Friday, June 6, 2008

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Dear Hillary,

So. What a year 2008 has been, huh? A black man and a woman, both vying for the Democratic nomination, why movies are made of stuff like this. And did you ever think in your life, during your years as dutiful First Lady and wife to Bill, that you'd be the one making history? But alas, after a long fight, in which you probably stayed in the race a little too long, you are finally expected to concede defeat and endorse Obama on Saturday. When you do, I hope that you will be at a peace of mind knowing that you fought a noble fight. Take the high road and don't be like me, bitter about the next 4 years, as it really can't be good for your health.

Life is going to be pretty rough for you in the coming weeks, as every single political commenter/blogger is going to analyze every single aspect of your campaign to figure out what you did wrong, where you lost momentum, and why you lost the Democratic nomination despite being the frontrunner early on. I hope you can take a mini-vacation or something (Puerto Rico perhaps???), before sitting down to think about your 'next steps.'

The truth is, the odds were always stacked against you, even when you were the frontrunner. The fact that you're a strong, smart woman with opinions and an agenda (and I use that word in the most positive way) makes you a bitch. You stand up for the things you believe in, and that makes you abrasive and un-feminine. Remember when you got all teary eyed the day before the New Hampshire primaries? That just made you too emotional and incapable of running the country, not to mention totally 'manipulative' for using waterworks to appeal to the sensitive voters. You know this better than me for sure, but we live in a world where it is just so darn hard for women to be in power, because double standards and labels keep us at bay time and time again.

You're also one half of a political powerhouse, best known as 'Billary.' As charming and intelligent as your husband is, he was always going to straddle that line between being your biggest cheerleader and the biggest political liability of your campaign. Because face it, you have as many passionate detractors as supporters, and so does your husband. Put you two together, and well, you're a pretty powerful but polarizing duo.

You've always been a politician, from your 8 years as a Junior Senator of New York, to your 8 years as the First Lady of the US, as well as your terms as First Lady of Arkansas. A pretty extensive resume, I would say, totally making you capable of making the big-time decisions that are going to affect the citizens of this country, as well as our standing with the rest of the world. That's a lot of experience that sadly falls short when compared to, oh, say, charm, talk, and pretty political packaging.

It just wasn't your time. It probably isn't ever going to be your time, honestly. This is how I felt when Michelle Kwan (one of the best figure skaters in the world ever) lost out on the gold medal at the Winter Olympics, twice, to two newer, less experienced skaters who got really lucky at the right time. In all fairness though, of course Tara Lipinski and Sarah Hughes were just as talented to win the gold medal. So as much as I don't particularly care for Obama, he has always been a formidable opponent. I will say, he really does believe that he can change the country, so good for him. And I say that without a hint of irony. I respect the passion he has lit in even the jaded of voters, and I wait for him to prove my suspicions about him wrong.

But I digress, this letter is about you. I can't even begin to tell you what it would've meant for women all over the country and the world to have a woman as President of the free world. And when I say things like that, I automatically get labeled as a hard-core feminist, which frankly is insulting to my intelligence. I don't support you because you're a woman or because you're a fellow Wellesley alum. I support you because of your platform, your ideas, your ambition, and your experience.

To me, you are the epitome of what it means to be a strong woman. No one wants to live their life in the glaring light of the media (unless your names are Paris, Lindsay, Heidi or Spencer), and you've handled yourself with grace despite being subject to countless and endless scrutiny and sexist remarks on everything from your looks, to your hair, to your laugh, to the way you talk. All I have to say on that matter is, if the same hateful racial remarks were made about your opponent, well, there would be hundreds of protests and debates about how un-progressive we've become since the civil rights movement. Everyone's so careful to tiptoe around the race card for sure, but the bitch card will always be whipped out and thrown down without a single thought. That makes me so sad.

I am going to conclude with this. You are the best candidate we have for President. I firmly stand by those words. I'm not excusing the mistakes that were made during your run for office, the sometimes-slimy and hardballing way you fought to prove your point or bring your opponent down. And let's not forget the embarrassing 'sniper-gate'. But I don't really think anyone can doubt that you were unfortunately caught in a media and political environment that was just too unwilling to forgive, too unwilling to let you be both a woman and a Presidential candidate, and too ready for you to make the next wrong move.

I can only hope that maybe one of the 'changes' Senator Obama talks of is to start the process of undoing the hundreds of years of misogyny women have endured. He's going to have to work to earn my respect, and for that to happen he (or even Senator McCain) will need to start instituting more policies that benefit women and families, as well as appointing more women in his administration as a public and much needed declaration of endorsing women in power. And perhaps by the time Chelsea decides to run (Chelsea Clinton, 2032!), the political and media landscape will be a much fairer place to her and to women everywhere. Now that is a change I wish to see.


Jorge said...

ok A)being first lady does not count for presidential experience. B)Hillary's campaign through the kitchen sink at Obama when they realized they were losing control of the situation C)How are we honestly going to say that there were sexist remarks about Hillary but no racist remarks towards Barack? I believe I remember Geraldine Ferraro saying that if Obama wasn't black he wouldn't do as well. Are you kidding me Geraldine? And Also if you had not noticed Rush Limbaugh is playing a song on the radio called "Obama the Magic Negro."

Let's be honest. Hillary didn't lose because of the media. She got out campaigned. I think she's a great candidate but it's a bit disheartening to see so many of her supporters be so bitter towards Barrack. If they want someone to blame, they should blame who ever was in charge of her campaign.

Lastly, experience is not some magic wand that guarantees superiority. Why not pick the oldest person in the Senate? Although it is an indicator, it is not by any means a guarantee of success.

In conclusion, I admire Hillary Clinton quite a bit myself. She has championed health care reform for many years. Over the years I came to respect her even more than Bill. I do believe that the passion many of her supporters is straining their perspective of the situation. If Barack does become president, I do believe Hillary Clinton merits a a position of high importance. Whether that is the VP or anything else worthy of her abilities I'm sure that she'll be awesome at it.

Jorge said...

sorry for writing so much!

Jorge said...

and aghhh i keep spelling his name wrong! BARACK! BARACK! ONE R!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Impressive letter. I do disagree on a number of points and don't quite see all the arguments made, but still... smart letter.

sang said...

so this is what i missed out on.... haha