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Monday, May 19, 2008

2008 Elections: The Bad

Connie Schultz, who writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, recently put up this article.

Men shouldn’t be telling Hilary Clinton to quit the race
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Connie Schultz
Plain Dealer Columnist

Someone tell me, please, how grown men in 2008 can believe it’s their right - their duty, even - to tell a woman when she should rein in her ambition and go home.

Male columnists, male politicians, male talking heads, male “surrogates” - all of them harrumphing that it’s time for Hillary Clinton to stop it, just stop it, with all this talk of being president.

Who cares if the race is close? So what if millions of Americans believe their yet-to-be-cast votes matter? Voters, schmoters. When was this ever about them?

Hillary Clinton, they insist, must quit.

Well, boys, you’d better sit down for this one: This is no longer the playground of your youth. The girls aren’t sitting in the stands keeping score and cheering whenever you’re at bat. In fact, the girls aren’t girls at all anymore. We’re all grown up, and we are so done with this notion that the trajectory of our lives must end at the border of your comfort zone.

Hillary Clinton marched across that border miles ago, and she is not about to surrender. Not now, anyway, and not ever because you said so. And if you’ve got anything besides hubris knocking around in those heads of yours, you will take note of the potential backfire in your volley.

“OK, now I’m mad,” a friend, Karen, told me last week. “Who do they think they are?”

She supports Barack Obama, but the thought of finger-wagging men telling a woman what to do really set her off. She might change her vote, and anyone reading some of the comments on newspapers’ Web sites and blogs knows she’s not alone.

I’m thinkin’ that’s not where you fellas were going with this one. But I also think I can help.

The problem here is that you don’t understand the tenacity of American women.
It’s not all your fault. Your history books were full of tales of manly men beating each other up and then taking the livestock and womenfolk as prizes. Frankly, you were misled.

You didn’t learn about how women risked their lives birthing babies in open fields and harboring escaped slaves on their flight to freedom. You probably didn’t spend much time on how Alice Paul and her fellow suffragettes were tortured in prison because they dared to picket for the right to vote.

And chances are you’ve never cracked the spine of the book “Women’s Letters: America From the Revolutionary War to the Present” by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler. If you had, you would have seen the letter Abigail Grant wrote to her husband, Aszariah, in 1776 after she found out he had been less than heroic in the battle at Bunker Hill.

“Loving Husband,” her note began. “I hear by Capt Wm Riley news that makes me very Sorry for he Says you proved a Grand Coward when the fight was at Bunkers hill & in your Surprise he reports that you threw away your Cartridges So as to escape going into the Battle. . . . [I]f you are afraid pray own the truth & come home & take care of our Children & I will be Glad to Come & take your place, & never will be Called a Coward, neither will I throw away one Cartridge but exert myself bravely in so good a Cause.”

See, that’s the thing. You’ve got to remember that there’s a bit of Abigail Grant in a whole lot of us women. Granted, we hide it well. Most women are all fervor and no fanfare, running everything from companies and campaigns to families and food drives without so much as a plaque with their names on it at the end of it all.

We’re full of fight, too, which is the only way we got the vote, the pill and the right to own property, as opposed to being property. We don’t beat our breasts and brag about this, though, which appears to be part of the problem. Some men apparently still confuse humility with acquiescence, and then they think we need their permission to make a difference.

One mile at a time, Hillary Clinton is clearing a new road, taking hits for the rest of us along the way.

“It feels so personal,” another friend, Mary, told me. “Whenever I hear men bash Hillary, it feels like they’re attacking me.”

See, guys, that’s not good.

Remember: Abigail Grant lives.
We here at La Casa de Los Gatos have never felt this nomination battle was about men telling Hillary Clinton to quit the race. There are plenty of women doing the same.

A lot of nasty misogyny has been directed at Clinton, and there's no excuse for that. It made us support her for longer than most of our friends. We felt it was not OK to reward the anti-feminist and misogynist contingent of the electorate.

But, as we keep saying, we didn't "fall in love" with Obama. In fact, we steadfastly resisted finding out about him or gravitating towards him because he was an unknown, young, new on the scene, and didn't have anything like the vaunted Clinton machine at his command. We were certain he would be crushed outright. Clinton, herself, drove us away. Again and again, she made comments that showed us she outright despised and disparaged us. She permitted her surrogates and allies to disparage, mock, and publicly abuse us. Even as she sent us daily emails requesting our money.

We understand that a lot of women continue to support her, and we empathize with them. We, too, had hoped to see the first female President take office in our lifetime. But given her campaign, we have been forced to conclude that she is not the right candidate. History has seen many powerful female leaders. The Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi comes to mind, as does Eva Peron, Jiang Qing, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Cory Aquino. None of those women would be our first choice for President, although all of them were capable (capable of what, we'd prefer not to say). We'd rather have an Aung San Suu Kyi, or a Galyani Vadhana or a Shirin Fozdar for a leader &mdash a woman of peace, committed to feminist issues and improving the lives of the poor.

