Battle Notes from the Ramparts of Sisterhood
Secretary Hillary Clinton blamed herself, misogyny, and Russia-plus-Putin’s hacking (a week ago) for the loss of the presidential campaign. The problem is much larger, and Americans are making a gargantuan, macro-level mistake in the manner that we perceive the issue of inequality. The issue is this: the People of The United States of America are using individual ‘perfection’ as a mechanism to balance ‘access’.
The question isn’t so much why Trump beat Clinton, so much as why Barack Obama could win — and Hillary … could not. President Obama, whom I admire and would hope and endeavor to emulate, was as close to a perfect candidate (for whom any consultant would hope to be employed). President Obama is smart, educated, scandal-free, charismatic, fast-witted, savvy, articulate, fit, funny, qualified and approachable. The only alleged downside to Obama was that a large subset of America harbors anti-African American sentiments.
President Obama also has a brilliant wife in Michelle, who likewise has all of these qualities — but she endured more criticism for her shape and her assertions, on top of her race. This dynamic partnership of intellectual equals made possible the historic presidency of Barack Obama.
If you take the formerly recognized law that an African American man is ⅔ of a white man, we’ll remember that America has a long history of dealing in fractions. By this rationale, we can solve such a problem algebraically.
X over 100 = Trump over Obama … and THAT is the racism coefficient of the US. Basically, you take the lowest of the low in a community that is not disenfranchised — score them — and divide their score by the last disenfranchised individual to hold that office’s score. If we assign a score to all the things by which we evaluate a candidate, we can solve for x — and that is the amount that a marginalized candidate will need to overcome, to win. Obama was ‘a perfect ten’ in all criterion, but unfortunately, Hillary Clinton had additional ‘lady-related’ criteria …
Let’s take Michelle: she was criticized for her sleeveless dresses, her shape, her hair – things for which Barack Obama was not judged. Mathematically, this implies that Barack versus (yack) ‘the Donald’ is an apples-to-apples comparison — or rather, a man-to-man comparison. This implies that even more points are deducted for ‘femininity’. This could be ‘the sexism coefficient’.
I suspect that Hillary just wasn’t able to bridge ‘the sexism coefficient’. Sure, her campaign had problems — but when you take into account the fact that Donald Trump isn’t exactly, er, scandal-free, nor nearly as educated and informed as HRC, nor particularly charismatic, it is easy to say that there is some kind of ‘quotient’ at play, here.
Oh, the sexism quotient… Oh, the places you WON’T go, Dr. Seuss-ette …
In all this, I find myself particularly grumbly, right now — another shocker. I find myself grumbling, because, rather than acknowledging that this is not yet a fully defined but recognizable metric, each party is just trying to say that the other party is full of sexist pigs in an attempt to half-heartedly court women voters. Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump may be the winners for the time being — the spotlighted sexist juggernauts of the now. Sure, the Dems elect more women, and we promote ‘choice’ and all of that, but does this truly mean we actually have a higher rate of respect? I am not so sure …
Piggies-going-to-market have no party affiliation.
I am a Democrat. I have worked amidst Dems, but also in close quarters with Republicans, some of whom I’ll go out for beers with and we goad each other about how soulful we are — or not. Once upon a time, I worked at a political consulting firm that was partially owned by a non-partisan government relations firm – silent partners. One partner was a Republican and one was a Democrat. The Republican was aggressive — a criminal defense attorney of death — who drove me bananas at first, but who respected my competence. The Dem — well, he wrote a book about how to get a man that involved ‘shaving’, ‘not talking too much’, etc. This was an interesting dynamic for me to observe: the Dem voted pro-women, but advised women to objectify themselves, whereas the Republican helped elect people who disenfranchised women – probably without thinking about it — but was perfectly amiable to me, hang-able with-able, even. Long story short, a man who respects women can vote outside of their interests, and a man who doesn’t can vote with women.
I eventually left that firm to find my footing in NJ. I wanted to work where I lived, as any bleeding -hearted true believer would. Searching for work, I sought out a few informational interviews. One consultant tried to leverage his capacity to make me successful by saying that I would have to allow him to help me with my – quotes – “lack of boyfriend problem” (as if that’s really a problem).
