I want to preface what I’m about to say by first saying I like Hillary. I mean, I like her more than any GOP candidate sans Rand Paul (who has dropped out). She has a list of social and political accomplishments that runs deeper than most, and an absurd amount of time spent int he public eye. From what I read it’s (correct me because I’m remembering) something like the second longest “public eye” tenure of all time. Pretty special. Truly, I know people who have worked on her past campaigns (some still do), and many others who have been personally touched by her or her family and have been encouraged by her personal and political perseverance. If I could have her over for dinner and a chat, I’m sure I would learn a great deal from her and have an amazing experience.
Ok. That said, I don’t want to vote for her if I don’t have to. I totally will if push comes to shove in a general election, but I’m just not high on her as the future president of this country. For MANY reasons, I’m just generally unimpressed. I have been since 2007 when she tried the first time to claim America’s highest political position (“people think if Obama is elected the skies will open and light will raindown… blah blah” – Hillary 08). Now I base everything I’m saying on either policy, past political decisions, and my general feeling for the good for the country going forward (call it an X-factor?”). So it should come to no surprise that I’m very excited about Bernie Sanders going forward. For reasons I’ll elaborate on later, he’s my guy. It’s a primary currently, and things can change, but I hope it all works out and he can represent our country for the next four to eight years. In the past, this would make me an informed voter with an opinion, but lately it makes me sexist, or so I’m being told.
It was probably a week before the Iowa Caucuses (which is literally grouping people up and doing a headcount to determine the future of the country, but whatevs) that anti-bernie rhetoric began to come out of larger media outlets. Expected fire as a presidential candidate, but what I noticed very quickly was that the tone was very different than other endorsements/attacks I’d seen in the past. It wasn’t so much of “she has a better plan going forward,” but more like “stop making fun of her because it’s sexist.” “You only don’t like her for reasons she can’t control.” “She’s doing the best she can, and she’s a BAMF, and you need to chill.” I mean these quotes were literally the theme of, or quoted from some of these blog entries and articles.
One of these articles that first caught my eye was one entitled “Bernie bros, stop this meme: Your dumb joke about Hillary’s music taste isn’t funny — it’s predictably sexist” Go ahead and go read it. The author says that there’s a meme (I think it’s hilarious, but I guess I’m sexist) that is unfair to Hillary because women’s taste/knowledge/authority in music has always been marginalized by men and that there’s societal pressure on women to capitulate in numerous ways regarding a variety of issues. Another article that went viral was one called “An All-Caps Explosion of Feelings Regarding the Liberal Backash Against Hillary Clinton” Honestly, much of the same, but much angrier and less music focused.
So let me take a step back for a second. As a black man, I remember the 2008 election feeling like it was bigger than electing a president. It was about making/changing the course of history. I was awoken by a phone call in the dead of night (I was living in France at the time) to alert me Obama had won and I watched the Chicago rally and cried. It was a moment I wouldn’t trade for the world. But looking back, although everybody got swept up in the ideas of hope and change, Obama’s skin color was a large part of that. To elect a black man president was the biggest sign that there will always be hope and that the country had already changed, regardless of what came next. It was irrational, sure, but not unimportant. Obama’s actual time in office would serve to remind us that there are political shackles and that sometimes change is slower than we like. But in my mind, just putting a coddamn black man in that seat was enough.
Why am I saying this? Because I feel like we have reached another point in our history where a new version of hope is being offered. The difference is that it’s being offered in completely different ways by two different candidates. Bernie Sanders is offering the promise of complete political reform and revolution, breaking up of the big banks, and defending of the “little guy.” Hillary Clinton is offering something much smaller politically — to continue where Obama left off, essentially — but larger socially: the opportunity to put a coddamn woman in that seat. This has created a problem.
It is my opinion that the idea of “putting a coddamn woman in that seat” has begun to blind some people to the issues at hand. When I say some people, I mean some feminists. I need to be clear that it is not all feminists. Just some. But a rowdy bunch who I’m sure advocate for and actively promote real change on the front of gender equality. Still, that voice is the one that drives articles like the ones I posted above. To quote the latter article: “SO, YES, I’M EMOTIONAL AND I’M YELLING. BECAUSE THIS IS FUCKING EMOTIONAL FOR ME. I WANT A FEMALE PRESIDENT AND I WANT PRESIDENT HILLARY CLINTON. I WANT BOTH OF THESE THINGS BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE I WANT WOMEN TO HAVE AN EQUAL FUCKING FAIR SHAKE. I’M SICK OF THIS STUPID BULLSHIT DISGUISED AS POLITICS, MASQUERADING AS POLITICAL OPINION.
SO FUCK EVERYTHING. I’M WITH HER.”
