By now many people have heard Madeleine Albright’s recent comment about those women who do not support her friend, Hillary Clinton, in her bid for the presidency:
“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”
– former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (speaking at a Clinton rally)
I’m sure her statement has already launched a few Ph.D. dissertations, and I’m also inclined to write about it because, in the words of theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, “It is not only not right, it is not even wrong.“
By most indicators, I should be supportive of Hillary Clinton for president. My own demographic (52 year old white female, college educated, life-long Democrat, from the Left Coast) screams that I should be “Ready for Hillary.” Except that I’m not.
What Albright, and that utterly worthless Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Whatever-the-heck-her-name-is, fail to appreciate, or even understand, is that many of us have moved beyond “labels.” Such labels, which young people thankfully have no use for (except when brainwashed by their parents) include many outdated, and reflexively judgmental things such as “binary” concepts of sexuality, assumptions or preferences regarding people’s skin color, and knee-jerk responses to political party affiliations. I can almost see the shoulder pads and smell the Aqua Net from here.
Most people of a certain age were never taught, or even encouraged, to work against their own confirmation biases. I know that I wasn’t, and I have a Master’s degree. Good critical thinking skills never even received an honorable mentioned in any of my classes, and that’s at two major universities, let alone in grade school. I suspect I’m not alone. Like a flabby muscle which has atrophied a long time ago, we Americans are pretty tongue and groove. We seem to get “stuck” easily. We’re almost like a nation of one big proverbial gutter ball in bowling. We rarely are able to jump out of the intellectual groove we direct ourselves towards and take out a few pins, so to speak.
I did manage to nudge myself out of that bowling alley gutter when I opened that Pandora’s Box (in my brain) and dared to question god and religion. It probably took me a year of just waiting nervously for the “smiting” to happen before I even looked into the evolutionary reasons behind why humans are religious. This led to a better understanding of the institutionalized racket I’d been a part of (as a somewhat typical Catholic who never questioned anything about the church). This ended up being my own personal “gateway drug” into looking at virtually everything I’d previously believed with fresh eyes. The resulting landslide of large and small epiphanies regarding “Crap I Always Believed” led to my own kind of Fast Track Authority. By that I mean I was suddenly able to see my (once) beloved president, Barack Obama as a) not a black man, b) not even a man (just an asexual politician), c) definitely not a liberal, and d) about as much of a Democrat as a moderate Republican of a decade or two ago.
Once you scrub off the crunchy and colorful outer shell we all carry around (imagine it like M&M’s), you can see, if you squint really hard, and you’re totally unafraid, that many of us gave Obama a “pass” for years and years just because of the colossal mess he inherited from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. This is a bitter, ugly pill to swallow. Such a betrayal of my own firmly set narrative about Obama was almost physically painful after believing in something – twice (that having our first black president was all that mattered) with such unabashed hope. I’ve written about this a lot before, and I also received a lot of blowback and verbal abuse online for it (you can access some of it via the Tag Cloud to the right of this post using “Barack Obama” or “all of the above”).
I try to be gentle with my fellow Democrats who get upset about this because I totally understand their anger with me when I criticize my own party. They send me mean messages saying that I shouldn’t do the GOP’s work for them by criticizing my own party. To that, I say, screw it. Call it what it is. Obama is no liberal. I have absolutely no idea, not even a good guess, why his actions don’t sync up with his statements, or why he’s actually so far from being the liberal he claims to be. After a few years of trying really hard to figure it out, the only conclusions I’m left with are the kind that create cynical, hardened, ugly complainers, so I avert my gaze from those thoughts, and not because I couldn’t take the actual and true answer, but because I don’t think I can ever really know with certainty.
But one thing is certain: I will steel myself against being fooled again. This essentially means that I must admit that Bernie is not perfect. I don’t like his stance on guns, and yet, logically, I understand that his legislative record reflects the people that voted him into office in Vermont, which is a circular type of logic that actually makes it all okay. Really. I’m not just saying that.
By a completely different logic, I also know, and even feel, with close to 100% certainty, that Hillary Clinton, if elected, will betray nearly everything I hold dear. I know this because she has reinforced her motivations and convictions not only through her shenanigans as First Lady, but then as a Senator for New York State, and again as the Secretary of State, and after that, as a private citizen taking millions of dollars for doing, what appears, NOT a lot of work, from, among others, Wall Street. She was not serving the same constituency through any of those gigs. She has no excuse, no ideology, no core belief, nothing that represents me and how I see the world. Her words ring false and I don’t trust her. But make no mistake about it – the “her” reference is just part of her M&M candy shell. It means very little, although not nothing. Well, almost nothing. Much like scooting cautiously away from the notion of a god, I’ve carefully shrugged off the mantle of girl-power, preferring to identify with bigger, more universal notions, like human, then carbon-based life form, and, ultimately, virus.
The fact that we share a gender does not automatically mean Clinton gets a pass on good judgment, moral standing (whatever that is), honesty, conviction, or anything else. Much like the Friday News Dump, which is a relic of bygone days, Hillary Clinton’s brand of politics needs to be put in the round file. Four more years (or 8) will be horrific for most things I cherish, like my kids, my country, the natural world, and, ultimately, our planet.