Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gender inequality in politics

Hilary Clinton just won the New Hampster Democratic primary, beating out Obama and Edwards. People are already declaring this an "upset" and calling her the comeback kid. Um, perhaps I'm mistaken, but this was the first primary in the country. The Iowa Caucus isn't really a primary, so I'm questioning how she can be the comeback kid when there really isn't anything to come back from. But I digress.

Did you read Gloria Steinen's oped today in the NYTimes? It was brilliant. And it got me to thinking. Really thinking hard about a statement I heard from an outpoll today in New Hampster. A woman was asked who she voted for and she said "Hilary" and when asked why she said, "I aligned more closely with another candidate, but I thought long and hard about how I would feel 10 years from now whether I could say, "I could have voted for the first female President, but I didn't."

That really hit me hard. I'm 55 and I've voted in every election, local to national since I was 18 years old. In all that time, I've supported nearly every female candidate running as a Democrat (I rarely if ever cross party lines as I don't have any respect for Republican values). But now I have a chance to support a viable woman candidate for President, and I've instead chosen to support the only white male candidate. Boy, that irks me. What have I been thinking?

I've been thinking that I like Edward's populist message, which rings truer with me than anything Hilary has said whilst campaigning. But my sensibilities tell me that I'm ignoring the black man and the woman in favor of the typical white male, and that's plain wrong.

Yes, I am supporting Edwards, but the reality of the situation is, he's not going to end up as the Democratic candidate. Either Hilary or Barak is going to represent my party next fall, and I'm going to support them whole heartedly over McCain or (God forbid) Romney hands down.

However, I'm bothered by my lack of feminist responsibilities. I can't tell if this is a good or a bad thing. With Obama, I don't feel responsible for race as a deciding factor. Obama is half white as well as half black. As a whiter than white person, I don't feel that race is relevant at all in his run. Maybe I'm idealistic or blind, but race, in this particular case, is irrelevant to me. But gender isn't. I feel like I should support a woman for President based solely on gender, but when it boils down to it, I find Edwards not only more likeable, but more in tune with what I feel is important in this election. His values are much more like mine.

I get more confused the older I get. It's almost an embarassment of riches having such a big selection of great candidates this year. I don't ever remember having so many people that I'd like to support. For once it's not the lesser of two evils. Obviously, I'm not alone. Record turnouts in first Iowa and then today in New Hampster show that people feel similarly to me. It's apparent that everyone wants a change, the keyword of this election season. What that means is that people can't wait to get rid of Bush and get the country back on track. Change, at least in this election season, equals positive growth and a chance to move forward out of the quagmire of the last horrible 8 years.

It gives me great faith in my country to see that people have stepped out of their complacency and realized that every vote DOES matter. We no longer will accept stupidity as good enough. We need this change, and for once Americans are looking beyond gender and race and facing the issues dead on. That makes me very very proud and hopeful for our future.

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Blogger Jendeis said...

My comment was getting way long, so I've decided to post about it. Shine on, you inspirational diamond!

Will post a link here when I'm done with my post.

9/1/08 9:10 AM  
Blogger Jendeis said...

OK, it's up. http://sellcrazysomeplaceelse.blogspot.com/2008/01/indecision-2008.html

9/1/08 9:30 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

This is a tough one. I'm still waffling between Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. And yes, the feminist in me says, "What?! There's a choice?!"

9/1/08 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Australia,

I'm sorry I don't have any comments on the candidates or the election process in the U.S. but I did want to mention a recent book that I bought from America, its called Taking on the big boys, by Ellen Bravo. Now that's an agenda that I can support both here and in the states. Have you seen it, and if so, what do you reckon??

best, Joannie

10/1/08 12:24 AM  
Blogger The Mater said...

Wow, here I am blogging about snow "people", and you're chewing on the harder stuff ... good for you.

I was a teenager when JFK came on the scene - his charisma and boyish looks captivated a nation. I remember the electric feeling in the air during that time and seeing him pass by perched atop the back of a convertible was better than Elvis (almost). He had "it". Obama seems to be moving in that direction. Yet Edwards speaks to my blue-collar roots and has fire in the belly.

Then there's Hillary. I rejoiced when I saw that she took the 40-plus female vote in NH. Something deep inside let out a little woot - my feminist roots. I think older women voters were forgotten by the pollsters and reporters, a dissed demographic. Ha! Don't diss a mature woman. I was proud of Hillary's grace under pressure and the surprise win! I went to her webpage to see what was spinning and found pages of "The Hillary I Know". Read some. I was impressed. People have been helped by her already quietly doing her job in politics; she seems to be a true public servant. Their testimonials gave credence to her emotional moment in the diner which may have turned the tide and galvanized the female vote.

I think each of the Dem contenders brings something good to the plate. But now I think I am leaning towards Hillary - it's a gal thing. Peace.

10/1/08 7:44 AM  
Anonymous another mom said...

Please don't take this as a mean or troll-y comment. After reading your post, I just had to say how funny it is that people can hold such diametrically opposing views. I think the REPUBLICANS have an outstanding selection of candidates (except Ron Paul, of course) and cannot stomach any of the Democrats, least of all Edwards. The thought of any of them winning fills me with dread.

Again, I am not trying to insult or spam you. Of course you're entitled to your opinion -and how lucky are we not to live in a totalitarian society where there are no choices. It's just funny that 2 people who are similar in certain ways- both women, both Jewish, both mothers- could have such totally different mindsets. I just found it interesting!

10/1/08 1:03 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

WOW, I got a comment from The Mater! I am so honored. I just love her.

And I agree, women of a 'certain age' have been disregarded. I think most of the candidates have carved out just who their demographics are, but not too many of them are remembering the baby boomer women. Too bad, because we're strong, we're opinionated, and we vote.

11/1/08 12:27 PM  

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