Kill Hillary?..the Fight for Women’s Rights

Hillary Clinton c

Donald Trump3

 

The battles women have fought for their rights have been many and fierce. There is a museum exhibit that has a table set with 39 plates for women who got a seat at the table through stubborn will and tenacious intelligence. There are 999 names on the white tile floor below the table of women who contributed much but did not quite win a coveted seat.

There is a Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY to commemorate the first Women’s Rights Convention held there in July, 1848 and to honor the women who courted cultural disdain and ostracism to fight the surprisingly long battle to get men to accept women as equals.

There is no part of our original Constitution or our Bill of Rights that acknowledged females as people and there is no language that denies that women are people. It was not unprecedented in Europe to have Queens, but it was usually treated as sort of an aberration and Queens were almost forced to marry, except in the famous case of Elizabeth II in England. Men in early America did not even consider giving women the right to vote and women did not think to petition for it. Culturally men ruled the roost when the Constitution was written.

Women Suffragettes won the vote in a sort of a mash up with the Prohibition ladies in 1919 and the Constitution was amended to include the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in 1920. Now it is the 21st century and we have still never elected a woman to our highest office and women are sadly underrepresented in Congress. Wouldn’t it be fine to have a woman President when this amendment celebrated its one hundredth anniversary?

womens rights, seneca falls big

As I watch the media pile hypothetical sin after hypothetical sin onto Hillary Clinton who is running to be our President in 2016 I can’t help but think that this is the last gasp of men grasping to hang on to power, which men are not even losing, only sharing.

MSNBC has some of the worst Hillary bashers, although these men could not actually want Trump to be President. Joe Scarborough, Mark Halperin who has even joined Scarborough on Morning Joe lately, Chuck Todd, and their many male guests go on and on about Hillary’s “unfavorable” like members of a gossipy 50’s coffee klatch full of mean girls.

Even when Donald Trump (who knows very well that Hillary has no plans to change the 2nd Amendment in any way) dog whistles (loudly) to the NRA and the 2nd Amendment people – people whose first thought in a fight is perhaps to vote with a gun – and uses a deliberately veiled reference that could be construed as an invitation to assassination, the equivocation begins almost immediately. Never mind that these could be the same militia people who were prepared to start a war on behalf of a rancher who was cheating by grazing his cows on government land without paying the rather reasonable fees. Donald Trump knows that there are mentally ill people out there who would delight in killing Hillary, or, in fact, anyone Trump fingered; so do the news people who have now turned on Hillary Clinton (to escape the wrath of the Donald?).

Hillary has been smeared with so much mud by all these men that we may never know if any of it is real. These men spent the entire day after Donald Trump threw out his off the cuff threat arguing that he did not know what he was saying and that he was trying to be funny. Well I have a hypothetical for all Trump’s defenders. He did not phrase his remarks the way he did by accident; they were in fact carefully crafted to walk the legal line and be deniable in future conversations. They were designed to make his followers swoon once again at Donald’s audacity and to elicit the twisted admiration that he loves to bask in.

Yesterday the top story shifted so quickly to the unproven scandal of the supposed pay for play activities of the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State that I got whiplash. Today we are deep into Hillary bashing and repeating Donald’s excuses which somehow always allows him to repeat the jabs he has recently been most proud of pulling off. No matter what Hillary has or hasn’t done it can’t be as poisonous as what these folks are doing. Mayor Giuliani, shame on you.

So men are obviously not ready for a female President and women are back in this place where we have another fight on our hands and we have been fighting this particular battle for the past eight years in one way or another. The war on women in which Republicans tried to fight against women’s freedom to control their own bodies and their own reproductive rights was often a fight about the beliefs of some men that the world was a better place when women were submissive and when they stayed at home. Women’s pursuit of satisfying careers ruined the nuclear family, or so these men believe, and all manner of cultural evils have ensued, so if we put women back in the kitchen these disruptive cultural trends will go away and there will be peace in the land forever and ever. There are men who fervently believe this stuff and they do not want Hillary Clinton, or indeed, any woman to be the President of the United States.

While women would like to win something without a pitched battle and tons of mental and social angst that is not what is going to happen in the 2016 election. It is as fraught a moment as any instance of cultural change and rather than dancing and toasting with champagne we will obviously be slogging through mud right to the bitter end.

