I was talking to someone a while back about progressive candidates — past, present and future.
“Did you vote for Obama just because he’s black?” I asked my very progressive African-American friend. Well, of course she did. And it’s not like she voted for Ben Carson or Herman Cain. Obama represented a milestone to this African-American woman even though she didn’t endorse a number of his policies.
Is that it any different than me asking my daughter, “you’ll vote for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman?” She’s not voting for Hillary exclusively because of gender but it certainly plays a huge role.
As you may have guessed, I am not a woman. Try as I may, I will never totally comprehend the gender issues that are so vital to my daughter or the importance of women in leadership roles, any more than I’ll understand what it’s like being a person of color.
My daughter and I – stepdaughter actually, although we go back many decades – got into a rather heated discussion as to the merits of Sens. Clinton and Sanders, and the upcoming Presidential election.
Although she can be even more progressive than I am on numerous issues, she is supporting Clinton while I continue to support Sanders.
Part of it goes to electability – she just doesn’t believe that there’s any way Sanders can get elected in the good ol’ U.S. of A. She also believes that Hillary will be more adept at working with Congress to accomplish progressive legislation.
But it goes much deeper than that. There are issues I will never fully fathom because I will never experience them: the discrimination against women in so many arenas or the attacks on their reproductive rights. Finally, although it happens on rare occasions to men, I’m not too worried about being sexually harassed, sexually assaulted or raped.
And where does the support and mentoring of women, for the most part, come from? Other women. (It’s not called “Bob’s List,” is it?) Women tend to cooperate instead of compete, at least on the left side of the spectrum.
She is the mother of two boys but you know that if she had a daughter she would never accept any barriers to her daughter’s success, and those barriers are still out there. Also, as a mother, gun violence is an important issue to her (even more so than to me, if you can believe that). Hillary is certainly stronger than Bernie on the matter of gun legislation. Another issue is reparations to African-Americans for years of slavery, Jim Crow, separate but equal — discrimination in general — that Hillary and my daughter support but Bernie does not.
Bernie does not inspire my daughter. He appears to her as an old, strident, white guy. She supports his message on mitigating income inequality, on reigning in Wall Street excesses, on single-payer health care but doesn’t believe he can accomplish those goals.
I’m still backing Bernie – I wish he’d flesh out his platform more than the usual platitudes – and I don’t subscribe to all my daughter’s arguments supporting Hillary. But the conversation with my daughter has given me insights that I didn’t have before.
(One thing we definitely agreed on was that Sen. Elizabeth Warren would be a great candidate to get behind. But she’s not running.)
I’m not good at keeping my mouth shut and it’s gotten me in trouble with some of my good, progressive, female friends. Please forgive me for my sometimes snarky comments on Hillary’s campaign.
My daughter has enlightened me and I will certainly not disparage any woman, again, for supporting Hillary Clinton.