‘Look What They’ve Done To Her’ or What We Have Not Done

In response to: “Look What They’ve Done To Her” By E.J. Dionne Jr. of the Washington Post 5/30/2008

“sexism reigns supreme” lay in the wide availability of offensive anti-Hillary paraphernalia in stores and on the Internet. For Barbara Johnson, president of the Minneapolis City Council, Clinton may have been the victim of “ageism” as much as sexism. The message, she said, was: “Your time is past, it’s time for somebody new to take your place.”

I must agree that sexism is real and it has reared its head in this campaign, just as racism has. However, as much as Senator Clinton has been a victim of the media she has also been her own worst enemy. Could it be that to some extent the women are taking the majority of attacks on Mrs. Clinton as sexist without taking in full consideration that some of it may be pointed at her as an individual? Could it be that her history and,  dare I say, personality in politics has brought up feelings towards her to the surface? Her candidacy, to her surprise, even lost support among many of her colleagues in the Senate. Could it be that when she appeared to be running with no formidable challenger that most Democrats were prepared to fall in line? I believe this is the greatest stunner to her campaign and to the Clinton legacy. There was a sense of inevitability. It was more than a sense. It was real. For all practical purposes, there was no other choice than Hillary…until Iowa. 

After Iowa, there was a chink in the armor. There was a choice. How else could one explain a freshman Senator, an African American freshman Senator pulling away as he did. America wanted a choice. The choice was not between female and male, black and white, though these issues have arose. It was mainly about the direction of the country and having a fresh start. Hillary, was a fresh choice from male dominance and Obama became a fresh choice from Hillary.  

“From the beginning, she’s been treated very badly,” says Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts Senate. “No woman would have run with Obama’s résumé. She wouldn’t have been considered.” But Clinton has been “demonized by the press and the talking heads. How do you get away with that?”

Yes, Mrs. Clinton has a wonderful resume and she’s older and well, all those things that people point to as all the right credentials. However, she was still Senator Hillary Clinton, with all that that entails. The good and the not so good. Some feel no  woman could have run with Obama’s credentials. That thought would be true in a different political climate. Americans are so dissatisfied with the direction of their country and the conduct of their government that all bets were off the table. A woman with a fresh outlook would have been heard. By virtue of Hillary’s past, a fresh outlook is one thing she could not offer and it is, at this juncture in the history of the United States which is needed most. Americans have voted for the tried and true using the past methods of judging whether a candidate was worthy. How many years here, how many years there, what school did they go to, and the biggies how old they are, what race they are and what gender they are. Give us a drink of fresh political water and leadership is what America and to some extent the world is asking for. Obama lasted longer than Dodd, Biden, Edwards, Richardson, Kucinich, Vilsack, Bayh and those are just the Democrats. But like Hillary, they all fall short for reasons in or out of their control of offering that cool sip of fresh political water. Critics of Obama’s campaign want to call it drinking the “Kool-Aid” but that merely diverts the truth of what’s going on this campaign season.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) says she is regularly approached “by women of all races, of all ages, of all faiths. They stop me, grab my hand and say, ‘Look what they’ve done to her, we were so close.’ They wanted this for their daughters and granddaughters. . . . It’s so heartbreaking.”

So why didn’t another woman run? Clinton’s entitlement. Clinton’s years of experience. Clinton’s connections and dollars. Not wanting to crowd the stage or take away from a woman who really has a shot. She is more deserving. This is where a double standard comes in that women fall victim to themselves, the belief that there can only be one and the belief that their credentials must match credential standards which were set by men. Another woman should have run. The men didn’t care. Obama did not stop because it was thought it was Dodd’s time or Biden’s time. He ran. He ran to win but with the understanding that if he lost he would now become part of the Presidential conversation of the future. Another woman should have run. Another woman should have run to say they reject the notion that they have to have even the same credentials of a Hillary Rodham Clinton. The only credentials needed to become President of the United States are those that its citizens bestow upon the candidate, their vote. Another woman should have run to win but with the understanding that if she lost she would now become part of the Presidential conversation of the future. Is there sexism out there? Yes. Has it played a part in this campaign? You bet. But.. Another woman should have run… also.httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feKBaxLjExE&feature=related

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