Americablog has a post called "HIllary's Girl Power" where they post a comment by Jacki Schechner, a feminist writer, in which she concludes that a woman would make a great Commander-in-Chief, but not necessarily THIS woman, Hillary Clinton. I heartily agree.
There is no doubt that the MSM has been horribly misogynistic in general, but particularly so in covering Senator Clinton's campaign. She has certainly used underhanded tactics that deserve derision, but the anti-female rhetoric was flowing from the very beginning of her run when she was just one of a field of candidates. Media Matters has covered this in detail, but I'll hit the high points. I don't remember anyone criticizing John Edwards' pantsuits, or debating whether any other candidates' show of emotion were real or practiced. John McCain has never been criticized for the unpleasant tenor of his voice. The word "bitch" flows from the lips of men who should know better far too easily - when was the last time anyone on TV called one of the candidates a "bastard" or some equivalent slur?
It took me months to resolve myself to rejecting the position taken by many feminists, as well as the majority of the Goddess community, that we should support Clinton because she was female. I've heard all the arguments - that it's a question of solidarity, that if she doesn't get the nomination, no woman in our lifetime will ever get it, that she "thinks like a woman" and is therefore a better choice, that she's the best qualified - and I don't buy any of them.
Solidarity, to have any meaning at all, means that we have to rally around a woman with equal or better qualifications for a particular position. I have grave concerns about the choices Sen. Clinton has made in her career. She opposed the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Her ties to Walmart and to overseas sweat shops are questionable. Her participation in The Family - a little known, DC based religious group focused on attaining and holding power for its powerful and often dangerous members - is completely unacceptable in a supposedly Liberal contender. The idea that she's the only woman in a generation to have a shot at the White House is insulting. We have many women in positions of leadership that would make better presidents, any one of whom might have a shot as Barack's VP, which would almost certainly guarantee a woman taking the office in 8 years.
I don't like her using gender as an excuse for losing. She's losing because she ran a poor campaign in which she, her husband and surrogates, have repeatedly behaved in racist and unethical ways, up to and including invoking images of violence against candidates in the past. These improper statements and tactics have convinced me that she lacks the judgement and ethics needed for the office of President. One need only remember her promise to "obliterate" Iran to know that she shouldn't hold sway in our public discourse, let alone control our nuclear arms.
I don't count her activism in her career of any greater value than Barack Obama's credentials as a community organizer and elected official in his home state. More importantly, she doesn't inspire the kind of hope and excitement that Obama does. America has, in my opinion, been on a gradual slide toward a form of fascism, or at least a greedy and inhumane form of Conservative extremism, since the tragic death of President Kennedy. The Bush administration is the direct result of the coup that began with that event - none of the Constitutional nightmare would be possible if President Kennedy had finished his term in office.
The Kennedy funeral is one of my earliest memories. I've waited my entire life to see another JFK, or Bobby, or MLK, who could invoke the "better angels of our nature." When a I see pictures of tens of thousands turning out to see Barack at his appearances, in numbers never seen before in presidential politics, It makes me believe that it's possible for America to be America again. Barack can begin to heal some serious national wounds - the enduring sickness of racism, our shame in the response to hurricane Katrina, our ill-advised and unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, the specter of incompetence that was born of the failure to heed the signs that the 9/11 attack was immanent, and the suspicion of complicity by members of the Bush administration in allowing it to happen, the restoration of our Constitutional rights, the end of torture by our soldiers, and a possible restoration of our standing in the world and the end of our xenophobic and entitled stance toward the rest of the planet- none of which could be expected or even dreamt of in an administration built around the Clinton machine.
This is not about girls vs. boys. This is about hope versus cynicism, the past versus the future, whom we are and whom we can be as a nation. I am not prepared to concede my idealism for a new gender selling the same old shit. A token torturer is still a torturer. I want massive change, more, I'm sure, than Obama could ever provide, but I'm going with the candidate who promises more change than any other. For Sen. Clinton to say that my choice has anything to do with misogyny demeans the entire Women's Movement. Equality is about more than having a vagina. It's about a true shift in consciousness that Hillary cannot catalyze for our nation. The feminist candidate in this campaign is Barack Obama.