Hello again. The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I've just been overwhelmed with work, a family wedding, and the impending wedding of my own eldest daughter. Though I've been somewhat out of touch, I've tried to keep up with events via my Blackberry net browser at odd times. Still, I've not had the time or energy to formulate or publish my thoughts. But here goes for now:
I've been exasperated and bewildered by the efforts of Obama and his "progressive" blogosphere swooners to besmirch and besmear Bill Clinton, the most successful Democratic president since LBJ and the only Dem two-termer since FDR. Good Lord, are we Democrats now to believe that the POTUS with the 60%-area positive rating when he left office is comparable to the administration of the sub-30's-approval rating GWB?
Then, driving home from work tonight (finally, an eight-hour day!), I heard on NPR somebody (I was only half-listening at first) introducing a segment on the brands of the presidential nominees. Some marketing pro asserted that Hillary is not a brand, she's a brand extension -- of Bill's brand. Aha! Light dawns. *No, I'm not stupid, I'm just sometimes so rational that I can't comprehend irrationality.* Of course! If Hillary is perceived as an merely an extension of Bill rather than a political force on her own, then it's incumbent upon the media, Obama and all the other sexist pigs who can't see her in any other way, to infect the Mother Ship! Then the virus that was delivered to the MS will pass down to the satellite, which will in turn be obliterated.
Yes, Hillary and her supporters are determined to destroy the Democratic Party, so they must be destroyed first to save the party -- and the Obamaheads are eager to spread that meme by completely demolishing the greatest marketing asset the party has at its disposal. What's that, you say? Why, the peace, prosperity and progress we enjoyed (to hear Obama tell it, it was more suffering than pleasure) during the eight years of the Clinton administration.
And that's really the dilemma of Obamaworld. Hillary is undeniably an inheritor of that legacy. Love her or hate her, she spent eight years being branded as part of "two for one" -- the clear implication being that she was Bill's chief advisor and confidant. If his administration accomplished it, she is associated with that success. There's no getting around the history that has been seared upon the American mind: that Bill was not a solo act. (Hillary, however, as a Senator has been perceived as completely her own person.)
Were Hillary not running, I have no doubt that Obama would be portraying the Clinton administration as a model, invoking memories of those comparatively happy years in contrast to the havoc wreaked by the Rethuglicans, and Bush, since they have controlled the mechanisms of government. But he can't do that, because his opponent Is a Clinton! I admit, it's a conundrum for his strategists and supporters.
Well, no, as it turns out, not so much. Obamaworld (OW) and the media have decided that THEY'LL "destroy the party" (as they accuse the Clintons of contemplating), by themselves elevating the candidacy of the amorphous BO to a movement, a CAUSE, irrelevant of any semblance to policy passion, according to traditional populist or liberal agenda, and oblivious to an equal, Hillary-supporting half of the party: several of the largest, most important, most reliable voting groups in the Democratic Party: women, working people, and non-AA minorities. Casually inserting their anti-female bias and elitist "creative class" postures into all their attitudes, speeches, postings, editorials, they project upon Obama their desire to create a Leader in their own image -- whatever they are, that is the image they see in Obama.
At my age, I feel an incredible shrinking from my life-long advocacy of liberal progressivism, and yet an expanding awareness that gender bias is the untold, unexposed story of the day. I am the mother of five -- two sons and three daughters. And the wife of one -- The Sage, the smartest, most imaginative, handsomest man and the love of my life, father of our children and husband from my junior year in college. And, thank God, I have never for one day of a thirties-plus marriage, felt in any way constrained or directed by my husband in any way. I can honestly say that since my marriage at the tender age of twenty, I have always been just me (at whatever stage I was in). And nobody that counted (that would only be my spousal unit) suggested otherwise.