 

Celebrating Hillary and History

celebrate

Bear with me while I do a little celebration for one historical bit of progress made here in June of 2016. We have just managed to win enough votes in the primary for a woman to become the presumptive nominee of a major political party; the Democrats, of course. It is probably difficult for some of you to understand, as we perhaps come at this from different perspectives of age, gender, political persuasion, but to have this happen in my lifetime is even better than flying cars (although I saw a great one the other day on Facebook).

“YIPPEE” (Sorry that just slipped out.)

We have been one of the most backward nations in this regard, perhaps because some of our men (and a surprising number of them are Republicans) think they are cowboys, and they don’t like to give up any of their power. Not wanting to give up power, however, can also be a sign that the strength of these men does not run deep, that they need a level of support which makes them seem unsure of their place, and that they must constantly be on the offensive. I guess they don’t see that this actually makes them look defensive and weak. Please do not accuse me of lumping all men into one category. I see lots of very healthy and evolved men who are loving, supportive, and not at all threatened by women who are good leaders. They just don’t seem to be in Congress right now.

“I’M SO EXCITED…”  (Oops, a hiccup.)

I ask you to bear with me if you wanted Bernie Sanders as our next President (although it sounds like he may still be calling for “the revolution” to win the day in this regard). Bernie doesn’t look like a leader of a revolt to me right now, just someone who can’t accept when he has lost. I have faith that Bernie Sanders will see some of his wishes for the people fulfilled; but he lost, so I doubt he will get total satisfaction unless there truly is a revolution or the super delegates do a 180 degree turn.

Bernie taught us something very important. He taught us that you can run for office without being a millionaire/billionaire if you understand the needs of the people and if you can project your message with power and authenticity. He taught us that there are ways to get big money out of politics, that we don’t need that Citizens United v FEC decision or the deliberate avoidance of any laws to control dark money in politics. This is an area that is ripe for reform and I hope that it is something Hillary will tackle after she wins in November.

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“SO NOT MEH!”

I also ask you to let me have my mini-celebration now, which I hope will turn into a great big one in November because I know that Hillary Clinton is not everyone’s cup of tea. The people who become leaders by catching a wave of a moment in history when their beliefs, experiences, character traits, or passions are resonating are never perfect. Some are beloved, some are not. Some grow on us, some don’t. Apparently a few of those suffragettes were slightly insufferable. So is Hillary to some of you, although I think the women at least should be more sympathetic and understand the sacrifices Hillary had to make to get to this historical position she has just arrived at. She was not born to a wealthy family although she and Bill did find affluence in politics and law (which many see as suspicious, as proof of unethical practices). She went through the same struggles as any mother in those days torn between staying home to raise and enjoy a child or pursuing a career, especially a high-powered career with a grueling schedule. Chelsea seems to have turned out just fine and is still close to both her mom and her dad, perhaps a sign that Hillary and Bill hit the right balance. You might like to read this article from the NYT’s Sunday Review.

We do not assume that every time a man gets wealthy in public office that he must have taken influence money or sold his support to the highest bidder, even though men have a high incidence of unethical behavior in political circles. Why do we have to believe that this woman, who has come this far, cheated and lied to do so? Perhaps many of us believe it because FOX news says it every day, makes little movies about it, propaganda films that are much more ads than they are news. All I can say to the Hillary haters is “stop watching FOX News.”

So, after apologizing to everyone who might be offended in advance, I will do my little end zone dance – not the one that signals we have won the whole game yet, just the one that acknowledges a touchdown, a milestone for women (and men) in United States history. This is a happy moment, and it is one for the history books, so take a moment to acknowledge its importance and give Hillary and History a high five.

