We know what to expect when a man runs for president; we don’t know what to expect when a woman runs for president. (Last of 5 Parts)
Why is the historical woman thing not feeling historical? To the point where older women like me are afraid to announce, #imwithher?
I vividly recall moments when then-Senator Obama was not white enough. Bowling in Pennsylvania?? David Plouffe, that buck stopped with you. Please resign.
Because he could not do it, Obama did not run as The First Anything. When forced to, he made a beautiful speech in Philadelphia—quite pointedly, Philadelphia.
Secretary Clinton would have to go to Seneca Falls to make that kind of point.
It used to be an old feminist game: Who’ll be elected first, a black guy or a white girl? I always knew it would be a black guy. No, I didn’t predict the backlash, which has been horrific. I also didn’t know how brilliantly he’d set up a legacy candidate for his party.
Nativism, as the KKK will tell you, comes also with an insistence that girls be a certain kind of girl. And any of us with any years on us have met with some form of violence, so we know what that looks and sounds like, and how we’re expected to behave to avoid it.
But there’s been no moment “forcing” Secretary Clinton to reflect beautifully on being a girl, possibly because sexism and ageism cross every other category of oppression. In its own way that fact alone should be rather beautiful.
Easy ways old girls could see the sexism from the beginning: his name was not Barack and her name is not Hillary. Yeah, she had to embrace that. There was noise from youngsters about “Hillary” not having a presence on social networks. No—it turns out that the material the campaign puts out isn’t forwarded. She had to embrace that too. People I knew who supported Clinton did so secretly and many still do. (I have yet to see a bumper sticker.) Mild expression of concern about, say, Clinton’s agenda being overlooked—ended in 3 a.m. unfriendings of white guys—white guys were the worst. And Senator Sanders never did concede, and you won’t hear me screaming about that. And the email thing felt a lot like the thing where old girls can’t handle tech—and we now have confirmation of that from the numerous comedians this weekend who’ve joked that Governor Kaine should at least be able to hook up Hillary’s email for her.
Mostly though, there’s something very familiar to a lot of us who have had to work harder than our white, hetero, male counterparts with fewer rewards, and who have watched daily sexism morph into ageist sexism, and who were raised with that famously faux notion of meritocracy, and who still think qualifications and experience count, and who still think that no one in the original field of 20 or 21 candidates (depending on whom you count) came close to Clinton, excepting Governor Bush, the first to stand up to Mr. Trump, and boy, did he bail fast.
I have a suspicion that, as well, we’re not really into crowdsourcing our elections.
When you’ve had the great good fortune to have been politically active for 40 years and have seen multiple iterations of civil rights movements, including feminism—with each decade refining and expanding its work—you learn that the amount of oppression happening around a moment is directly proportional to the ferocity of its expression. So when people dressed in blue are sitting directly behind the President of the United States, and they don’t clap when he says, “Black lives do matter”—you know there’s a serious fucking problem.
People, all of them white men on my own news feed, have for three days been screaming, essentially, that Senator Warren is not going to be the person to hook up Clinton 45’s email. I love Senator Warren. Senator Warren doesn’t have a fraction of Governor Kaine’s experience and qualifications. And frankly, Senator Warren knows that. And no one, including me, is ending their Facebook posts with #imwithher. And I feel completely certain that 45 will set up a legacy candidate for her party, and Warren and Kaine and other worthy folk will be part of that.
For those of you who’ve been screaming, but aren’t actually members of the party—I sure hope you join. There’s an awful lot of work to do, and, historically, that work? where all politics is local? has been done by women.
And that’s why this historical thing isn’t feeling like a historical thing. This time, we, the leftist collective, know ahead of time that electing a woman isn’t going to change sexism at all. In fact, it’s going to make it worse.
In fact, singed as some of we Democrats feel today, it already has.