Why I’m Tuning in to the Hillary Channel

Why I'm Tuning in to the Hillary Channel

If it hadn’t been for DailyKos front-pager Greg Dworkin’s link the other day, I would never have known about a statement in that diary. As a rule I don’t have time to read the APR when it’s fresh and hot; on this particular morning, however, Younger Son was late bringing the baby to my house, so I had time to look around the site and read whatever caught my fancy.

And this statement in a diary about Hillary and Bernie definitely caught my fancy:

Meanwhile, it is difficult for him [Bernie Sanders] to make inroads among women who are understandably excited about finally getting a woman president.

HillaryCircle

Yes.

As much as I like Bernie Sanders—in fact an online test showed me that I agree with his policy positions 94 percent of the time—I plan to vote for Secretary Clinton in the primary (if we can call George W. Bush by his previous title of “President,” I can certainly call her “Secretary Clinton”) . If you’ll bear with me for a few minutes I’ll tell you why.

I believe she is more qualified than any of her competitors, including her fellow Democrats. She knows how Washington, DC, works. She’s experienced in diplomacy. She has worked tirelessly for the rights of women and children; she tried hard to come up with a plan for universal health care, and her policy positions are in accord with those of the Democratic party.

She has been vetted more thoroughly than any of her competitors. She’s been laughed at for talking about a “vast, right-wing conspiracy” (which, it turned out, does exist), criticized for “standing by her man” (perhaps she actually meant it when she stood in front of a preacher with Bill and repeated, “for better, for worse”), and reviled for voting in favor of giving President Bush the authority to declare war on Iraq.

Indeed, Secretary Clinton has been reviled more than any woman in history, from Boudicca to Eleanor Roosevelt to Margaret Thatcher. She’s been criticized for her hair, her makeup, her age, her voice, her figure, her choice of marital partner—you name it, she’s been criticized for it. If she’d left her husband during L’Affaire Lewinsky, she would have been criticized for deserting her husband; as it was, she was criticized for staying with him. This is emblematic of women’s lives: we’re damned whatever we do.

She voted to give President Bush the authority to declare war. All right, it was a mistake. She has admitted it was a mistake. That said, President Bush’s war of choice hardly hinged on her vote alone: a majority of the Senate voted to give him the authority.

We’ve all done things we now regret. I voted for a Republican once. Had never done it before, have never done it since, but yes—20 years ago I did cast a vote for a candidate from that political party.

Secretary Clinton is three years younger than I, but she’s still one of my coevals. We’ve been, to put it vulgarly, through the same shit.

She and I grew up in a society where everyone and everything of note was masculine: the presidents, the Congress, the doctors, the astronauts. Even Deity was masculine. The history books mentioned only the achievements of males—Caucasian males, of course, of European heritage. The TV shows mostly were about the funny doings of men. The few shows that featured women stars made sure the characters they played were ditsy, stupid, or inclined to nag.

If Secretary Clintion wins the nomination and then the presidency it will be a victory for women, not only for the women of my age cohort but for all women. The success of this one woman will in some sense compensate all of us for what we’ve lived through.

And we’ve lived through plenty of crap. “Honey, you don’t need to take algebra in the ninth grade,” said my junior high school adviser back in 1957. “You can take business math. After you graduate from high school you’ll work in a department store until you get married.”

So much for an exciting future, eh?

In the 1970s a male chauvinist pig in my office chided me for being a working woman. “You should be at home with your children.” Well, gee, honey, if someone really loves her children, the first thing she tries to do is keep a roof over those children’s heads. In the Washington, DC, area it takes two adults working full-time to afford a modest house in a neighborhood where the sound of gunfire doesn’t punctuate the days.

As recently as 2004, my colleague and I overheard a manager in our office telling one of his staff, “Make sure those girls are doing their job when they stay late tonight.” She, a 39-year-old professional who had won awards for outstanding work, and I, a 60-year-old professional, stared at each other, aghast.

Women encounter misogyny every day in this world, from catcalls when we simply walk down the street minding our own business, to risking rape if we drink alcohol at a frat party, to being the prime prey for predators (because women have been told not to fight back), to being relentlessly criticized for the way we dress, wear our hair, bring up our children, fail to negotiate higher salaries when hired, and bla bla bla.

It’s a world in which the phrase, “man up” encapsulates the prevailing ethos of our patriarchal society. To be perfect in behavior, to be admirable, to take responsibility, one must be male or behave like one.