YAY! HUZZAH! BRAVO!

celebrate3big

 

The Primaries Come to the Boonies

This is truly an unusual primary. Usually New York
State conducts its primaries quietly in solitary splendor. In general, the
Empire State does not play a deciding role in selecting a general election
candidate for either party, even though we have a lot of delegates. The New
York primary is so late that the early states have already settled the issue.
So it is really quite bizarre to have the candidates
I have been writing about traipsing around even the most out-of-the-way places
in NY, such as my city (Syracuse), Utica, Rome, Dexter – Dexter!
It started two weeks ago with Hillary. She met her
public in a large roofed shed usually used by crafters at the Farmer’s Market
on summer weekends. I thought I would have to stand in a long line for hours,
and I did stand in a longish line for about half an hour, before I walked
through the metal detector and slid my shoulder bag over to the secret service
so they could pat it down.
I did see Hillary. She looks nice in orange (SU was
in the Final Four) and, when I left, when the concrete floor got too hard to
stand on any longer, I still liked her and wanted to vote for her. I took a few
pictures. One is of Adam (no last name) who was in line by me for a while. He
is in the teacher’s union and had on his AFT tee shirt.

The second person is called Jovan (John to us), an
eighty-four year old man who came to America from Macedonia and still has a
thick accent. (He worked in Bldg. 7 at GE, my Dad was in Bldg. 5.) His children
have done very well, one graduating from an Ivy League school, one a doctor
trained at Johns Hopkins. He wants nothing to do with socialism even if it does
have the word Democratic in front of it. Jovan has boundless confidence. He
wended his way to the very front of the rally.

My third picture is of Hillary and was taken by the
tall man in front of me – the one I had to sway back and forth to see beyond,
taken with my camera. We yipped and cheered and raised our arms in the air and
even did a slightly disorganized wave. No signs were handed out but I don’t
know if the concerns were for security or cost. I bought three Hillary buttons
on my way out.

Since then John Kasich came to town, Bernie Sanders
has been here, then Ted Cruz, then Donald Trump, then Bill Clinton. I don’t
think we have ever, in my lifetime been romanced by so many politicians in any
election season. I did not go to any other rallies – I watched them on TV as if
they were happening somewhere else. There are only so many concrete floors I
will stand on in any two week period. But my spidey sense felt them buzzing
around and I wish I could have hovered comfortably overhead, or been the
proverbial “fly on the wall”. (I have no idea where all these bugs came from.)
It was interesting to see that Ted Cruz held his
Syracuse rally in a northern suburb, Cicero, where a group of locals publish a
newspaper called “The Patriot”, full of some well-known right wing conspiracy
theories from which I culled the phrase “Luciferian Church of the United
Nations”, because Agenda 21 and the UN plan for world domination.
Dexter – Donald Trump went to Dexter – a small rural
town west of Watertown, NY on Ontario Lake, a town full of campers, hunters, fishermen, aging hippies, and
farmers, and these days, very few factories. Fort Drum is nearby though, so
perhaps he attracted a lot of soldiers and their families. That would have to
be fact-checked. I’m sure Dexter is still in shock having rarely been singled
out by such a famous (infamous) personality. It’s been a helluva* two weeks in
the North Country (*also, until recently the name of a local cheese company).
It’s sort of fun feeling like the hot center of America for a while. We can use the
excitement. Primary day is Tuesday, April 19th and then the
entire circus will move on. Most candidates have left already. I think Donald
Trump will be the last one out.
By Nancy Brisson

Who Will End Obstructionism?

