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Friday, January 25, 2008

On the idea of a Woman President...

I said it before and I'll say it again; that we even talk about Hillary's gender and Barack's race shows the underlying (and extreme) sexism and racism still extant in this country.

Israel had a woman head of government in the 70s--Golda Meir is still revered as one of the best prime ministers in that country's history. Britain had Margaret Thatcher for 12 years! Germany has a female Chancellor right now. In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister was recently assassinated--not for being female in that closed, sexist and often extremist Muslim country, but for being anti-terror and anti-fundamentalist.

A woman head of government is not a new idea, it is not a radical concept and it is not proof of a non-sexist society. That we marvel at the possibility, that our media deigns to ask "is America ready?", that we have people who don't look past Clinton's breasts to her heart and mind is a terrifying reminder that women do not have equality in this country. People still worry about the president having PMS--we don't seem to worry about the president having an anti-intellect attitude or a chip on his shoulder about his daddy, but really, deeply, we worry about hormones?!?

And a black man as president?!? Yikes! Could it be possible that we might one day catch up to the understanding even South Africa has reached? Is there a possibility that the great United States of America might someday have the forethought and egalitarian mindset of more than half the world? How can we even begin to maintain the pretence that we have civil rights in our country when we worry about a presidential candidate's race before we worry about his platform. There are people, tell me if this sounds familiar, who don't think we're ready for an African-American in the White House--heck, it is call the White House after all.

This election, no matter how it turns out, will not prove to the world anything but how backward this country is. If we don't elect one of these two, we will face the internal and external accusations that race and gender were the cause. If we do elect them, we will revel in our own open-mindedness and pat ourselves on the back for finally catching up with a decades (and that's because I'm only considering the modern world) -old concept that all people are created equal and are endowed by their creator with...

And so while we are not all of equal talent, ability, intellect, interest or strength, we are certainly all of equal value. We will have to go through this ugly campaign, one way or another. We will have to go through the underlying meanings. We will have to face who and what we are.

I, for one, will look forward to the day when this race will become a joke. I look forward to a US in which there is no need for Black History Month, in which a women's movement is a human's movement, in which these issues are not.

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