Not so much in the working world. Yes, I've been aware of the obstacles I've faced every step of my way to and through corporate executive positions. I wouldn't have achieved what I have without recognizing it and dealing with it. Many years ago I acknowledged the reality of the "conventional wisdom" that a woman would have to be better, more creative, more prepared, more effective, more productive, more everything to attract the attention and approval of those who could help advance her career. But I'd begun in recent times to forget the gender thing. For the past 10 years or so I've thought in terms of value only, and felt confidence in my own. It was quite a shock when I was told, after 18 years at my Fortune 200 company, having won literally dozens of awards in my field, that the new management didn't see a future for me with my company, and cuts had to be made anyway because our salaries were too high. There were two director-level executives who were female at that time. We were both replaced almost immediately by younger men, but decidedly not at lower salaries.
This campaign has found me bemused, but not fatally so. As I've followed the Democratic primaries I've progressed from disappointment to outrage to despair to bewilderment to exhaustion. But what has continued to motivate me is the rampant, overt sexism demonstrated almost ad infinitum by the MSM, the Obamaheads and the so-called progressive blogosphere. Almost equally, the sly racist strategy implemented by the Obama camp in the form of posturing as "post-partisan" and "post-race" while flinging accusations at the Clintons, who have been arguably the most sensitive politicians in recent memory to the interests of Americans who are of African descent, has also alienated me.
Our oldest daughter is marrying over the Memorial Day holiday. She graduated from SMU six years ago, magna cum laude, with a triple major in Finance, Real Estate and Organizational Development. She was so single-mindedly set on her future career that she never had a television in her entire four years in college. She went straight from graduation to a coveted Wall Street analyst's job in investment banking at one of the nation's premier firms. Her internship, naturally, was in New York. She told us the story, when she returned, of the first convocation of the 70-or-so top trainees from around the nation and the world. Each was asked to stand up, tell their name and city, and their chief area of interest.
As my daughter told the story, each of four young men who were from Texas, recited their name, city, and said something along the lines of, "And I hunt."
My daughter's turn came last. "I'm M------ C------," she said. "I'm from Dallas.
"And I guess I better learn to hunt."
In her years since, when she gave evidence of the most promising intellect and personality, she has confided in me the most egregious examples of sexual harassment. She and her younger sister, our beautiful middle daughter who is also now in her mid-twenties, have already fought battles in their young professional careers that I could not have imagined were they not displayed to me so vividly.
I'm so tired I'm obviously wandering. But truly -- when it gets down to the old "authenticity" argument, who do you really relate to, someone who drinks beer in a certain way? Have you ever watched your friends when they drink beer? Is there only one cool, accepted way? Is there only one "authentic" way to order a sandwich? Come on! Who do you really want to feel is in charge of our country? The corner bartender? The life of the party?
I totally agree that the president of the United States should understand and value the lives of all of the disparate peoples included in his charge. That doesn't mean that (s)he has exactly the same interests or life experience -- that would be impossible. But it does mean that the POTUS, in the ideal, should value and listen to the concerns of ALL of the people, not just the privileged few.
Who do you think understands, or even cares about you?
1. John McCain, the privileged child of the military elite, who divorced his first wife who was disfigured in an accident so he could marry his younger, wealthy mistress; a man who has established, with the help of an abetting media, the brand of a principled maverick while reneging on almost every stand he ever took when proven to be politically unfeasible or unpopular;
2. Barack Obama, who YOU DON'T KNOW. Forget about any demographics -- and I'm a marketing executive! When we're talking about authenticity, we're really talking about truthfulness. What do you KNOW about this man? What record does he have to demonstrate his most deeply felt principles, his priorities? What are his vulnerabilities in the general election? What do you really know beyond the catch phrases of "hope" and "unity"? Are you ready to surrender your vote and influence, after your accumulated experience and years building to wisdom, to the threat that "if Obama doesn't win the nomination" the youth (which historically do not vote) will rebel?
Hey, I'm one of those who questioned authority as a teenager in 1968 and 1972. I could very easily extrapolate and say that if the oldsters had listened to us, we would have ended the Vietnam War much earlier and saved many more American lives. But since I was so wise then, even in my youth, and also demonstrated my superior wisdom in vociferously opposing W's war in Iraq to anyone I could get to listen (not just one cautioned speech), I guess I'm uniquely qualified to be president.
