Monday, January 7, 2008

If Hillary Were a Harold.

From the beginning, I believed that this election would offer too much diversity to be discriminative, as two of the candidates (Obama and Richardson) are minorities, and one is of course a woman. However, as the boys-only treehouse becomes built, I am shocked and dismayed to see a group of boys gang up on the only girl as if their campaigns depended on it. And perhaps it's true that their campaigns do depend on it. It's business, I suppose, not personal. But still.

In Sunday night's debate, Clinton summarized the noted similarities between hers and Edward's healthcare proposals, which stands in contrast to Obama's. Within 5 minutes, a joined force of Edwards and Obama had declared themselves, and even one another, 'the candidates of change,' calling Clinton 'the status quo' and completely avoiding the issue at hand.

This incident wholly illustrates what I find most frustrating about the tag team-- that Obama declares himself a candidate for change, and Hillary-- well, she's just another politician. A revolution, Obama says, he leads a movement. These proclamations cannot help but have racial implications, which is fair enough. It wasn't so long ago that black Americans weren't allowed to sit at the front of the bus-- let alone run for president. I acknowledge whole-heartedly that we are sadly still place which is not colorblind, and I feel passionately supportive of the initiative to bring it forward.

However, I find it hypocritical to pose Obama's movement as if it were the only revolution. And as the campaign plays out, I am beginning to ask myself who will truly be a change from the norm. Moreover, I find it telling that the press, the bloggers, and even the candidates themselves, seem comfortable in implications related only to the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman and all the while calling Obama a departure from the status quo.

For example:
Many argue that the force behind Barak Obama's recent popularity is due to new voters, who are younger and like the idea of 'a revolution.' On, arguably the most popular site for prospective young voters, political musings are offered for discussion. Among the questions: "Do you think a woman can be as effective a President as a man?"

Would it be socially acceptable for the same site to offer the question "Do you think a black person can be as effective a President as a white person?"

Or another example-- During the Iowa caucus campaign, a man stood up an interrupted Clinton, screaming "Iron my shirt!" repetitively, until he was removed from the facility.

How would the backlash play out if the same scenario were presented at an Obama event, if the question were related to stereotypes about black people, as opposed to women? And to bring that point a bit farther, would any bigot have the guts to show up at an Obama event and pose a command like that? Hell no.

In perhaps the most blatant display of complete and utter hypocrisy, the press today rags on Hillary Clinton for being 'emotional.' Apparently Clinton teared up a bit while answering a question about the pressures of campaigning. As one courageous blogger points out: Clinton isn't the only one who became a bit weepy, and in fact it was a male republican who shed the first tear.

I wouldn't be a recent law school graduate if I couldn't debate my own point, or if I didn't immediately feel required to discuss what the Supreme Court says about women as equals. That's right, I cannot finish this post without talking about Craig v. Boren, and the fact that unlike black v. white, women v. men are considered, well, different. That is, as far as the Supreme Court is concerned, white people and black people are created equal (all men are created equal, sigh). Women and men, however, are different-- which is why gender commands a different level of scrutiny in equal protection cases, and why, perhaps, it is socially acceptable to take shots at Hillary Clinton for being a woman. She is, after all, a woman, and women are, after all, different than men.

So, this discrimination is only fair, right? Perhaps.

It doesn't change the fact, however, that Obama rests solely upon his platform of change and revolution, where it seems obvious that the person who is truly dealing with a fighting a status quo here-- is Hillary Clinton.

Moreover, the examples above illustrate that Hillary Clinton isn't just being denied admission to the club house, she's being held to a significantly different standard than are the other candidates-- which of course begs the question-- what if she weren't a she? How successful would Harold Clinton be right now, with his experience, his noted Senatorial record, his eight freaking years in the Whitehouse, his aggressive yet matter-of-fact argumentative skills, and, well, his campaign in general?


It's Hot in Here and I'm Stupid said...

So fucking well summarized. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad there are other people that think the EXACT SAME THING as me. This race is getting so completely ridiculous. It's unbearable to watch certain channels because they're just all obsessed with Obama.