Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hillary Is Not My Mother

Original Link:

By Ani

Judging by both press and internet commentary this past week, we seem to want Hillary to literally assume the mantle of Joan of Arc once again …

Some want her out front and center railing against sexism to defend Sarah Palin:

‘Hillary’s legacy is in jeopardy! She is not living her principles! After what she went through she must speak out against the horrible treatment of this woman.’

Others are determined to see her out on the stump trashing Sarah Palin. The ‘Kossacks’ and their ilk suddenly love Hillary. I guess the ungrateful dopes figured out they need her after all. They called her all manner of filthy slander too disgusting to repeat here, but she is good enough now to clean up after Barack, isn’t she? ‘My diaper’s wet. Change me, Mommy, change me!’

I have tried in vain to figure out why people can’t resist beating on Hillary; even some of her supporters. After the most grueling primary contest in history, with the outcome determined by DNC thuggery, any sensible person could agree that Hillary and her family have been through enough and deserve time to recuperate.

Hillary is a tough cookie; a worker bee who didn’t ask for down time, but the irrational need of the press and many voters to have her be all things to all people indicates that, perhaps unconsciously, we are relating to her as the archetypal Mother. This association can unleash deep and powerful feelings which defy logic. She is, after all, a politician.

The bountiful mother figure … she swells with abundance – she promises fulfillment of need. The Great Mother, however, can frighten as well as sustain …Mother Earth may sustain the crops, but Mother Earth can generate terrible forces – earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions. Our primitive psyches enshrine the ecstasy of hunger banished by mother’s breast, but we also harbor dark shadows of her absence, of her inability to make everything better.

Interesting that now Hillary is caught between the opposing cacophonies of:

They’re picking on Sarah – make them stop! Yell at them! You’re big and bad and tougher than any of them, Mommy. Make them stop.

They’re picking on Barack! Stop them! Republicans are calling him an empty suit, an unqualified charlatan and a lying fraud. Help him, Mommy, help him!

What do we all want from Hillary? Blood? How about if our ‘Joan’ is literally burned at the stake for her principles?

Pardon my dust in sharing a little personal history. I watched my own mother be treated badly day in and year out. An eminently capable woman with a vigorous work ethic, if not for her, we would all have been out in the street. She was belittled daily by a sick man for years so he could maintain his base of power in the home. It worked. And we were all encouraged, unsuccessfully, to beat on her too in our way – if she was not perfect. Sound familiar?

We orbited around the abuser and made the best of it. In the name of family, my Mom made a choice to stay in an incredibly difficult situation. I did not second guess her. Witnessing this, however, taught me not to make the same choice in my own life.

Echoing a similar diseased family dynamic, the DNC, the media and the country is now orbiting around the ‘abuser’, Barack, while expecting Hillary to do the washing up after. How many of us have versions of the same story to tell – either at home or in the workplace.

A friend of mine recently said “Hillary has raised the bar for what I will accept from a Presidential candidate.” He’s right. Watching and championing the unflappable, wonderfully prepared, gritty and determined Hillary Clinton was a joy. But being A+ cost her… Watching her be ripped to shreds by little frat boys and colluding girls of the media, while the jealous, corrupt DNC elders rubbed their hands together, grateful allies to this slaughter, was too painful for words.

Hillary is human; an imperfect person in an imperfect world who just happened to be a very knowledgeable, caring policy wonk who liked to roll her sleeves up and get to work. No Grecian temple necessary. No matter how good a politician Hillary became, I never thought she was going to solve all my problems. I am sure my own experiences with misogyny and witnessing the abuse my mother received made me take this election a little more personally, but I never made Hillary my mother. I do not expect her to fix everything.

I worked on her behalf because she was the best option available. Period.

How odd that some women actually refused to vote for Hillary because she did not leave Bill. Isn’t there a saying about living in a glass house and throwing stones? Just my opinion, but often, we may not be comfortable with shining a light on our own shortcomings. We expect admired public figures to step up to the plate in a way we ourselves cannot or do not. We hold them to ridiculous and superhuman standards.

Hillary’s reasons are her own. There is a bigger picture than we can imagine and it may be just as much about love and family as habit or any less generous adjectives you would care to name.

In this current debate, some expect Hillary to stand before the world and decry what angers us, while, with a few exceptions, we issue these complaints from the safety of a blogger’s alias.

