Feminism is about something very simple: equal rights between men and women. But in today’s world, and in highly scrutinized presidential campaigns, it gets very complex very quickly. Take this week’s campaign developments. Earlier this week the New York chapter of the National Organization of Women threw a rather undignified fit, pissed that the Kennedys are endorsing Obama. They went so far as to label the endorsement an act of betrayal. Real right-thinking, women-supporting, NOW PAC-toting candidates would vote for a woman because she’s a woman, they contended, and anything else is unacceptable.
This is just ridiculous and wrong on so many levels. First off – sure, getting the Kennedys was a coup. But how is that related to the feminist cause? Just ‘cus Ted is a staunch leftist doesn’t mean he has a strong track record of supporting the old females in his personal life. With this guy, its all about the name, and association with the storied Camelot of yore.
More important is the assumption that good feminists must automatically vote for Hillary. Only with a woman will we get all our crucial issues of abortion rights, civil rights and general equity protected properly. This is such a fascinating election in so many ways, not least of which is the ability to have this discussion in the first place. Heading into Super Tuesday, we’ve got the first “viable” woman candidate facing off against the first “realistic” African-American candidate. Yippee for us, right? Theoretically, we’ve grown up and into the new society we’ve always thought was possible. We’ve cast off the burkas of racism and sexism, and we’re all about the person inside. Right? But this kind of vitriol being exchanged between supporters (and the recent questionable volleys between the candidates’ camps) show we’ve still got major issues.
What it comes down to is this: equal rights between men and women means truly judging someone by effort, character, and merit. Gender, or race, or sexual orientation, is a secondary concern. Our votes are supposed to be carefully made, taking into account an entire range of ideas and past history. We’re supposed to consider who will be best for the country, in the context of this clusterfuck of international relations and quagmire of domestic issues. We shouldn’t blindly choose based on anything, whether it be party, or gender.
I’ve considered the two candidates as candidates, as people, as leaders. I’ve made my choice. And I feel like I still can keep my storied Feminist membership card after I vote for Obama.
Thoughts? Talk amongst yourselves.