Thoughts From Before the Election

Before I morphed my “cars and stereo equipment” blog into a Chronicle of Doom, I used to bother the sh*t out of my friends with lengthy emails. In the recently resurfaced September 15th note below, I raised some issues that turned out to be prescient. As you will see, it never occurred to me that HRC would lose the election. But I was concerned about her not having enough of a mandate to govern effectively, especially because of what I perceived to be the lack of understanding of both her campaign and many of her supporters of socio-cultural issues outside of the educated, often monied professional class.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton celebrates among balloons after she accepted the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young - RTSK6XP
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton celebrates among balloons after she accepted the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young – RTSK6XP

Those issues would be important, I argued, as Hillary navigated her presidency.

But, in the immortal words of Donald’s Secretary of Energy nominee, “Oops!”

boing-boing:
To Find Hillary Clinton Likable, We Must Learn to View Women As Complex Beings

(published and commented upon on September 15, 2016)

My email:
I didn’t finish this article because it’s not that good. But it raises what — for me — is an interesting clue about why HRC could lose the country, even if she wins the election.

First, let me get out that I will vote for HRC, as this race, as far as qualifications are concerned, is uncontested. HRC is not only the better relative choice, but it should be clear by now that she is the only absolute choice. But let’s set that aside.

I sure as hell didn’t read everything published during either of the Obama campaigns, but I don’t remember anybody suggesting that we had to change our fundamental perceptions of people in order to like him. People liked him for legitimate reasons. People liked him — either absolutely or symbolically — because he was black. And people hated him — either absolutely or symbolically — because he was black. But nobody ever suggested that Obama was somehow so fundamentally different from any other human being (or group of human beings) that we had to reorient ourselves (as human beings) to like him.

Among the reasons that HRC apologists are lit-critting her candidacy is that they — not the collective “we” — exist in that parallel universe of bullshit and privilege wherein if one decides something about one’s self, it simply and unquestioningly becomes true. The “cultural space” of this parallel universe is not unlike that of the suburban soccer game where every child receives a trophy. And this parallel universe “cultural space” is just as relevant to real space as the suburban soccer environment — which is to say not at all.

Can we admit that feminism — like Marxism, socialism, communism or capitalism — is a socio-political belief system, and not a religion? Can we admit that feminism — especially the practice of affluent, Western and predominantly white feminism — can be (and is) as flawed as highly particularized practices of capitalism and communism (to pick two) have been and are? Can we admit that good socio-political belief systems adapt, evolve and refine themselves based on the human condition(s) they must address? And can we admit — and I’m being generous here — that some socio-political systems (such as communism, to pick one) are or were never holistic enough to be anything other than transitional?

Maybe communism *was* the best thing for a China and Russia that had devolved into a brand of capitalistic/monarchic chaos in which lives of the poor had no value. Sound familiar? And maybe the horrific body count — if one really does the math, which I haven’t — was worth it to wrest those cultures from the feudal period to the industrial and post-industrial periods in just two generations. I don’t know.

But eventually, communism collapsed under it’s own failure to be relevant to the human experience. Communism failed to evolve, failed to update itself, and failed to look beyond itself while simply telling itself how great it was — with all of the objective relevance and value of handing out trophies at a suburban soccer game.

So, where is Western, affluent feminism now? Has the movement been necessary for a culture that still does not truly value women as it values men? You bet. But no socio-political belief system (and not even a true religion) can survive without adapting, and Western, affluent feminism has been hampered in its ability to adapt by the very privilege it rails against — its whiteness.

For example, Western, affluent feminism is not relevant to the vast majority of women of color. That doesn’t mean that women of color are not oppressed, or that they like being oppressed. But it *does* mean that most women of color are not able to practice Western, affluent feminism because they don’t have the options that affluent white women enjoy through dominant-culture privilege and wealth.

For these reasons, Western, affluent feminism also is not relevant to the vast majority of non-affluent white women. Women of color and non-affluent white women are vexed by lack of opportunity and choice — not stymied by the super-abundance of opportunity and choice. I could go on, but you know what I mean.

And now we have supporters of the standard bearer of Western, affluent feminism suggesting that the collective “we” needs to change in order to understand and appreciate how great she is?

To repeat: I will vote for HRC for the reasons I stated earlier. But it’s not hard to understand how HRC’s persona riles the lizard brains of those who so viscerally hate her (I don’t). Who describe her as “pure evil” (which doesn’t even make any sense). Who equivocate her moderate flaws with Donald’s gargantuan ones. Who don’t understand the real extent to which this race — in “real” reality, not American realty TV reality — is, in fact, uncontested.

Those are my thoughts — dashed off in a quick email.

I would be interested in yours.

rg

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One thought on “Thoughts From Before the Election

  1. Nailed it back in September. Little did we know just how wide the divide was between the privileged and less-so. I will hasten to add, in the same breath, that I also know a few educated, affluent, “feminist,” or “religious” people who voted for DT because of narrow special interests and pet issues . . . and, yes, because they also loathed HRC. Yet they couldn’t understand that DT’s promises were worthless and morally bankrupt.

    Like

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