I’m not a supporter of Hillary’s from a political standpoint, but I think Gloria Steinem’s analysis of responses to Hillary in her The Guardian article “Why the White House needs Hillary Clinton” is spot on.
Where I disagree with her is in that I believe there was quite a bit of difference on the campaign trail between Hillary and Obama. In fact, one of the things someone said to me that summed up my disappointment in the first half of Obama’s presidency was “Obama got elected, but we got Hillary anyway.” Politically speaking, that is.
I think having a woman president would bring to the surface the misogyny in this country in a way even more revealing than what we see now, which is already astronomical. In the same way Obama’s presidency brought America’s racism even more front and center. While terrifying, it has allowed us to address it more directly, call it what it is, and start responding to the need for change even more aggressively. I believe a Hillary presidential win would do the same for opening up the conversation about misogyny even more and allowing us to genuinely start to address this issue seriously as a national conversation. It would also offer an opportunity for many women – those Steinem terms “Hillary-Haters” — to address and recognize the role they play in that national conversation and start the healing process. No small thing.
I still do not believe Hillary would make a good president. Not because she isn’t smart or capable or experienced — lord know she is all of those things — but I believe her politics and her approach to politicking will not only hold us back from moving forward economically and socially, but that her policies and approach will send us backwards and keep us mired in the same swamp we’ve been trudging through for decades now. And in balancing out which conversation I believe is more crucial at the moment, given that the Democratic alternative is someone with a great life-long track record on women’s issues, I cannot in all good conscience vote for Hillary.
If Hillary is elected, it will be a great step forward in opening up the conversation of gross misogyny in our country and the very deep wounds it has created and continues to create. But I believe it will also set us back in far too many other critical areas that I do not believe we can afford to sacrifice at this crucial juncture in what is clearly a very broken political system. If we can’t address that, then everything else collapses and we lose both women’s rights and human rights to those who can afford to make sure that the people in power never directly address those issues or make the necessary changes to move this country forward. We used to be a country that led. Now we have become a cautionary tale. This needs to change now, while the opportunity still exists.