When Secretary Clinton is relentlessly criticized every second of every day, I feel as if the vituperation is being hurled at me, because she and I were born in the 1940s and share a common background. It’s one thing to disagree with her policy positions or her past decisions; that’s legitimate. But to vilify just for the sake of piling on, to revile just because one might be enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders, is reprehensible. One can like and support a candidate without denigrating the other candidate.

If Secretary Clinton is elected president of the United States, it would show for once and for all that women are equal in qualifications and gravitas. I could tell my six-year-old granddaughter, “See? You too can grow up to be president.”

My first granddaughter, now aged 21 and working on a political campaign for a Democratic candidate in the Southwest, will be elected POTUS in 2040. But I won’t be around to see it—I’ll have been pushing up the daisies for years.

I can’t wait until 2040, folks! I want to see a woman president in the White House in January 2017. In that spirit, just to counter the “all Bernie, all the time” channel that seems to be playing on a certain blog, I offer this diary to explain why I am tuning in to the Hillary channel.

 

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Diana in NoVa

I'm quite literally an old Witch. In my spare time I follow politics, write fiction about those who follow the Pagan path, keep house (not terribly successfully), and hang out on the Moose, Facebook, and sometimes the Great Orange Satan. I'm a nanny-granny to three adorable grandchildren and the granny of two who are quite grown up. Sisterhood is powerful! 

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  17 comments for “Why I’m Tuning in to the Hillary Channel

  1. July 17, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Good morning! Thanks to Jan for posting this for me, and I do hope people will read it in the spirit in which it is meant. My intention is not to disrespect Bernie Sanders (whom I’m thrilled with, actually), or to insist that all women vote for Secretary Clinton because she and they are women. I just wanted to say that besides being the most qualified candidate (in my opinion), she’s a woman, a mother, and a grandmother like me, and that the possibility of her being the first woman POTUS is dazzling.

    I completely identify with the struggles she’s had in her life. Imagine writing to NASA to say you would like to prepare yourself to be an astronaut and then to be told “We’re not taking girls.”

    We need the day to arrive when being born with a vagina is not a handicap or a disqualification.

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  2. JanF
    July 17, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I will be back later to comment on the post, but for those who truly want to tune into the Hillary Channel, there is a great website:

    HillarySpeeches.com

    It says it is not affiliated with the campaign but it always has up-to-date scheduling information along with videos and (my favorite) transcripts.

    Thanks for sharing this post here, Diana in NoVa. We need a place where we can talk about the campaigns of all the candidates and share our own feelings about them without being immediately dissed as a sellout or shill or something worse.

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  3. bfitzinAR
    July 17, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Much better to have this discussion where you aren’t attacked. And one of the reasons I probably won’t put up my diary on DK is that I don’t believe “Hillary voted for war” or even the way you phrased it above – that she voted to give President Bush the authority to declare war – she didn’t. At the time she cast the vote she said it wasn’t a declaration of war or permission to go to war, it was to give the President another negotiating tool. Basically it was licensing a cop to “open carry” – not authorizing a cop to start shooting up schools. And you know what that kind of comment will get me at DK. I may make it, but it will be in somebody else’s diary :)

    But again, this is a very good diary, laying out both why you think she’s our best candidate and why you think it’s a Big Effen Deal that we have a woman president.

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    • July 17, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you, bfitz! I admit that I have been really confused as to exactly what she voted for. This, however, clarifies it for me:

      At the time she cast the vote she said it wasn’t a declaration of war or permission to go to war, it was to give the President another negotiating tool.

      I’ve heard such a lot of misinformation about this that it’s been difficult to understand.

      And dear Goddess, you’re better off not posting it in a diary Over There. It’s Bernie Central! I’m staying out of Bernie diaries, but there are meanies who come over to Hillary diaries just to say something hateful.

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      • JanF
        July 18, 2015 at 7:20 am

        I heard a discussion of that difficult vote on the radio yesterday. It was not just Secretary (then Senator) Clinton. That vote weighed heavily on current Secretary of State John Kerry. He felt he needed to preserve the right of the president to use military force to protect American interests but it betrayed a promise he had made himself after he returned from Vietnam: to forcefully oppose war with every fiber of his being.

        He said later that he felt as though the Swift Boating he received in the 2004 election was karmic payback for his AUMF vote. I don’t know of any rational person who believes that John Kerry should be permanently vilified for his vote especially after the work he put into the Iranian agreement. Hillary Clinton should be allowed to apologize, declare that she learned a valuable lesson, and move on.

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        • July 18, 2015 at 9:59 am

          Thank you for this, Jan. It’s so pleasant to have a rational comment—not that i would expect anything less from the Moosekind. You’ve made an excellent point.

