Sunday, February 28, 2016

A First Lady President

There is something wrong with the United States. Now, please don't get me wrong. I like this country. I have lived here for a while and I have to say, super to you, U.S.A. You have done right by me in general. But that doesn't mean that I can ignore some harsh truths about this place. And, no, this doesn't mean that I need to up and leave. I can point out problems and still think that this is a pretty awesome country.

The problem I have noted recently has to do with politics. I am NOT speaking about Donald Trump. While I might, at some point, develop some sort of opinion worthy of hinting to, that's not what I am getting at here. In fact, I am not even talking specifically about Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton, no doubt an avid reader of this blog, will be disappointed when she realizes that my screed does not speak to her particular candidacy. However, it does relate to an element of the upcoming election.

A bunch of years ago, a politician ran for the president and when he was elected, everyone pointed out that he was the "first African American president of the U.S.A." This, apparently, was a good thing. I shan't comment on that other than to segue into Ms. Clinton's potential nomination. Were she to win the general election, she would be "the first female president of the U.S.A." and we will all be able to pat ourselves on the back at our progressive nature. The year will be 2016. America will be about 240 years old.

A side note -- I have voted my personal conscience in every election in which I have voted. I (try to) ignore race, color, gender, religion etc, and vote based on the position a candidate takes on issues near and dear to my heart. What I am getting at, therefore, should not be construed as an advocating for any candidate. I am simply looking to point something out.

So, 240 years and maybe we will have a woman president. We've come a long way, baby. But then I look at the world. I am reminded that we, as a nation, would be catching up to slightly younger countries like India and Israel which came into being in 1948 and have both had female leaders. OK, maybe we are too set into a traditional mode and, while younger countries can have female leaders, we can't because of our heritage. You know, like England. The country with the queen. And the female prime minister. Maybe we are more like Germany, whence much of our language developed. Angela Merkel. I did a little checking and found a couple of lists:

The fact is, while we would like to blame some western European patriarchal system, there is no good explanation as to why there hasn't been a woman head of the U.S.A., other than our own, home grown bias! We didn't inherit it as a birthright tied to our religious past, or our political genesis.

Note -- I am NOT saying that we should now have a woman president. I am saying that our political machine has perpetuated a skewed system so thoroughly that we still see it as amazing that we COULD have a female president. We aren't in a post-bias world if when we elect someone who happens to be a woman, we see it as amazing that the leader of our country happens to be from a group which represents 50% of our population. Gender shouldn't be a thing to speak of, let alone a reason to (or not to) vote for a candidate. Stephen Colbert had it right when he (under the guise of his character, similarly named) claimed that he "does not see race." If we are still seeing race and gender, and pointing out how we are electing candidates despite gender or race issues, then we are being driven by the same antiquated thought process.

We are just now barely catching up to the rest of the world (well, there are places where a woman will never get elected but do we really want to ally ourselves with systems which thrive on that repression?). We should stop congratulating ourselves on our forward thinking, refuse to bemoan our sordid history, and start focusing on the things a candidate says and does, and that's it. Then we will have presidents with all sorts of characteristics attached, but we will finally understand that we shouldn't care.

America has a problem. We are so focused on the ways in which we are "getting better" that we refuse to admit that reveling in improvement is part of what makes us sick.

1 comment:

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