Sunday, March 02, 2008

Enough Already

I really, really, REALLY don't like to get into politics or other similarly touchy topics on this blog, but this is driving me nuts and I have to say something.

There seems to be a proliferation of stories and opinions concerning the current democratic presidential race that say things like this:

""They're running to the rock star, to the momentum, to the excitement...And I am worried that if Hillary doesn't get elected, I am never going to see a woman president in my lifetime. I do think her chances are slipping away, and it [ticks] me off."

I'll say it right off: I'm a feminist. I was raised to believe that just because I'm female, it didn't necessarily make me weaker or less valuable a person than a man. I read stuff like Ms. Magazine while in my teens and it helped to form the-arguably-strong woman I am today. The thing is, while I read all of the feminist literature I could get my hands on, due to the common sense that was also instilled in me by my parents, I never had the notion that I deserved something just BECAUSE I was a woman.

My issue with comments like the above, is that in almost every article I've read like that, they never make a mention of Clinton's stand on any issues. Not her voting record, nothing except her gender, and they all have the tone of "we want a president with a vagina, it doesn't matter WHO it belongs to".

At first I thought that opinion was held mainly by the old-school 2nd Wave feminists, the ones who fought so hard for abortion rights and equality in the workplace that, along the way, some of them became slightly blind to reality. It comes down to a matter of age and experience in some ways. Or so I thought until Tina Fey's "Bitch is the new black" rant on Saturday Night Live last week:

“Women have come so far as feminists that they don’t feel obligated to vote for a candidate just because she’s a woman. Women today feel perfectly free to vote for whoever Oprah tells them to.”

Completely ignoring the asinine Oprah dig, I'm a little baffled that the first comment could possibly be used as an insult. I thought for sure she was being sarcastic-it's Tina Fey for god's sake, she makes a living doing comedy. But the consensus seems to be that she was for real, and if she is, she dropped quite bit in my esteem. No one with any sense should feel obligated to vote for someone JUST BECAUSE they're a woman, or JUST BECAUSE they're black, or white or for any other ultimately shallow reason. How many people voted George W. Bush into office because he was the one they'd "rather have a beer with"?

Am I going to vote for Hillary Clinton? No. Is it because she's a woman? No. Do I want a woman president someday? Absolutely, if she's qualified. Do I think there are people out there that won't vote for her because she is? Of course I do, and those people are idiots, but equally idiotic are the ones who'd vote FOR her based only on that reason. I don't truly believe that Tina Fey or any of the others are voting for her based on the gender issue alone, but when they focus on that and ignore everything else they lose credibility and so does their candidate, and really, anyone else who would vote for her based on politics does as well.

I guess my point with all of this is that, this is the highest office a person in this country can hold. As we've learned this last go-round, they can make some life changing decisions for the rest of us, whether we like it or not. So for our own sakes, we have GOT to ignore the outer trappings of the candidates and focus on what they stand for, or we could very possibly be in some deep doo-doo in the next 4 years. So if you want to vote for Hillary Clinton, fine, that's your call. But if you do, make sure you do it for the right reasons. 'K?