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        • bfitzinAR
          July 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

          Hillary has already apologized – and in fact said if she knew then what she knows now she “obviously” wouldn’t have voted that way. I like the “obviously” if only because to some people it’s anything but obvious. But when Bill was in the White House he used exactly that same kind of authority to deal with the Haiti crisis. The leaders in Haiti basically told President Carter to go peddle his papers – until President Clinton put Marines in the air. Said leaders in Haiti were banging on President Carter’s hotel room door saying “we need to talk” before those military planes landed. That’s the sort of thing Hillary was expecting W to do – use the threat to get weapons inspectors into Iraq, not pull weapons inspectors out and invade.

          But yes, anybody can make mistakes but if they learn from them, then you move on – and don’t hold it against them.

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  4. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 7:59 am

    One of the things that bothers me is something that bfitz alluded to in the welcomings (which I will respond to here). She said “I will admit I am getting awfully tired of the ‘if Hillary says it, it’s a meaningless political speech. If Bernie says it, it’s a policy position’ routine”

    I think this is part of what troubles me about the naysayers: that Hillary’s policy positions are assumed to be devious manipulations of the left just to get our votes (all the while selling out to Wall Street and plotting a corporatist takeover of the government!). It is one of the problems with being a public figure for so long: people define you based on “things they heard” or on one or two votes, since repudiated. A person is never allowed to evolve on an issue (like President Obama on same-sex marriage) or to regret a vote or a position and can never rehabilitate their image.

    This is really unfair. I voted for Republicans back when I should have known better. Heck, even Elizabeth Warren was a Republican! Does that mean our transformation should never be trusted and should be picked apart as self-serving and dishonest? No. We should get the benefit of the doubt and be allowed to be proudly progressive without our motives being impugned.

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    • July 18, 2015 at 10:02 am

      So true, this:

      Does that mean our transformation should never be trusted and should be picked apart as self-serving and dishonest?

      Sigh. I think half the vitriol directed at Hillary is sheer misogyny. A lot of men hate women, especially women who take their well-earned places on the world stage. “Wimmenfolk should shut up and arn mah shirt,” don’tcha know.

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      • JanF
        July 19, 2015 at 5:32 am

        Privilege. Male privilege, white privilege, white male privilege. Men still have significant power over women in their personal lives … simply the way they talk about them as the weaker sex and needing to be protected (from abortion but not from rapists and low wages and gun violence, apparently!). It is difficult for many of them to picture a woman as President of the United States. Let’s help them … by electing one!!

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        • princesspat
          July 19, 2015 at 10:45 am

          Birth control in Oregon will be available over the counter

          Oregonians will be able to buy birth control at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription beginning next year, potentially making it the first state to allow the practice.

          The bill was overwhelmingly approved in the state House and Senate and was signed by Gov. Kate Brown this month. It will go into effect at the start of next year.

          “It makes no sense that men should have unrestricted access to contraceptives, while women must first get a prescription from their physician,” said Republican state Rep. Knute Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon who introduced the bill. “Birth control should be as easy and accessible as possible.”

          Gov. Kate Brown is making a difference in Oregon, but it’s important to note she has legislative cooperation on many issues. And I’m pleased to see the sponsor of the birth control bill is a Rep. male…..imagine that! I’m still angry that so many laws effecting women’s lives are politically driven and passed largely by men, so this helps.

          A second Oregon law, which passed the 90-member Legislature in a near-unanimous vote Thursday, allows women to obtain a yearlong supply of birth control instead of refilling their prescription every 30 or 90 days.

          Another article re Gov. Brown http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/oregons-rookie-governor-adds-some-pep-to-capital/

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          • bfitzinAR
            July 19, 2015 at 2:18 pm

            Only problem I can think of with OTC contraceptives is that they probably won’t be covered by insurance any longer – and women’s contraceptives are a lot more expensive than men’s contraceptives.

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          • JanF
            July 20, 2015 at 6:15 am

            She is a breath of fresh air! There are so many awful governors in our country it is great to hear about a good progressive governor doing good progressive things. Of course, it helps to have the legislature. I often wonder what would have happened if Mary Burke had been elected governor of Wisconsin. I suppose she would have been able to use her veto pen to stop the worst excesses of the Republican legislature (and the worst of the worst would not even have been proposed, most likely). But I have no doubt that the $1.2 billion structural deficit that they simply ignored, on the hope that tax cuts would trickle down and create jobs and increase state revenue organically, would be hung around her like an albatross; certainly she would never have been able to advance a progressive agenda.

