Are Clinton women voters racists? Well, by their definition, probably so. A NY Times article quotes several prominent women leaders who have supported Clinton as saying they will not vote for Obama because he is sexist. Just because he is a man who has beaten the woman candidate? Admittedly, the world is not perfect and women haven’t yet got their share of justice even after nearly 80 years past the suffrage movement but to label not choosing to vote for Clinton as sexist is as ridiculuous as not voting for Obama is racist. Geraldine Ferraro, the ex-vice-president nominee went as far as suggesting that she might not vote for Obama in the fall because he was “terribly sexist”. Now pray, where did she get this from? From his “likeable enough” remark?
When this campaign started, pundits were asking questions like, is America ready for a woman or black president. The voters showed them how far behind were they in understanding America’s preferences. As the campaign between Clinton and Obama dragged on, it brought out the best and the worst in not only the media but also the candidates.
Initially, I quite liked Clinton who projected confidence and experience but adversity revealed her character as her post-Feb.5th campaign crumbled. She launched attacks on Obama in a similar vein as the Republican attack machine would. She failed to see that by doing so, she would only seek to prove her point that Obama was not strong enough to withstand attacks wrong. But when others attacked her, she chose to hide behind her gender complaining that the boys club was out to get her. By projecting herself as the first female candidate, Clinton revealed little about how different she was from her male counterparts but instead choose to act tough like any pompous man would. If she was acting just like any other man, why would we want to elect her as the first woman candidate?
I don’t understand how is it empowering for women to be expected to vote for a candidate based purely on their gender. In fact, it is counter productive. Isn’t the current feminist issue, the pro-choice movement about giving the women the right to choose? In fact, Naral Pro-Choice America group endorsed Obama instead of Clinton setting off protests from other women’s groups. Why? I recall the tremendous harm done to the Indian political sensibility when Pratibha Patil was elected as President simply on the basis of her gender when in fact, women had achieved far more powerful positions in Indian politics before her without the help of their gender.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman but it boils down to what kind of a person you are. If you are caught lying about your experiences in Bosnia, then it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or woman but it simply shows you as an individual of dubious character. Especially more so considering your spouse’s biggest folly involved lying as well. Hillary Clinton may have done more harm than good to the woman president movement by her actions in the previous two months but hopefully most of America will not hold all women accountable for the actions of one. If electing a woman is so important then why not other women? Surely, Clinton wasn’t the first to contest the Democratic nomination as Obama wasn’t the first black man to do so. As one prominent female celebrity put it succinctly, I want to see a woman president but just not this one.
But at the same time, to her credit Hillary’s campaign has shown that women are perfectly capable of running a successful campaign and raising money in U.S. politics. Clinton proved that Americans did see women as commander-in-chief and perhaps in her zeal to prove so, she may overdid it. As Obama, she brought many new voters out and helped infuse an active interest in politics. Hopefully that should crack the glass ceiling and get more women to seek office as well.
PS. The headline could’ve read Women Voters Consider Obama Sexiest, Not Sexist but then that would be stereotypical :)