It likely comes as no surprise to anyone that I support Hillary Clinton for President. I can still be a little perplexed by certain assumptions about my endorsement of her candidacy. For the record, I am a “Nebraska Nice” homegrown feminist who found myself battling gender stereotypes throughout most of my adult life. I never had much success in these strategic engagements, but I am proud of my persistence and courage. I never gave up my personal political and social agenda or willingness to fight for others and causes I support. I accept that I have walked a fine line between activist leader and dilettante. I hope I have demonstrated some commitment, knowledge and intelligence avoiding the latter category. I cannot deny that I ran for 3 political offices mostly because I had a social agenda. I knew I had virtually no chance of winning these races. It was a daunting challenge. The “Year of the Woman” in politics had been declared in 1992. Not seeing much action in Nebraska by 2002 – 2003, I was willing to step up. Whether I even accomplished my personal goals is yet to be determined. For the record, my agenda was to encourage more Nebraska women to run for political office and help them win.
My personal “Herstory” reflects why I admire Secretary Clinton so much. She doesn’t give up. She fights for underdogs like me and causes I believe in. Most importantly, she is so much better at it then I ever was or could be. She truly is the champion I aspired to be. She was identified as a woman leader for my generation at her college graduation – before she even met the former American President who shares her journey!
Hillary Clinton chose to work and learn from a giant in a field I advocated for and followed for decades. Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is a accomplished women I greatly admire. Her association with Hillary spoke volumes to me when I first decided to even like the aspiring First Lady.
One of the bedrock principles I have figured out is that you cannot cherish children by disparaging or dismissing the women bearing so much responsibility for their lives. Hillary Clinton gets that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” and she has spoken to this reality forcefully and tirelessly throughout the years.
For a lot of reasons, our American political landscape is depicted to emphasize differences over shared values. Hearing “Women’s Rights” unfairly translates and is reduced to a narrow reproductive focus in some circles. This was the dark alley detour of the 20th Century feminism I lived. It was unavoidable because women do have certain rights that society failed to recognize. Rights that apparently still need to be defended. The U.S. Supreme Court is often the decider of the competing interests. This process can be generational. Along the way, wedge issues erect roadblocks on the path to equality and fairness.
I see “Women’s Rights” as central to the social work and juvenile law cases I pursued. I still want to advocate against domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. These social plagues arise in family and societal settings. Hillary Clinton is my candidate because she prioritizes this policy. She doesn’t just orate on it, she has made the welfare of women and children a central focus of her life’s work. She clearly has vast knowledge and experience in other areas; i.e., foreign policy. Importantly, her policy agenda includes the global struggle for women’s rights. Now that is a revolution I can believe in.
In politics, I perceive a laundry list of unconscious motivations I project onto others. I feel guilty about this, but continue the exercise because it helps identify problems and solutions. For now, I will just remark it has been my experience that successful women are held to a higher standard of achievement. It’s unfair and totally unnecessary; discouraging and sometimes very hurtful. It takes a champion to face setback or defeat and move on. Hillary is the gold standard of resilience and fortitude. She will do everything in her power to get the work done and make our lives better.
If you seek more information or persuasion, and you probably should, I encourage you to visit this website: hillaryclinton.com
There is also a film series MAKERS: Women Who Make America (PBS 2013.) Watching any part of Season One will give you a superpower to see the political world through my eyes: pbs.org/makers/season-one
MY NEXT QUERY – WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE ANGRY MEN AND THE WOMEN WHO REALLY LOVE THEM?
Socialization – the process whereby an individual learns to adjust to a group (or society) and behave in a manner approved by the group (or society). According to most social scientists, socialization essentially represents the whole process of learning throughout the life course and is a central influence on the behaviour, beliefs, and actions of adults as well as of children. www.britannica.com/topic/socialization
Socialization refers to the preparation of newcomers to become members of an existing group and to think, feel, and act in ways the group considers appropriate. Viewed from the group’s point of view, it is a process of member replacement. www.asa.org/introtosociology
On my activist journey of over 20 some years now, I encountered a vocal minority of personalities right here in NEBRASKA NICELAND who are really really angry. Some of the concerns they “voice” are of current importance and some of what gets said could be in earnest. I do believe there probably is more to this “phenomena of nature” I witnessed. A good start of any investigation would take me to an entire bookcase stuffed with scholarly texts speaking to various aspects of this topic; psychological, social, historical, biological, geographical, philosophical, spiritual, etc. I really cannot distill all the information I learned and even the little I retained in the few remaining words in this blog post.
You may have noticed how much I like to use examples from my childhood T.V.and film viewing to illustrate my life’s journey and learning curve. It will become immediately apparent why there may be a void in my 50s or 60s vault illustrating the point I am trying to make now. I do, however, have a little exercise to pose my question in a more focused image.
When you read the introductory sentence I posed above do you ask yourself if it should more fairly read: “What’s up with all the angry men and women…?” If so, I understand your point. Indeed there are certainly some really angry and vocal women out there. I know this to be true. Please follow my query a bit farther through the entire sentence. Should it also read: “What’s up with all the angry men and women and the women and men who really love them?” Apart from the lack of a skilled wordsmith, this question seems somewhat adrift. I can easily track – “What’s up with all the angry men and the women and men who really love them?” For me, the inquiry falls right off the rails when you alternatively pose – “What’s up with all the angry women and the women and men who REALLY love them?”
Is love, devotion, or even modest affection society’s go-to reaction to a woman’s vocal anger? Is it in our collective conception of Nebraska Nice? Be honest now. This exercise obviously resides in the land of socialized gender roles and stereotypes. Just think about it. Picture a really REALLY angry male politician, a firebrand orator if you will; raging at the establishment. Hear his voice, see the body language, feel the heat and energy build to a powerful crescendo indicting the status quo and demanding change. Now just try to switch this public oration to a REALLY ANGRY woman’s voice.
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into ….” (The Twilight Zone, Opening Narration Seasons 4 -5, 1963-1964.)
Join me now on a quick express train ride past our regular cognitive dissonance stop.
An experienced politician, who also happens to be a woman, learns to focus her concentration, energy and arguments with skill and precision. Her experience has taught her to work hard and focus on shared values, common ground and workable solutions. Passion and Pragmatism are not mutually exclusive sets. I know Hillary Clinton is a wise and accomplished leader who does not need me to point this out. This exercise is about you and me, and anybody else who needs to be informed or reminded of societal forces influencing our choices. A significant American demographic of Democratic leaning voters intuitively gets this. Something to consider?
Just promise me you’ll at least think about it. Yes #ImWithHer #HillYes