Thursday, January 10, 2008

United we stand, divided we fall...

Here is an interesting perspective on feminist support for Hillary Clinton. My reaction is that it is interesting that Barack Obama is not expected, by the African-American community, to run as a "black man" but rather just as a man (interestingly Obama has been reviled for not being black enough, an interesting response to the son of a Kenyan foreign exchange student). I wonder why we place emphasis on the difference between race and gender. Obama has refused to play the race card and therefore isn't castigated for not talking about "black issues". Whereas the Clinton campaign is all about the feminist/gender issues and uses it quite effectively. In that respect I agree with this assessment of Clinton and her run for President.

We do have sexism issues to grapple with, but "traditional feminism" is confrontational, whereas traditional civil rights advocated are hopeful. Gloria Steinum is about what she never got and should have but was denied because of her gender. Martin Luther King Jr. was about what was possible, what we could overcome if we could come together and make it happen as one. One approach brings together and one divides. As I have said in baby-boomers view change and conflict in terms of “us against them.” This is probably born from watch Martin Luther King die for wanting to bring us together. That type of scar doesn’t heal easily. Though to hear Hillary Clinton give LBJ credit for that change is LAUGHABLE! LBJ was the man in the chair when everything came to a head. To his credit, he had the courage to sign the Civil Rights Act even though he knew it would doom his Party in the south for a generation. Well, guess what. The generation is just about up and Barack Obama’s voice is about bringing people together.

Hillary Clinton gives good lip service to bringing people together, but if the last Clinton administration (which she professes to have been a large part of) is any indication, her record indicates that she is a divider. The Clintons are divisive. In 2000 Americans voted for a “’uniter’ not a ‘divider’.” I think we did that because the previous 8 years had torn us apart. Partisanship of ideas is a good thing; it is what our founders envisioned. Debating ideas is as American as apple pie! Partisanship of ideology is fanaticism and it runs against the grain of what we stand for in this country.

The seven years since the end of the Bill Clinton era have proven that we have to be much more skeptical of people who tell us that they want to bring us together because the Bush administration has been more divisive than Clinton’s (and I didn’t think that was possible). False hope is what the Clintons tell us to fear. I for one am tired of fear and those who exploit it to get power. I am tired of people who divide us into groups (liberal and conservative, rich and poor, black and white, man and woman, minority and majority, Christian and not), who exploit differences to gain power from some at the expense of others. Differences exist, but I refuse to see the world in myopic “this or that” terms. The world is far more complex. Diversity of ideas is a good thing. We need Gloria Steinum as much as we needed Martin Luther King. We need neo-conservatives as much as we need pacifists. We need Christians as much as we need atheists. But inside all of that we need respect for difference of opinion, and there is far too little of that on either side right now. Respect for differences; isn’t that what feminism and civil rights is all about?

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