Yes, I’m back from vacation and I’m all fired up again about the democratic primary. I pretty much avoided watching the news all week, just trying to stay current with the natural disasters in Myanmar and China, equal marriage legislation in California, and the weather forecast for Cape Cod. But yesterday I had a lot of time to read the newspapers , and I’m really starting to get annoyed (again) at the way Hillary Clinton is being treated by the Democratic Party.
Here’s the thing: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are very close in this contest in both total votes and delegates. Yes, she’s behind. But she’s close. Very close. In fact, after winning several early large contests with his stadium style rhetoric, Obama hasn’t continued his pace, but has instead basically maintained the same lead, not really gaining much more.
So why should she drop out? It’s not unprecedented that a candidate should take this contest all the way to the convention. In fact, one of Obama’s earliest supporters, Sen. Ted Kennedy, did just this in 1980, when he tried to get Jimmy Carter’s delegates released at the convention in Madison Square Garden so that he (Kennedy) would get the nomination.
No, what’s unprecedented is that this time it’s a woman who is challenging the authority. So when Hillary Clinton stands up and says “I’m in this for everyone who’s ever been down and kept fighting,” it rings true for every woman who has ever worked hard only to be shut out. Oh, it’s usually quite subtle, the shutting out. When I was a kid, we didn’t have organized sports for girls, so for this tomboy it just became “sorry, you can’t play.” In the working world it’s much more subtle, with women simply not being considered for certain opportunities, and then being offered less salary for the same positions.
And before you say, “yeah, and see what happened in 1980 — we elected Ronald Reagan!” Please remember our state of affairs in 1980. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter had horrible approval ratings, inflation was through the roof, hostages had been taken in Iran, and along came the Hollywood Actor Playing the Part of President, Ronald Reagan.
Add to this the fact that Kennedy never really supported Carter once he became the presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton has vowed many times to support the democratic candidate for president, whomever it may be.
Hillary Clinton is an incredibly smart and dedicated woman. She has worked diligently to be where she is today. She deserves a fair shot at the presidential nomination. To suggest she simply “drop out” because she’s behind is to diminish all that she has done, and to diminish how far we have come as women in American society. If you doubt that she has done more than Barack Obama and has the more substantive knowledge of politics and world affairs, please read the front page story from yesterday’s New York Times, The Story of Obama, Written by Obama, which examines the story behind his two best-selling books. The books deserve a close look, because that’s just about all we have to go by if we want to understand who Obama is. Unfortunately, in his effort to tell a good story Obama uses devices such as composite characters and changing the chronology of events to better suit the story.
“The book is so literary,” said Arnold Rampersad, a professor of English at Stanford University who teaches autobiography and is the author of a recent biography of Ralph Ellison. “It is so full of clever tricks — inventions for literary effect — that I was taken aback, even astonished. But make no mistake, these are simply the tricks that art trades in, and out of these tricks is supposed to come our realization of truth.”
It has worked out well for the Junior Senator from Illinois.
“Barack is worth millions now,” Mr. Osnos said. “It’s almost all based on these two books, two books not based on a job of prodigious research or risking one’s life as a reporter in Iraq. He has written about himself. Being able to take your own life story and turn it into this incredibly lucrative franchise, it’s a stunning fact.”
I’m sorry if you think she’s being “divisive” and not working for “the good of the party.” He’s only ahead by a small margin, and he’s not the better candidate. I’ve spent my entire life watching my mother put the needs and wants of others before her own. Just once I’d like to see her take the last brownie on the plate. But she won’t. We won’t. Because women are taught to compromise and to take care of others.
Take the brownie, Hillary. You deserve it.