In “Not Ready for Hillary” I wrote that Hillary Clinton has a progressive heart with a conservative mind, and that I hoped to see on the campaign trail the progressive-feminist Hillary, who I still believe, is the real, authentic Hillary. I felt we did not get the real Hillary in the campaign of 2008. It felt like we got a fake Hillary, one who her handlers thought she needed to be to win. I ended up caucusing for Barack Obama and do not regret having done so.
Recently, a Washington Post reporter was in Iowa on a mission to write a derisive, hatchet piece about Hillary. As a female, I am in a category of people who have to wonder whether such attacks are gender-based. Probably, it was not. But something about this male reporter trying to belittle her had the effect of making me want to defend her. I found myself being more open to a Hillary Clinton presidency.
I consider myself a feminist. In grad school I took all of the women’s studies courses I could. I read Emma Goldman’s “Living My Life,” both volumes, cover to cover. My first realization of how we are all brainwashed by media happened when I saw Jean Kilbourne’s “Killing us Softly” documentary and presentation, a feminist and scholarly analysis of images of women in advertising and how it affects our collective psychology – in both men and women.
I abandoned active participation in the feminist movement some time after grad school because it just seemed so hopeless.
So now like others, I’m trying to decide who to support for president in 2016 and it is between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. There is not much not to like about Bernie Sanders. He is out there hammering out the truth and saying it in a way that people can connect with. He is boldly calling for a political revolution. He has steadfastly refused to go negative on Hillary. He is an awesome candidate and I feel the Bern like anyone else who has a brain and a heart and is paying attention. And yet…
Hillary Clinton has probably done more for women and girls around the globe than any single person. She has dedicated her life to fighting the fight for equality. She has always fought for policies and programs that benefit women and children. As Secretary of State, she used her position to make women’s rights a central part of U.S. policy. She reframed violence against women as a human rights violation, calling for women to be treated with dignity and respect in every nation. Her statements – from “I’m not going to just sit around baking cookies,” to “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all,” as she said at the Beijing women’s conference in 1995 – tell me that she is my candidate.
Bernie Sanders is an inspirational candidate as well and of course is supportive of women’s issues. And President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act, equal pay for equal work, as his first act as President.
But I want a female president. No, I want a feminist, female president who is smart and qualified and progressive. I want a feminist, female president who will truly represent me and my kind, 52% of the population. I want someone who will not put issues of importance to women on the back burner; someone who gets that global problems need solutions that involve women; someone who will not accept the inequality, misogyny, and violence, against women that is the undercurrent of virtually every society, including ours.
That would be what I would call a political revolution.
Reprinted with permission from the Autumn 2015 issue of The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter, available only in hard copy for $12/yr.!! Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.