January 7, 2008
As an Obama supporter, I could have easily posted a congratulatory, celebratory entry on how exciting it was to see him win in Iowa. Of course, it would have been easy to say what the pundits were saying about his victory and his “thumping” of Hillary Clinton. I could have talked about a “dawn of a new day in America” as some have claimed with the Iowa caucus results shining a bright light on pluralism in our often monolithic national identity.
But I didn’t have anything to add — and in fact, didn’t want to overstate this victory. Instead, I hoped that it would bring some balance to the coverage of the campaign — get to the issues. Indeed, hope is so now. With perhaps the most diverse field of Presidential candidates for one of the major parties ever, hope is not just something Barack Obama can do.
Many women are hopeful that a certain wife of a certain very popular former President, will be anointed in her own right. And for good reason. She is a talented public official who has worked her entire life to make this country a better place. I haven’t always agreed with her, but have never doubted that the betterment of the nation was and still is her aim.
As someone who is not one of her supporters in the primary, it’s a slippery slope to being against her rather than for my candidate. But I won’t do that. Politicians — all of them — make calculated choices. Running a campaign is a strategic endeavor. It doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen solely from the heart. There is (hopefully…dear God, we hope) also a powerful mind (or two) behind a campaign. Hillary Clinton is a very accomplished woman who has risked much to aspire to the heights of running for President. As a woman, I am proud to see her in the field of candidates and a major one at that. And I am just as proud of my choice to not support her in the campaign and I think, though she would disagree with my reasons mightily, that she would be proud of my choice, too. Her reason for running and my reason for not supporting her collide in the same empowered woman universe. I have chosen not to support her because of positions she has taken in her earned position of power as a Senator.
But for those who choose not to support her because they want to place an impossible strait jacket on her — suspicious of every move she makes, but never flinching at the motives of her male counterparts, I cry foul. Showing up at rallies yelling “iron my shirt” or accusing her of manipulation when she chokes up answering a voter’s question while lauding the ability of male candidates to “show emotion” when they do the same has nothing to do with supporting your candidate. Rather, it is the same tired old tactic that keeps us electing the same old, white men to lead election after election.
So, Senator Clinton, know that not all women democrats are supporting you in the primaries, but a good number of us who aren’t admire your courage to run and condemn the double standards with which you (and we) are held. If you do go on to win the nomination, you will have my support 100%. We need a fellow donkey in that White House. Though you are not my first choice, you would still make one helluva leader of the free world.