opinion. It is not ideal, but it is perfectly reasonable to want to level the playing field before entering the majority rules game that is American politics. It is especially reasonable, when there are men who will vote against Hillary Clinton for the very same reason, because she is a woman. Although, the ready-made rationalization is already available: Hillary Clinton is an evil bitch who might even put a hit out on your cat. A storyline every person who consumes mainstream media will be saturated with until election day if Hillary Clinton gets the nod from the Democratic party. If a woman votes to counteract all that slime thrown at a qualified candidate in protest, heck, I’m tempted to do the same thing.


1 Comment »

  1. This is just another way that people try to separate Hillary from the rest based upon her gender. This is plain garbage. “Is America ready for a woman president?” Is the wrong question. The right question is “Is America ready for Hillary?” The answer is, without a doubt, YES!

    Comment by Vote for Hillary Online — November 11, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

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