Monday, March 17, 2008

Why We Need Hope

The Feminist Case for Obama - Adele Stan @ WaPo

Coming from a male perspective it's a bit of mental gymnastics to understand the loyalty many women feel towards Sen. Clinton, however misplaced I think that loyalty is. I can understand the humiliated wife who stood by President Clinton as he took the nation through his affair (albeit, one that hardly comes close to an Eliot Spitzer type of affair). I can understand the women who have waited for generations for a woman to come this close to the presidency. And I can understand the argument that a woman like Sen. Clinton is representative of second-wave feminism as well as a woman of the baby boomers. Adele Stan, writing for the Washington Post puts all of this forward in writing about her decision on who to vote for in the Democratic primaries. And she has one of the most compelling reasons for why she put her mark next to Sen. Obama's name.
At this juncture in history we need an individual like Sen. Obama who can lift our spirits and help us believe again in the American dream. For all of Sen. Clinton's intelligence and grasp of policy details, she does not inspire the people. After the Bush presidency we need a new kind of politics and a renewed vision of America as that shining city on the hill. Yes, electing the first woman president would stand as a testament to how far we have come as a nation but electing the first black would do far more.
I had a conversation with a close female friend last night about this divided loyalty. But when it came down to taking a side, my friend believed more in Sen. Obama's ability to lead this nation. Looking at the way Sen. Clinton has acted and presented herself throughout this primary season, my friend could not help herself from being angry. How can a woman who has acted in the way Sen. Clinton has deserve her vote? And how can that same woman walk into the White House and expect to achieve anything significant?
Both my friend and Adele Stan have recognized what this election means to the nation. The inspiration Sen. Obama would bring as president and his abilities to unite and do the work of a president far outweigh the moral victory of electing the first woman president. There are future elections and future presidents. We will have a woman as president, that much is true. But the woman running for president at this moment in our nation's history is not the person we need as president. It comes down to what kind of America we want and the candidates we have at hand who will bring such an America about. That feminists can see past gender loyalty to vote for a man tells me that yes we can have that America and perhaps an even better one for a woman president to inherit.

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