Clinton is not a woman in that mold. The race is over, Obama won, and for Clinton to continue campaigning is just damaging her own legacy, what's left of it. Or so we wrote and told Ms. Schultz.

Regarding your article on men telling Hillary Clinton to quit

You seem to be overlooking the fact that a great many women are ALSO telling her to quit.

Birthing babies is something any animal can do. It doesn't confer any judgment, discretion, wisdom, or intelligence on the birther. The fact of the matter is, Clinton is not a feminist. She is using feminist women to garner votes for herself, but had no compunctions about viciously attacking the women her husband slept with. Is it their fault that her husband couldn't keep his pants zipped?

She's taken money from domestic abuser Chris Albrecht of HBO. A few minutes' research would have told you that Chris Albrecht was arrested for beating his girlfriend in public. I would have thought a feminist would have returned his money immediately.

She touts her husband's experience as her own. "35 years," she says. A good 16 of those years were spent as First Lady of the elected president, or on the corporate board of Directors of WalMart, an organization that has done a great deal of woman-oppressing, not to mention worker-oppressing and union-busting.

But the real issue is that Clinton, for all that she is tough and tenacious, is a deeply flawed candidate. Instead of working with fellow Democrats to pass promised health care legislation while she was First Lady, she set up a war room to crush alternative views of health care, thereby ensuring that we sit here over a decade later with worse health care than before she made her efforts. Her casual remark about "obliterating" a nation of 70 million innocent people deeply disgusts those of us who are not bloodthirsty warmongers. Her comment about having the support of "working, hardworking, white Americans" could not possibly have endeared her to Black Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans. She has a tin ear.

As a loyal supporter of hers for two decades, I fully expected her to take the nomination. She proved, through her dreadful campaign, that she lacks the organizational skills and temperament to be President. Starting with the largest war chest of all the delegates, the best name recognition, and 200 superdelegates in her pocket, she limps to the finish line over $20 million in debt, with her donors tapped out financially, with fewer states, fewer popular votes, fewer pledged delegates, and fewer superdelegates. How am I to trust her with the keys to the treasury? She was beaten by a nobody!

It is very disingenuous of you to make this nomination battle out to be one between men and women, or feminists and nonfeminists. This is a battle for the future of a rapidly sinking nation. You owe it to your readers to frame the issues honestly.

Thank you.
Should you care to write Ms. Schultz, you can reach her at

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At 10:25 PM, Blogger daphne said...

I was on board with your reply to the woman who wrote the article until your paragraph about "any animal being able to give birth". What a nasty, disrespectful thing to say.

First, we are the only animal on the planet who gives birth from a pelvis that walks upright. Our childbirth is the harshest childbirth on the planet. We also give birth to babies with much larger heads than other mammals. In fact, I think you should tell you mother exactly what you wrote.

But, aside from those points, you missed the mark as to what the author was saying, and that is that women managed to give birth in times with no health care and keep rolling while their husbands were gone to war. They managed to tend to fields, cook, clean, and do everything the man did while still mothering. And that IS an accomplishment. It was also a dichotomy of thought. Women, who are supposed to be meek, mild, and obedient, were expected to do everything, including tasks that men couldn't lower themselves to do. This is the point the author was making - women have been taking care of business for centuries, and now we can finally demand some equality where it's due (not in the "I want to be a firefighter even though I'm not strong enough" way).

Your argument was kick ass otherwise, but yeah, you went overboard on the childbirth thing. Now, go apologize to your mother.

At 11:58 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Hyenas actually have a more difficult time than humans in giving birth. What's so nasty and disrespectful about accepting that we are just another species of animal? Reproduction &mdash the bearing of young &mdash is something all animals do.

I did actually tell my mother that a long time ago when she was going on about how important giving birth was. I pointed out that it requires no intelligence, forethought, discretion, or planning. A woman in a coma can give birth to a child. A lobotomized woman can give birth to a child. And as we've seen recently, a brain-dead woman can give birth to a child.

I agree with you about what the author meant. However, that's not what she said. As a professional writer, she ought to communicate better.

Women absolutely should fight for equality. And, in fact, in many ways men are more fragile, emotionally and mentally, than women. Men who don't acknowledge that women are their equals are men with a serious inferiority complex.

Thanks, I'm glad you appreciated my argument, and I appreciate your comment.

Regrettably, I have a very bad relationship with my mother, who is an abusive loon. I won't apologize to her, but I make up for it by taking care of her. Which is more than any of her other children are doing.


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