I will fight for Hillary Clinton right to the end, whenever
that is. I do think women can do as well in the Presidency as men have done. I
am tired of women being expected to wait until some perfect moment which of
course will never arrive. There are no perfect moments. Even Obama’s seemingly
perfect moment was ruined by racism and obstruction. If we get Bernie I will be
fine with that but I have to stay in the fight.
The only question that bugs me is which of these two will be
able to bring back regular order to Congress, to send the “teabaggers” packing
and the Evangelicals out to do good works?
The Conservatives hate Hillary possibly even more than they
loathed the idea of an Obama Presidency. Their hate has become rabid and
personal. Will we have four to eight more years of obstruction and hate speech,
this time against women? Will they just vote over and over to impeach her? There
could be 60+ more votes against the ACA. How many more votes will there be to
defund Planned Parenthood? More of this will not be good for America. It will
not be good for the world, although perhaps it is emotional baggage we must
sort through. Does Hillary have a plan to change things just in case we don’t
win some seats back in the Senate?
Can Bernie defuse and render harmless the Conservative push to
pursue every policy that would be harmful to America? He certainly understands
what is harmful about the right wing agenda and he will hold the line against
any progress toward the Conservative way. But will he also be unable to breach
the obstructive moves of a party that owns 3o state governments, both houses of
Congress and the courts? Will it help that he pushes Republican buttons by
pursuing policies that are far outside their ken? Will he blow them up to
smithereens when he moves to break up the banks and rein in Wall Street? Will
revolutionary zeal be better than the strategies of someone who knows everyone
and knows her way around the politics of DC? Or will there just be two
revolutionary groups in a war of words?
Is there any candidate the Democrats could have put forth who
could “treat with” today’s GOP? If a Democrat wins the Presidency and the
obstruction continues will the people finally get involved? Will we the people
insist that it is not OK to go to Congress if it is your intention to hold the
American government hostage until it does what Republicans want?
It is troubling that we cannot see into the future and know
who would be able to make headway in America right now against the misguided
and unenlightened mess that is today’s GOP. We can, though, and we should
certainly contribute to the movements by the Democrats to change as many seats
in Congress as possible in 2016. Emily’s List tries to get Democratic women
elected. If you contribute to the DNC the dollars get spread around. Even
Hillary donates some of her dollars to down ballot elections and Bernie is
talking about doing that.
The people’s dollars are stretched thin by all the
causes that need our contributions to fight for right, but at this moment
winning the election must be a top priority. You don’t have to contribute much
because small donations grow very big when millions of people contribute, and
there are often richer donors who match or multiply small donations. Think of
it as creating a war chest in case we need it.
By Nancy Brisson

Bernie Sanders Unfair anti-HIllary Tactics

Bernie Sanders is playing a tricky and dishonest
game in his recent political rallies. He is asking Hillary Clinton to run her
campaign according to his rules. Bernie is a “revolutionary”. He’s deliberately
changing the topography of campaigning without the benefit of any changes in
the actual rules of the Democratic Party. He is staging a revolution before he
even wins the election.
Mr. Sanders doesn’t like campaign financing as it
currently operates. He’s not alone. Many of us want less money in politics;
more “we the people” in politics. And he does get kudos for sticking with his
principles. What does not seem fair is to ask Hillary Clinton, who came up
through the ranks and learned campaign fundraising from the “big boys” that
Bill Clinton hung out with, to decide to throw out all that she knows about
campaigning. It is unfair to indict Hillary for not following Bernie’s rules
when he is the only person in modern politics who ever has done all grassroots
fundraising. Bernie, we have not had the revolution yet!
Come the revolution, Bernie believes, super
delegates shall be banished. Here’s another Bernie rule that Hillary is being chastised
for breaking. I understand that putting super delegates between the candidate
and the popular vote is elitist. I am all for less elitism in politics. But
super delegates have not been outlawed, they are actually part of the Democratic
Party primary process. In fact, winning super delegates is still “state of the art”
in Democratic primary voting.
Now Bernie is trying to steal Hillary’s super
delegates, to turn them “Bernie side up”. Since Bernie discovered he could not
win without super delegates he has decided (too late?) to play the Super Delegate
Game. Bernie – Mr. Sanders – the revolution did not happen yet. Hillary Clinton
does not have to play by your rules. If you become President you can work to
change the election process. Meanwhile, you are sounding quite like a
curmudgeon. Cut it out. I assume you knew what the process was like when you
entered the race.
The point you seem to be trying to make is the one
that paints Hillary Clinton as the “establishment” and you as the “anti-establishment”.
She has never been elected to the Congress as anyone who planned to start a
revolution and the times certainly have not been amenable to the kinds of
changes that Bernie Sanders has wanted to bring to American governance.
We are just entering a time when some Americans are,
perhaps, willing to make actual changes to the role money plays in
government and in elections. The times do seem somewhat conducive to legislating
a truer Democracy in our nation.
But there are just as many signs that people who
want to hang on to the traditional politics of elitism and the powerful impact
of money are as dug in as those who want change and they are much more numerous
and better organized than those on Bernie’s side.
You may all fault Hillary Clinton for moving to the
left, but Hillary has shown that she has a sensitivity to the political climate
of different eras and Progressive ideas may be having their moment, so it totally makes
sense that Hillary would move to meet the current needs of the American people.
She is a politician, not an ideologue. Bernie is an ideologue, not a
politician.
By Nancy Brisson