Hillary has made a statement that sexism has no place in this contest. That is all that she should do. Sarah Palin herself stated that Hillary ever mentioning sexism was a mistake and as a woman you know they are going to throw the kitchen sink at you and you have to be twice as good and just get on with it. That indicates to me, she is not asking for any help. Palin has her entire Party behind her – much more than Hillary ever had.

Yes the DNC is corrupt and needs to be cleansed. Can we do that right this second? No. Obviously, the phony roll call at the Convention and the events orchestrated by Brazile et al indicate clearly, we do not have the environment to do that now. And if other Democratic bigwigs did not have the balls to stand up to this travesty and left Hillary, all by herself, flapping in the breeze – us asking her to do so yet again in the name of Sarah Palin is an unnecessary political suicide.

Do we want the Dem Party to slit her throat altogether? Dean, Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, Richardson, Edwards, Dodd, Rockefeller and Co. would like nothing better. That is what we will accomplish by asking her to come to the defense of a Republican VP nominee.

And as to the DNC’s corruption, expecting Clinton to take on the entire Party, the media and the Obama campaign single-handed is as naive as it is unreasonable. Likewise the thought that she could have run as an Independent and abandoned the Party. Sorry. Not doable — much as I would have liked this myself.

Politics is a blood sport, a vile undertaking to say the least. But I, for one, want to see Hillary live to fight another day – whether she runs for President in 2012, becomes Senate Majority Leader or remains a powerful work-horse NY Senator, able to push her agenda through.

Obama and Axelrod have framed their campaign around playing the race card. It is a catch-all designed to stop any criticism dead. The media is terrified of being called racist. Ironic that by the media excusing Senator Obama’s every gaffe and deliberately deciding not to vet him, they are being completely racist.

Unwittingly or not, they are saying that Barack Obama is not capable of winning this election on the issues or on his own. They are acknowledging his lack of accomplishment. He cannot do it fair and square. He could not do it against Hillary and he will not do it against McCain. So the media needs to help by saying “ssshhhh – these are questions we will not ask.” Well here’s a hot flash. Holding Hillary to a higher standard than Barack is sexism, too.

In 2000, the media sold us Bush and trashed Gore. They also sold Bush’s war. Herein lies the best reason not to vote for Barack Obama – the media wants him.

The media made sure Hillary had to be perfect out on the trail. I was terrified she would say the wrong thing – because she had no margin for error. Whereas Barack could just sort of meander on to the stage backwards and ‘be mesmerizing.’ Hillary has done more in one year than Senator Obama has done in his whole fabricated life. Doesn’t matter. Damn it, Hillary, don’t you make a mistake. Not a single one!

Now Hillary is caught between defending Barack and defending Sarah Palin. I personally think Sarah Palin can eat Barack’s lunch. But she’s been on the national stage for a week. She’s had to endure this misogyny for a week. Let her step up to the plate and handle it. For that matter, let Obama go win his own election.

But here’s a word: empathy.

Have people wondered what it would feel like as a public figure to have the right wing gunning for you for 16 years; to create a picture of you as divisive and polarizing in an effort to poison the electorate; and to have to publicly pay for your husband’s personal transgressions on top of that.

Then picture you are running a campaign for 18 months, by far the best, most prepared candidate with the best policies, only to be stabbed in the back daily by the do-nothing loser cowards in your own Party, as well as the media – while the Republicans pretty much stay silent about the unfair treatment you are receiving.

Why wouldn’t they? Republicans knew Hillary would win in a landslide. Who would want to run against her? They were scared.

Now imagine you and your President husband are also unjustly painted as racists, after you have done more for the AA community in a heartbeat than Barack has done his whole life. Can you imagine what would happen if you started speaking out for a Republican woman over Barack in this deadly and irrational atmosphere?

I do not want my Joan of Arc in a pantsuit to be set aflame. I want her back. Enough is enough. Let everybody else fight their own battles. She has exhibited more raw courage than any politician I have ever seen. She led by example and never gave anyone the satisfaction of seeing her defeated.

At the Convention, radiant in her prisoner’s orange, she gave a victory speech and talked about everything she fought for. She will continue the fight. I assure you. She is a smart political animal. I trust that in order to keep a seat at the table to fight for her country in the future, seeing the writing on the wall, she did what she had to do.

In the world of politics, perhaps the concept of ‘mother’ is too tough to erase from the collective psyche, accounting for the ridiculous double standard foisted upon both Senator Clinton and Governor Palin. But if we want to change the landscape of sexism, it is up to us to continue to fight back as well. Speak out, write, call, boycott, protest, show up and most of all – VOTE.

Instead of demanding that Mommy make it all better.

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