Girl. I hear you. But you wrong, sister. Hillary isn’t getting an unfair shake because she needs to keep her hair together and wear makeup while Bernie doesn’t (although I agree that’s BS). She’s not getting an unfair shake because of societal pressures on women to appear more youthful and in touch and smile (also BS). She’s not being asked to whip and nae nae because she’s a woman and she has to “play the fucking game” to get where she needs to (although I acknowledge that many women have to and, again BS). True liberals (not the independent, the confused, right wingers, or people don’t care either way and won’t vote) don’t like her policy compared to Sanders. I mean really. I know that sounds CRAZY. I know you think if she had the same stance as a man she wouldn’t even need defending, but it’s just not true.
One thing I found hilarious was that the first article I listed basically said that the meme was a sexist representation of how “female music journalists, fans and musicians themselves deal with these false and stupid assumptions all the time.” I’m actually pretty sure that women do face all those issues, but the meme has nothing to do with that. It has to do with Hillary playing the game TOO much. Pretending to enjoy youthful things that makes her look out of touch.
You say she has to play the game, feminist? I say no. I truly don’t think she does. Her pandering to the youth is a bit newer, but her changing of opinion on important issues is something that has followed her for LONG periods of time. Many people (regardless of their political affiliation) have seen this for years. Take the time to watch this:
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/105062617″>Elizabeth Warren on Hillary Clinton</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/moyersandcompany”>BillMoyers.com</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
In case you didn’t watch, Elizabeth Warren takes the time to explain Hillary in a nutshell. Hillary’s very smart. She cares. She understood how a certain bankruptcy bill would negatively affect families after Elizabeth explained it to her in the 90s. She took that info to Bill Clinton who vetoed the bill after it passed in the house and senate. She took credit for having brought it to his attention (as she should), then as senator of New York, voted in favor of the same bill due to political pressure and money from lobbyists/donors. The question is, in any other election cycle besides the last two or three would this be a problem? No. So why has it been lately? BECAUSE BERNIE SANDERS IS ATTACKING HER ON THOSE ISSUES EXACTLY AND PEOPLE ARE LISTENING (how’s my all caps game? strong. I know.)
Her problem is that Bernie has been on issue for decades. Do I agree with EVERYTHING the man says? No. I’ve never agreed with 100% of anyone else’s thoughts because my own life is specific and politics is a game of generalities (unless you’re super rich). But the man has been consistent AF. Like so consistent that it makes ANYONE who “plays the game” look bad. It’s just the man’s strength. Seriously, click that link. It’s kind of incredible how he’s never strayed from his message. Which, BTW, is one of many reasons the whole ‘bernie just says what you want to hear’ argument is trash — the man has always said the same thing. We just want to hear it now. It’s like he’s been wearing the same outfit for decades and that shit just came back in style. Hillary just simply can’t beat him in that arena. AND IT LOOKS BAD WHEN SHE TRIES. Don’t believe me? Watch this:
Further, does anyone remember that thing from a couple years ago? If only I could recall what it was called… Well anyway since I can’t- PSYCH IT WAS CALLED OCCUPY MFING WALL STREET. Yea, that. The point of all the marching, yelling, tear gassing, etc was not so that hippies could sleep on the steps of Goldman Sach’s. It was so that we could do our best to try to bring about change in that area. Bernie saw this as his clothes coming back in style. So boom, he threw on his pants of socio-economic justice and told us he’d like to be president. You think liberals aren’t going to love hearing that? You’re higher than the guy asleep on the steps on Goldman if so.
So what you see are people who want authenticity, wall street reform, income equality reduced, etc and then you have Hillary looking very hypocritical and even disingenuous at times when she claims to want the same thing. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. I mean really. It doesn’t. So many of the feminist articles go into how for her to be the first female president she will have to do all of those things and play the game to break through. I couldn’t disagree more. Know why? Because I WOULD VOTE FOR ELIZABETH WARREN IN A HEARTBEAT. WHY? BECAUSE SHE HAS NEVER FLIP FLOPPED OR TALKED DOWN TO HER VOTERS. I know a presidential run is different. It’s larger. It’s tougher. But Mrs. (Ms.?) Warren is like Bernie on the issues and has never (from what I’ve seen) been a political opportunist. She doesn’t have the authenticity problem. I can literally only name Bernie and Warren as politicians who have experience both in politics and staying on message.
Anyways, it’s not right to call those who support Bernie (or make fun of Hillary in a non sexist manner) “Bernie Bro’s” because many are women. Many are feminists. We aren’t sexist. We aren’t part of a larger problem. We just like another candidate more and for legitimate reasons. Most of us don’t mind your opinion either. That’s why we have a democracy, tho. Some of us aren’t into the idea of a “well-you-want-a-lot-of-things-that-just-aren’t-possible-so-just-vote-for-me-and-we-will-basically-do-what-we’re-doing-now” type of candidate. We just aren’t “settlers,” and it doesn’t mean we’re sexist.
Note: Excuse any errors as it’s late and I’m in Korea and my foot hurts. Valid excuses, all of them.