Monday, May 26, 2008

Clinton and Feminism

There is quite a bit raucous going on about this issue. The meme is Clinton lost because basically Americans are not ready to see a woman as President and many liberals are in the end male chauvinistic pigs that look, contrary to their liberal responsibilities, to other side when MSM attacks on Clinton are sexist attacks.

Post-Global liberalism of Zakaria variety has out grown Feminism. Every enlightened individual is fighting differing political struggles for variety of oppressed types. Today’s liberal politics cannot be simply tied to one single fight – fight of gender equality. It is one of the many struggles and it so happens that a member of ‘post-global’ world would identify one or some such struggles; quite probably not all at the same time. This means those we are working or whose world view is predominantly defined by Feminism would take the responsibility of fighting sexist attacks in MSM. Media coverage of Clinton campaign could be one such manifestation, but in general such things are only marginal factors while winnowing down political leadership of Democratic Party.

Hence, the arrogance of Geraldine Ferraro to define every liberal political discourse exclusively in terms of Feminism is outdated and useless. Obama and his campaign have been wise enough in not making racism as the single most defining issue of the campaign. We got to understand that the totality of political discourse is far larger than narrow minded definitions of feminism or racism. Let us face it, if tomorrow racism goes away, will there be peace in the world? That does not address the hideous violence against immigrants in South Africa. Will it reduce gas price below $4 per gallon? Will it address America’s health care crisis? Nope. Similarly, the fight with Bin Laden is completely orthogonal to racism and feminism. In short, the canvass for leadership is far broader and deeper than one dimensional issues like feminism or racism and the leadership of Democratic Party needs to take ownership of this vast political canvass with all it’s multidimensional scope.

This has been the problem with traditional feminists. It is like how Rev. Wright is wrong to define all American struggles through the prism of racism; Ferraro and Malcolm of Emily List are wrong to ignore the true failures of Hillary and to back her simply for the reasons of gender. How on earth any thinking person can ignore the callousness Hillary showed in backing Iraq war to start with and total hubris in ignoring calls to revisit that political decision? Yes, all of those male Senators and female Senators like Feinstein who backed the war were wrong too. But there were female Senators like Boxer who opposed the war and there were male Senators like Edwards who had sanity to regret that vote and apologize for the same. Hillary had none of these.

Her claims about her involvement in Balkan peace process were exaggerated and wrong. For weeks, even after frequent prompting to correct her story, she continued lying on stump. It does not matter to argue that this is how politics run; but who would believe in the sanity of Ferraros and Malcolms of this world when they ignore such colossal failures of Hillary? Who cares for what the gender is? Just get the basics right and Hillary failed miserably in that; she lies with impunity.

I am from a country where frequently women have been, and still today are, in power – Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Pratibha Patil, Vasundhara Raje, and the true star of them, Mayawati. American Feminists need to go and understand why routinely otherwise male chauvinistic Indian society easily accepts female leaders. Female losers in Indian elections do not cry for the sexist attitude. For too long Malcolms of the world have been focused on abortion rights. No wonder Conservatives have visceral reactions towards such monochromatic feminists as murders of fetuses.

Also it is so convenient for feminists to forget American female leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Janet Napolitano, Kathleen Sebelius, Jennifer Granholm, top female officials like Condoleezza Rice and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. There will be female American President; just that it is not Hillary in 2009. In the end Hillary Clinton is the case of ‘failed leadership’. Not to recognize this reality is political blindness. To claim sexism is as the reason for Hillary’s defeat is hypocrisy. Those who claim so will go and sit along with Rev. Wright.

1 comment:

Sumanth said...

Soon, there will be no difference between feminists in US and feminists in India.

95,000 women were arrested in last 4 years in India without trial or investigation (according to Indian National Crime Records Bureau).
SIFF