Thursday, June 05, 2008

Post-Clinton, Not Post-Feminist

Maybe it’s finally over, this primary season that felt like a primary decade. Hillary’s out, thanks to New York’s Charlie Rangel. It’s on to Denver where Barak Obama will be officially nominated and then the end-game with Senator McCain.

What was it that made Obama the winner and Hillary the runner-up? According to the Hillary camp, it was that Obama’s supporters were not-so-subtle anti-feminists, afraid of the national emasculation that would come from a female Commander-in-Chief. But that explanation requires us to believe that Obama’s supporters, overwhelmingly better educated, more affluent, more liberal were somehow less enlightened than “the hard working Americans, white Americans,” who voted for Clinton. They were sexist, just not racist. It’s a preposterous explanation.

The truth is, Obama’s supporters were just tired of the same old tired choices. They wanted change, and change was not going to come with a third Clinton term. They were tired of the Monica jokes, the Ditto-heads, the choice that was no choice at all: just a sad replay of the late 1990’s. I remember dropping my son off at elementary school when he was in fourth grade. (He graduates from high school tomorrow—thank you, Jesus.) NPR droned in the background as we sat in the long line of cars burning one-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. My little boy looked at me quizzically. “Dad, what’s oral sex?”

I was stunned. “It’s-it’s, why do you want to know?”

“The guy on the radio says President Clinton has oral sex.”

It was his turn to get out. Before I could put the words into some appropriate response, he was out the door, Ninja Turtle backpack flapping behind him. I assume that he knows by now.

I don’t want a replay of the 1990’s. Neither did most of Obama’s other supporters. We want change.

Hillary Clinton was not defeated by a vast anti-feminist right-wing conspiracy. She was defeated by voters who made a choice to have a choice. It won’t be John McCain against his poker-playing, vodka-swilling, Senate buddy. It will be the future versus the past.

And even if John McCain defeats Barak Obama in November it won’t be because the Democrats and Independents who voted Democrat this time are anti-woman. It’s because they are anti-status quo. Pro-choice in the best sense of the term. If a majority of the American public agrees, we will get it.

Someday a woman will be the President of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton will not be that woman. We are not post-feminist. We are just post-Clinton.

2 comments:

John said...

Wonderful perspective on the whole issue.

Thanks

Anthony Palmer said...

Excellent commentary. Change is what this election is all about. Not experience. Not being able to fight. But about being able to change the way things are done.