So I'm an archaic Baby Boomer, a racist (since I support Hillary) though a committed civil rights worker in my native South when it was actually dangerous to be so; a faith-clinger out of economic necessity (although I'm a devout Christian and make a six-figure salary); and should be totally dismissed since I was raised in small-town America (where we all hate immigrants and love guns).
To paraphrase the sanctimonious dismissal of Hillary's candidacy with my own for Obama's, "Sure, it would be great to have an woman (African-American) president -- just not THIS woman (African-American)."
3. Hillary Clinton. One of (at LEAST) the most-examined lives on the planet, who has exhibited a toughness unsurpassed by any contemporary American male politician, a commitment to improving the lives of Americans, a faithful and forgiving wife and partner to her husband (family values, y'all ???), and the mother of an exceptional daughter -- and that's only her personal values! Add to that her complete mastery of economics and global politics; her total commitment to supporting our troops in substantive, not rhetorical ways; her proposals for universal healthcare and energy independence; and her standing and respect among the leaders of the world and our own military, her lifelong active support of issues that impact women and children -- well, what's to figure?
I've gone through the past few years with almost all my acquaintance assuming that because I'm an outspoken Democrat and (what others perceive as in various forms) feminist, that I would be an automatic Hillary supporter. The funny thing is that though I've been, as far back as a north Arkansas resident when he was running for governor, a Clinton adherent, and defended First Lady "Hillary Rodham" for retaining her maiden name (I did, too, until I had children), I was not initially a Hillary backer. Somehow, I don't even know how, I'd gotten the idea that since she was raised a Republican, her liberal credentials were suspect. As a populist, I found John Edwards' candidacy more to my liking. But since JE dropped out of the race, I studied the two remaining candidates. I found myself completely on the Clinton side. In some ways, that surprised me. I had absorbed some messaging that indicated to me that Obama was somewhat of a grass roots/working-class/community organize-focused candidate.
As I've followed both Obama and Clinton and their campaigns, I've become engaged as I've never been -- for Hillary. Her mastery of the issues, which is not just evidence of her intelligence and work ethic, but of her CARING to understand and try to develop solutions for the problems various and united Americans face -- is unmatched among all the campaigns in which I've witnessed for more than 50 years. I never expected to feel this way about Hillary. I suppose that I, too, as so many Americans have, absorbed so much of "maybe some woman, but not THIS woman" propaganda, that I saw HRC as an icon, not a person.
I am so glad, and feel so privileged, that I took the time to examine the life, policy positions, and accomplishments of this extraordinary woman. And having come to a position of complete confidence that she is, at this critical and complicated juncture of our national life, the unquestionably ( in my mind, at least) best qualified person to lead our nation away from the precipice to which W and the Rethuglicans have led us, and poised us to. That Obama might still win our nomination, I must face. But more and more I find myself viewing himself as Elmer Gantry, and while I will summon up the energy and time (despite my crushing schedule) to support Hillary for POTUS, I simply have no such motivation to apply myself to Obama's campaign.
So it's 10:30, and I've spent the first evening I've had in more than a week blogging, when I could have been resting. What a dweeb I am. But this is the most important election of my fifty-something life. I want Hillary Clinton to be in charge of my country. She's the only person I can imagine who is competent and engaged enough to tackle the mess that W will be leaving behind. I imagine the reasons so many of the over-50 voters are supporting her reflect my own. We have seen so much of futile war, economic displacement, and division in our lives. It is patently clear to me that in Hillary Clinton, we have an instrument of progress, unity and hope ... if we will close our eyes to the detritus disseminated by the haters and open our hearts and minds to the authentic person, the hardiest, the embodiment of American values -- Hillary Clinton.
Yes, I'm crushingly tired, physically, mentally and emotionally. But if Hillary can keep on keeping on, so can I.
Labels: Barack Obama, blogs for Hillary, Hillary blogs, Hillary Clinton