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  5. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Thank you for this post, Diana. I finally had time to return and give a thoughtful reply instead of something hurried.

    First, the Clinton marriage is none of our business. Some of us, when confronted with evidence of unfaithfulness, may have reacted differently. But it is not up to us to judge what type of marriage a person has, good or bad, and choose their reactions for them. Did I mention it is none of our business?

    Second, those who equate the Clintons with the Bush Dynasty need to grab themselves a dictionary. Now if Chelsea runs for president in 2032 then they can talk about a Clinton Dynasty. Hillary Clinton did not get to this point by birth or by marriage. She was a political being before she met her husband and developed her own political legacy over the years.

    I am glad to see a viable female candidate not just for the optics but for what the experience of being a woman brings to the table. When I see the male candidates blithely dismiss reproductive rights and the fight that we have had to wage pretty much forever to choose when or if to have children, it is a stark reminder. Planned Parenthood will not have to convince Hillary Clinton that they are an important partner in women’s health.

    I doubt I will ever by a HillBot (like I am an ObamaBot) but I have to admit that she is growing on me. I enjoy her speeches and am excited by the prospect of continuing to build on the great things that the Obama presidency has started.

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    • bfitzinAR
      July 18, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, yes, yes, and yes. :) I’m not a “HillBot” but I most certainly do admire her, respect her, honor the work she’s done for decades now on behalf of women/children/Equal Rights, and back her for president. Unfortunately with so many of “our” people attacking her – and on so many specious grounds – just speaking up and saying, “Wait a minute. That’s not what she…” gets one labeled as a HillBot. Actually the last president I gave my heart to was Jimmy Carter (whom I helped get on the ballot in TX).

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  6. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

    You mentioned “man up” … and I wanted to point out to you an international initiative that current First Lady Michelle Obama is promoting called “Girl Up”. Here is the web site “GirlUp.org“.

    A video of her presentation from last Monday is at this link: Livestream.

    Transcript. Selected quotes:

    MRS. OBAMA: I love you. I’m so proud. I’m so thrilled to be here today for this year’s Girl Up Leadership Summit! Look at you all! (Applause.) Wow! You all look amazing.

    Let me start by thanking Rocio for that wonderful introduction and for all of her work. She’s doing outstanding work, as I hear all of you are. I also want to thank Melissa Hillebrenner for her outstanding leadership of Girl Up, as well as Rich Parnell and the other senior leaders from the U.N. Foundation who are here today. Thank you all. Thank you for being here. Thank you for making this day possible.

    But most of all, I want to recognize all of you. I mean, you all are brilliant and passionate and powerful young women who are leading the Girl Up movement across the globe. Together, you guys have started, I understand, 1,000 clubs in more than 60 countries. That’s amazing. (Applause.) You’ve raised millions of dollars to empower tens of thousands of girls all across the world. And you’ve even gotten Congress to pass legislation on issues like child marriage and birth registration, and that’s a phenomenal feat.

    So really, that’s why I’m here today. I’m here because I want you all to know just how proud I am of everything you’ve achieved. It is amazing, and you all should just feel good inside. You’re just getting started, and look at all that you’ve accomplished.

    But I’m also here today because you all have decided to focus on an issue that I care deeply about; an issue that’s one of my top priorities as First Lady. And, as Rocio mentioned, that is adolescent girls’ education across the globe.

    Now, as you heard, right now there are more than 62 million girls who are not in school. And many of them simply can’t afford tuition, because unlike here in America, in many countries, parents have to pay to send their kids to school. And sometimes, the nearest school might be miles away, and it’s simply not safe for girls to walk to and from each day. Or even if there is a school nearby, it might not have adequate bathroom facilities, so when girls have their periods, they have to stay home. And then they fall behind and wind up dropping out. And then in some communities, girls are forced to get married and have children at a very young age -– sometimes before they’re even teenagers -– so they never have a chance to finish their education. […]

    Together, I know that we can give these girls the opportunities they deserve. When I look into the eyes of girls like you — and around the world, I say this all the time — I see myself in you. I see my daughters in you. And when you become an old mother like me, you’ll see what I mean. I know we can do this with all of you working on this cause. You all are an inspiration to me in ways you will never imagine, and to so many young people in your communities.

    Now, there is someone who I could wholeheartedly support for president. :)

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    • July 18, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Now, there is someone who I could wholeheartedly support for president. :)

      Moi aussi, Jan! Wasn’t that a great speech? I love that woman.

      But I support Hillary as wholeheartedly as I would support Michelle.

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