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Senator HRC

Posted by pocochina on May 9, 2007

This one (had been) cooking for a while.

At first, I was a skeptic of Senator Clinton’s bid for president.  “Oh, I just don’t know yet, it would be wrong to support a candidate just because she’s a woman, John Edwards has a great position on poverty, that Senator Obama’s just such a cool guy, blah blah fucking blah.”

Not anymore.  Fuck that.  I care less and less what she does and says anymore.  I support her.  I can’t wait for the primaries to vote for her.  I want a “Hillary is my homegirl” t-shirt and I want it in, like, eight colors so I can wear it every day and not do laundry.

That’s not to say I’m not thrilled by all the other Democratic candidates.  They make me a little more pround to be an American and a Democrat.  Except for Biden, who’s shaping up to be a total tool (but even then, he spearheaded VAWA, he may be a tool, but in the interest of my party, yes, he is our total tool), I have absolutely zero reservations about voting for any of them.  I think that Senator Obama is incredibly intelligent, that Governor Richardson has the crucial experience in foreign affairs, that Senatof Gravel has a case of liberal rage to match my own.

But Hillary is so my homegirl.

I’d love to live in a world where I could judge Senator Clinton as any other candidate.  But she’s not.  She just isn’t.

Popular statements among Hillary-haters include:

“But it’s SO UNFAIR!  She’s married to a former president!  It’s just NOT FAIR!  WAAAAAH!”

No.  It’s not fair.   She’s taken an incredible amount of crap for a difficult marriage.  Yes, she gets the name recognition – that all of the candidates now have.  Yes, she has the support of a bright politician and an excellent fundraiser.  Guess what, he had her support and brilliance fifteen years ago.  And she didn’t gain her intellect, her education, or her political experience because of her marriage.  My personal favorite (by which I mean, the one that makes me want to crack some fucking skulls) is the jackass comparison some people make, saying that the Bushes are related, so obviously she will be the dismal failure that the current president has been, simply by virtue of having an ex-president in her immediate family.  She’s a lightning rod.  At this point, she’s leading in spite of her name recognition, not because of it.  And what if she gave it up and started to go by Senator Rodham?  Much as Lucy Stoners warm my feminist little heart, it would turn into an accusation of trying to run from her husband, distance herself from her past, somehow be construed as pandering.  Huh, a double-edged sword used against a successful woman.  How very strange, how very something that doesn’t happen every fucking day.

Or, conversely:  “CLINTON!  BLOW JOBS!  Fetch me my smelling salts!”  (Generally heard on the O’Reilly Factor, and among segments of the population who enjoy his No-Fact Zone.

I’m not going to dive into the morass of the classist, irrational, foaming-at-the-piehole crazy that is the right-wing loathing of President Clinton.  He’s not one of them, he dared to beat them, and even in being caught in the throes of Gingrichian infidelity, they couldn’t take him down.  But it does illustrate exactly why the fact that she’s married to a former president isn’t necessarily a strike in her favor.

Listen up, assholes.  It is ABSOLUTELY MISOGYNIST to judge a woman based on her marriage.  It implies that her “unequal romantic partner” status is more important than her accomplishments, her humanity, or anything else about her.  And while we’re at it, cretins:  She’s not him.  Yes, they are intelligent, similarly educated politicians in the same political party who share a life.  They will be similar.  But they are not the same.  And I can’t help but feel that in a parallel universe where she’d never married Bill, she’d have run on her own, or put her considerable skill to work getting another badass woman elected.

Notice how that particular point counters both of the above ad feminam attacks.  Funny, that.

“But she has SO MUCH MONEY!  It’s NOT FAIR!”

So?  People like her.  Yes, she has major donations from corporations – they’re donating to everyone else, too.  It takes money to run a campaign, folks.

And while we’re at it:  “But – but – but – WAL-MART!!!”

Yes.  She is on the board of Wal-Mart.  And, as she said in the Democratic debate, it’s a mixed blessing.  Wal-Mart sucks on a lot of levels.  It’s true.  They also make it possible for a lot of people in the lower-middle-class and the working poor – numbers swollen by the nutcase Bush Administration – to have some sort of acceptable standard of living.  And change in Wal-Mart isn’t going to come from a boycott, folks.  There’s too many people that literally cannot afford to stop shopping at Wal-Mart, and it’s completely unfair to expect them to, and completely stupid to expect that self-righteously refraining from shopping there will help.  (Even if I am myself one of those aforementioned self-righteous “I don’t even know where my local Wal-Mart is” -ers, I thoroughly respect that, well, it’s how some people get by, and it’s middle-class privilege that lets me stand by this particular conviction.)  If that particular corporation is going to change for the good, it can do an awful lot of good, and it has to happen from the inside.

The major sticking point, for a lot of people, is her vote to authorize the Iraq war.  A mistake.  A huge fucking mistake.  But ya know what?  She was lied to.  The Senate was straight-up lied to, and she’s pissed, rightfully.  Yes, it was easy for those of us without responsibility for national security to say, well, she should have just magically known, but the fact is, the CIA and Bush Administration lied and she went off their lies.  It’s like asking someone to jump off your roof ’cause there’s a trampoline, so it’s safer on the ground, but not telling them that well, you actually made up that trampoline, and the roof isn’t really that high up.  You think her first week in office she won’t fire all the political lackeys who have smeared the name of our intelligence services and replace them with the most badass just-the-facts-ma’am jarheads on the block?  The ones who should’ve been running shit all along?  You think that, and you’re an idiot.

I’m not judging Senator Clinton simply by what she’s not.  I agree with what I understand of her philosophy on foreign affairs.  She’s a supporter of labor, of affirmative action, of LGBTQ equality, of a woman’s right to choose.  She’ll choose federal judges not based on cronyism, but based on her sound legal judgement – I’m assuming it’s sound, since, you know, she went to Yale Law and all.

Yeah, I’d love to see her be braver about those particular progressive stances, but shit.  In this backlash-era politcal environment, she can’t be.  And yes, she’s pandered a bit on flag-burning and video games.  Why pander on issues so cosmetic, on stances that will never pass/don’t matter?  Well, because they’re cosmetic, and she knows it.

And yes, she the one woman in a nearly-twenty-strong pool of contenders in the two major parties.  That means every criticism levied at her, every word spoken in the political and mass media forums about the 2008 race, is loaded with the fact that we live in a fucking patriarchy.  She is the first woman to truly have a strong shot at the presidency, and that scares the holy crap out of the male privilege dependents out there, who have an awful lot of power.  It’s inherently unfair, and she is more than rising to the challenge.

So, yes.  Hillary is my homegirl.

(I’m aware that a lot of what I’ve said about Senator Clinton also applies to Senator Obama – and again, this isn’t a smear on him, I think he’s a dream come true, too – but he is at least getting recognition from most rational people that yeah, it totally sucks to be first truly politically strong African-American contender for the Presidency.  He also hasn’t shown, I don’t think, the level of political shrewdness that she has.  It doesn’t mean he won’t, or that another candidate won’t distinguish himself to me in the next year.)

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