But this relates to the notion of ‘perfection’. In this weird, weird period, I find myself thinking “…but whistleblowers are NOT treated well.” I never shy away from a tense situation; ask anyone who opts not to talk to me anymore. I don’t sit comfortably in complacency — but what purpose was each potential course of action serving? Is a ‘perfect woman’ one who tells? One who quietly sues? One who slides under doors? One who destroys their own career so that perhaps another woman can thrive? What is a woman to do, when the ramifications for any behavior outside of complacency is subject to such scrutiny?
Secretary Clinton was a woman of action, as Secretary of State. She did her job, one that required action — but everything she ever did and still does is hyper-scrutinized.
I empathize. I am a quasi-expert on a few things. I’ve done the time to say this. It’s just a fact, and not a brag. (Read: Girl apologies for acknowledgement of one’s own accomplishments). I have had instances where I simply stated that something might be illegal (or less than legal) or is clearly unethical. I would need to rinse and then repeat what I was saying. I would be asked to write a cited memo, which no one would ever seem to read — then rinse and repeat the whole frustrating process. I can’t imagine all the rinsing and repeating that Secretary Clinton must have endured. And weren’t we all at the edges of our seats thinking about her smile in his face, what she could have changed, while we cheered on Biden for saying he wanted to take that guy outside?
Which brings me to Captain Date Rape – a Democrat, elected in NJ, who earned this nickname by making jokes about how he was going to get me drunk, or by dumping vodka into my water. Hilaaaaaaaaaaaarious (and no, I have never said this to his face… it just makes me feel better to think it). It reminds me of all his cohorts and their rape-adjacent behavior. Perhaps the obviously calculable coefficient should not be to be more inclusive, but rather more exclusive. In other words, raise the damn standard of conduct for everyone. There is room for growth, for sure.
We use sexual harassing, low-brow behavior as a political tool, as if one party was more guilty than the other — and HRC’s recent misogyny play statement is a brush off. Lest we forget, our greatest hits are impropriety. In the interest of saving time, I will start with when I started watching the news with my feminist papa: 1989.
– Buz Lukens – R/OH – Pedophile with a 16 year old girl 1989
–Gus Savage – D/IL – accused of raping a Peace Corps Member in Zaire in 1989… nothing happened after he apologized.
… 1989 was quite a year
–Buz Lukens AGAIN in 1990 for inappropriately propositioning an elevator operator in Washington.
–Robert Packwood – R/OR -1995 – 29 women came forward against him for harassment, abuse and assault. He denied it all vehemently, BUT HIS JOURNAL detailed his “conquests”
Dear Diary, today I saw this girl minding her own business and I simply couldn’t allow that…
-The Clinton Scandal wasn’t just Clinton, but the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ bad behavior fiesta of the 20th century included several Republicans who lost office by being hypocrites calling for impeachment. Dems weren’t so good either. Suffice to say, this is why I limit my attention to NON-consenting cases. Anyway, this was like the McCarthyism of philanderers. It was ridiculous, and a huge waste of taxpayer money; D’s and R’s alike. One mistress, however, turned up dead. Chandra Levy? Remember her?
–STROM THURMOND – R/SC -a noted segregationist with an … African American child? 2003
–Tim Mahoney D/FL – Hired and Fired his Mistress as she “worked at his pleasure” 2008
-One word – Weinergate – Democrats
–Denny Hastert – R/IL In a sentencing hearing in 2015, Hastert admitted to abusing small boys as a wrestling coach
And Finally …
-Donald Trump – R/Present – accused of sexual assault in 2016.
I gotta say. When I read the post-mortems on these (primarily affluent white male) scenarios, I think about how LOW the bar was, for these guys. How many better women were there? or every other competent person that we’ve passed over? who we’ve discounted simply due to their race, gender or their account balance? The calculations of equality are more about raising the bar for the numerator rather than the denominator. Vetting earlier rather than later… The fact is that we can parse out exactly what Hillary Clinton did wrong, but at the end of the day, her imperfect campaign was better-run than Trump’s. No one changed his Twitter password. No one said that the “Make Mexico Great Again” hat was a mistake. No one managed their candidate well enough to keep him from mocking the disabled. It was about that ‘she’ was a woman. It was the gender coefficient.
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