Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have a long way to go. . .

. . .before we’re ready for a female President. Part I.

I’ve heard a lot of praise for Obama being elected as the first black President. I see a bit of irony, or maybe it’s injustice, at the fact that people are happy and relieved that Sarah Palin did not become the Vice President. If Obama had lost, it would not have been acceptable for anyone to be happy or relieved. I imagine the majority would be saddened that a black man came so close, almost got there and would be proud he got so far.

Conversely, if McCain/Palin won, would there be women celebrating in the streets? Would there be women crying that we finally have made it, at least as the Vice President? Would party walls be dropped temporarily so everyone could celebrate the historic milestone? Would articles be written about how little girls could finally aspire to be in the White House and therefore, women really can do everything men can? I don’t think any of that would have happened.

I haven’t heard anyone lamenting that the female candidate lost. No one is praising that she got so far or saying we should be proud and persevere to get to the top next time.

When Palin was picked there was a public outcry that McCain was merely pandering to women. I heard many women proclaim with righteous indignation that they would NOT be fooled by this obvious attempt to get the female vote. “Women don’t vote for women just because they’re women.” But somehow it is acceptable that a higher black turnout was expected for Obama. Those women did not stop to think that maybe she was picked because of her qualifications. There are a large number of people who continue to deny her qualifications with their index fingers stuck in their ears screaming “la, la, la, la, I’m not listening, Palin is dumb, la, la, la.” They would have been more comfortable with a man.

When Hillary had the chance to win the Democratic nomination, I was breathless with excitement. Even though I disagree with her completely, I was amazed at her strength, determination and guts to run for President. If she had won, it would have been amazing. A woman with a very long political career fighting her way to the top through many obstacles, earning the respect of her colleagues and the American public to win the nomination for President of the United States. She could have picked her running mate. If she won, she would have picked her Cabinet. It gives me chills, really, to think about what might have been. I’m not ashamed to admit that I really would have been truly happy for her and loved to see it happen.

I think Hillary was cheated by her own party. A party that would rather nominate a freshman Senator, with a very short career and shady history was more preferable because why? Was it because he was a man? And despite her very long career, leadership and dedication they weren’t comfortable nominating her; they would rather have. . .who exactly? Just someone who is not Hillary, no matter what his credentials are. After everything the Clintons have done for their party to see them be turned on like that was shocking to say the least.

I'm not saying people should vote for them just because they're women, quite the contrary. I see two highly qualified candidates who got passed over because they were women. Two candidates who would have succeeded if they were men. It says a lot about our society when we pass over these two individuals and instead opt for a man with significantly less experience and accomplishments.

What happened to the two significant female candidates in this election leaves me greatly disappointed. The way the public is ignoring how far these women came, and how close they were to the President/VP is disheartening, but par for the course on society's treatment of women today.

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