Stop the vagina monologues! Gender was not the reason Sen. Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic presidential nominee. Simply, Clinton was not the best nominee for our country at this time. Still, Hillary Rodham Clinton's gender, the fact that she was a woman running for president, was the best show of unapologetic resolve, ambition, and yes, ruthlessness, demonstrated in a woman going for the highest office in the land in America, ever! I have always been for Obama, but I do recognize the historical force of Hillary.
Clinton built her campaign on entitlement, not feminism. As we all know regarding the black struggle in America, entitlement does not sit well with the majority of Americans, as it smacks of something-for-nothing regardless of truth and history. She is not entitled to win the nomination nor to become the first woman president simply because she slept in the White House and was privy to White House business. She was a good candidate, but she was not the best candidate.
Sen. Clinton made the critical mistake of running a campaign forged from the political manifesto of Bill Clinton. In a very real sense, Hillary, an ephemeral vanguard of feminism, did not define herself fully outside of the boundaries and shadows of being the former first lady and the cheated-upon spouse of Bill. She allowed herself to be merely a familiar reflection of Clintonism. The "new kids" of the younger voting demographic were not impressed. Some women and older feminists who ascribed their feminism and their feminist ideals to Hillary overlooked her flaws in the fervor to make her the first woman president. Is this the new feminism? Yet, when Hillary dared to be herself, she was frightening and not entirely likable! What was with her subliminal (and not so) call for a "hit" on Obama in March and recently with her referencing Bobby Kennedy's June assassination?!
Hillary embraced feminism. Yet, with closer observation, she essentially used women and gender when it suited her presidential aspirations and campaign (like any good politician). Would a real feminist have voted for the Iraq war? While intellectually she is for the empowerment of women and women's rights, her campaign was not feminist or strictly for feminism, nor should it be.
Without a doubt, President Bill Clinton, in his day, was a brilliant political strategist. He is clever, polished and possesses the political currency of being likable. In his day, his skills were admirable and his Teflon style quite necessary in dealing with vengeful Republicans. Yet, what was slick in the '90s appears greasy in this new atmosphere and age of political campaigning. Especially with the new generation of voters. Especially as Sen. Clinton executed some of the same maneuvers.
Hillary Clinton, with the aura of entitlement all about her, dissed us, the public, and some of her loyal women voters. You see, Sen. Clinton assumed that the possession of a vagina was nine-tenths of this presidency.
Perhaps she would have been correct, had not Barack Obama, in all his righteousness, freshness and inspiring hopefulness, not come along. The brightness of Obama's aura (ironically, a black man) illuminated brightly the flaws and failings of the Clinton political machine. The Clintons (and McCain) looked old, passe and disgruntled.
Howard Sackler, who wrote the play The Great White Hope, stated the following about his play which, if we use poetic license and substitute the term "woman" and the overarching theme of sexism as opposed to racism, becomes Sen. Clinton's story: "What interested me was not the topicality but the combination of circumstances, the destiny of man pitted against society. It's a metaphor of struggle between man and the outside world."
Talk about not getting the signals correct between generations. On May 20, 2008, Geraldine Ferraro was a guest on The Today Show, with Meredith Viera attempting to conduct an interview yet giving surrogate Ferraro a platform to spew Clinton's campaign rhetoric. The other guest, Rachel Maddow (who barely got to speak), represented the type of young voter who sides with Obama. The schism between the Clinton demographic and Obama's could not have been made clearer (especially since the interview became a YouTube moment). Ferraro spoke of Obama's alleged disrespect for Hillary Clinton with his supposed dismissive "brush of the shoulders" gesture. Maddow stated she did not see the gesture as dismissive but a type of cool hip-hop mannerism. Ferraro pressed on with some other alleged sexist slight at which point Maddow looked at Ferraro as if she were from another planet.
Clinton and Ferraro fought with old methods and old political ammunition. The support that Clinton marshaled did not allow that perhaps she is not the best person for the job. They just want her to get the job because she is a woman! That type of myopic thinking and voting is not fair to all women or to our country. These women state, "It's our time!" As a woman, I beg to differ. Clearly, these times are fertile for a woman to be president. But not this woman.
Anais Nin once wrote, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." For this campaign, Hillary needed to have the courage to expose herself and not conceal who and what she is behind the shroud of her husband. Not to diminish her accomplishments because it takes courage to run for president. Yet, it takes less courage when you may think your ascendancy is guaranteed.
When you really examine it, Hillary at times used gender as a means to an end. She used the power of pussy (much as her husband did) to amass her constituency. She pushed some deceit, a chameleon-like attitude, and the lame attempt to be what we and the country need her to be at any given moment. That is not the quality of leadership. It is unfortunate that some women who so desperately (and righteously) want to see sexism, gender-pay disparities and other social slights addressed, have laid their collective burdens and hopes upon the shoulders of Hillary. It is unfortunate that the surrogate Geraldine Ferraro with her pitbull divisive politics represented exactly what is wrong with the Clinton campaign, a methodology that is passe.