Today, Barack Obama counseled his supporters to be respectful toward Hillary Clinton. After all, he said, she has, among other things, broken through this amazing glass ceiling.
Then, Clinton appeared on my television and compared the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates to women's suffrage and Seneca Falls, the emancipation of the slaves, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Oh, really, Hillary, dear???
Let's see. Florida and Michigan were told what the rules of the Democratic Party were - no one was allowed to move their primaries before those of Iowa and New Hampshire (hey, look, I don't understand the "Iowa and New Hampshire always get to go first" thing either, but for the time being, it's the rule). If those states violated the rules, their delegates would not be seated.
They DID violate those rules.
All of the Democratic candidates except for Hillary Clinton removed their names from the Michigan ballot, just as they were supposed to. Now, Hillary claims she "won" there. Right - because she was the only person on the ballot. Everyone else followed the rules.
None of her opponents ever campaigned in Florida, just as the Democratic Party had requested. Now, Hillary claims she "won" there. Right - because only she made appearances there.
Hillary Clinton, you are a CHEAT. There is no polite way to say this, sista' - YOU ARE A DAMN CHEAT. Changing the rules partway through a game just to suit YOU is CHEATING.
So, what is this glass ceiling of which Barack Obama speaks?
Is it the one in which a woman proves she can be as much of an ass as the men in charge ever have been? That she can cheat? That she can seek power at all costs? That she can be as militaristic as the men, voting to send other mothers' children to die in a pointless war and never apologizing for that vote as the mistake it clearly was?
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a doctor. A teacher of mine told me I could aspire to be a nurse, but not a doctor. My mother, appalled, mentioned this to Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, who got to her knees, took my face in her hands, and promised me I could be anything I wanted to be. Back then, Boggs had gotten her seat in Congress the way most women there had - by having a husband in Congress die and then running for his seat (basically winning with a "widow's sympathy vote").
So I've always dreamed of having women in all sorts of places, all sorts of jobs, getting paid what men get paid and being judged on our abilities - you know, our real assets rather than our asses.
Still, I had hoped that as women we might also bring a new ethic, a different one, to those places and jobs. I hoped women doctors would be gentler, wouldn't make absurd understatements like "the insertion of the IUD may cause mild cramping" and "yes, a ruptured cyst on the ovary does cause some discomfort." I had hoped women lawyers might help single moms get the financial support to which they are entitled, that women judges and prosecutors might take domestic violence seriously. I wished for women police officers who would treat rape victims with respect, who would never think to ask, "Well, what were you wearing?" or "Why were you drinking without using the buddy system?" or "What were you doing out alone / after dark / in that part of town?" And I had hoped that women with political power would positively rock this world. I thought of women like Patricia Schroeder of Colorado and Barbara Jordan of Texas, women who cared about making the right policy decisions TODAY - for women and kids and working people and the poor and the elderly and the disenfranchised - far more than they cared about whether they would win their next bid for reelection, and I longed for dozens and eventually hundreds of them in D.C. I campaigned for some women along the way too - and some men of conscience as well.
Now, Hillary Clinton claims credit for shattering a glass ceiling - the one in which the path to the highest levels of political power involves cheating the electoral process, voting for the war on Iraq, saber rattling when it comes to Iran, chastising Obama for his willingness to meet with foreign leaders currently hostile to the United States (um - hello - isn't talking things through something in which most of us women are trained and pretty skilled? why NOT meet with those leaders, Hillary?). And she has the gall to invoke the abolitionists and the suffragettes and the civil rights agitators as she makes her case for cheating her way to this nomination.
Honest to God, Hillary, you shame me.
You shame all of us.
This isn't the feminist sisterhood of my dreams. You aren't my sister. I can't be sisters with a cheat.
I know the life stories of women like Alice Paul and Elizabeth Caty Stanton. Women like Alice Paul and Elizabeth Caty Stanton are feminist heroes of mine. And, Hillary, you are no feminist hero.
end of crabby rant