In which I do go on.

Yesterday, I was feeling all political after the DNC-RBC meeting and spent a lot of time reading articles online. One that really stuck with me is this one, specifically this passage, in which an older woman, a college professor by the name of Karen O’Connor, is lamenting younger women’s preference for Obama.

O’Connor founded the Institute of Women and Politics at AU. As a woman over 50 who has devoted her professional life to cultivating women leaders and looking ahead to the day when she might see a woman president, she learned a hard truth: that for these women, youth trumps gender. “I don’t vote for a woman just because she’s a woman,” a former student told O’Connor. “I do,” O’Connor responded, explaining that Clinton and Obama are “identical” on the issues. “This is gender versus race.”


Youth trumps gender? Gender versus race? I was shocked to read this, for it shows a deep misunderstanding of just how the younger generation thinks–it shows a deep cognitive divide between the Baby Boomers and GenMe. Perhaps even a refusal to try and understand our thinking, in so readily dismissing our rationales by focusing so much on their own worldview. A worldview that seems to revolve around categories of people. Black, White. Woman, Man. Old, Young.

O’Connor does not seem to understand that for us younger people, male and female, such categories are irrelevant in considering the merits of our candidates. We do not consider what they are, but rather who they are. And we do make a distinction between What and Who: these Whats do not define these Whos. They are merely influences, shapers of destiny, the co-creators of reality, but Whats are not the essence of a person’s who-ness, personality, or being.

In Feburary, I wrote this post, the day of Super Duper Tuesday, detailing my difficulties in deciding between Clinton and Obama, and then this one the next day, explaining how I finally came to choose Obama. No where in either post do I mention race or gender as a criterion of consideration; because my concerns are on talents and skills, attributes and personalities. How does race and gender have anything to do with any of these things? Neither is important to my understanding of these candidates. And to address O’Connor’s point that they are “identical”– that does not mean the issue therefore comes down to race vs gender. As I said before, in the first of those two posts:

Both candidates are intelligent, ambitious, educated, goal-oriented lawyers with identical platforms that differ only in the details. As a simple American, I am less interested in the details and more interested in getting things done.

I made my choice on the basis of my understanding of these people’s characters–their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, their individual talents–and on how closely those characteristics meet what I think this country needs in terms of its leader. It came down to the issue of leadership: which management style is the one that I think will take this country the right direction: the micromanaging adminstrator, or the broad-minded mobilizer?

To reduce this fight into a battle between race and gender is offensive to everyone concerned. It shows a preoccupation with categories and labels and perceived injustices rather than the individual consideration of human experience. Focusing on these categories in this manner serves only to perpetuate the experience of discrimination itself.

This campaign is not about sexism or racism, though we are aware of the presence of such divisive ills. Many of us young GenMe voters beleive that we cannot prevail over all those discriminatory “isms” if we let it define our understanding of people and events. These “isms” cannot be our overarching concern. Especially not in selecting our leaders.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “In which I do go on.

  1. You have summed up the apparent attitude of Hillary and her supporters–“a preoccupation with categories and labels and perceived injustices”.

    I was saddened by the reaction of Hillary supporters to yesterday’s Rules Committee decision and hope desperately that the party can be united enough to hand the Republican party its ass come November.

    Also, I’m noticing a certain trend in the titles of your blog posts. What’s up?

  2. Jen: Yeah the titles are a new fetish of mine. Figured I might take it as far as it can go, unless my dear readers tell me it is too bloody annoying and I should stop…????

  3. This is an excellent post! I am older, but I feel exactly as you do. Gender and skin color are characteristics much like eye color, and to me, as important in choosing a leader, or a friend.

    I deplore persistently separatist attitudes like O’Connor’s and wish that we could all get beyond them. (And vote for Obama.)

  4. Great post Rachel, someone raised you well! You make beautiful insights and I know you did your research and made your choice based on issues. I have more than respect for that, I applaud you. If younger voters such as yourself really don’t think in these “divisions” then we boomer parents have done one hell of a job raising you.

    But racism as well as sexism, ageism, hetrosexism, able bodyism just to name a few other ism’s are alive and well in this country and when it comes time to market the candidates, racism is going to become one big ugly issue. Consider what “bitter old white folks that cling to guns and religion” are listening to on the radio and you get a small taste of what we are in for. (google Rush Limbaugh and magic negro, it’s despicable but this is what the opposition feeds on)

    My outrage is at the DNC and the rules committee. The Florida solution was an acceptable compromise. They should have left Michigan as it was–unseated for breaking the rules. But they were completely out of line to strip delegates from Clinton and give them to Obama. This is why I’m done with party politics and will vote only by candidate in the future. It doesn’t mean a democrat can’t get my vote, it’s just means he or she will only get it on the merits and not the label. It also means I will not be making calls, doing grunt work at headquarters,walking the neighborhood with party literature or writing a check in the near future.

  5. I guess I was a bit depressed last night. It was probably largely due to only having 5 hours of sleep the previous night. If I don’t get my8 hours, i’m a wreck. I feel much better today. Amazing how sleep is the miracle cure! Still, I have a lot on my mind that I can’t really post for the world to see. : / Being a big girl is hard work!Kind thoughts are greatly appreciated. It’s interesting, I’ve read studies that say that prayer or kind thoughts from people of any religion or lack thereof really do make a difference in people’s recoveries from medical illness. That’s a lot to take in for my agnostic-at-the-moment self.

    Hope you’re doing well! : )

  6. I guess I was a bit depressed last night. It was probably largely due to only having 5 hours of sleep the previous night. If I don’t get my8 hours, i’m a wreck. I feel much better today. Amazing how sleep is the miracle cure! Still, I have a lot on my mind that I can’t really post for the world to see. : / Being a big girl is hard work!Kind thoughts are greatly appreciated. It’s interesting, I’ve read studies that say that prayer or kind thoughts from people of any religion or lack thereof really do make a difference in people’s recoveries from medical illness. That’s a lot to take in for my agnostic-at-the-moment self.

    Hope you’re doing well! : )

  7. unfortunately I think a lot of people in the democratic primaries are voting race/gender.

    It bugs me too that there are legions who think this way. I agree that it perpetuates stereotypes when people vote this way. I fear that whomever wins the nomination will be blamed for preventing progress in the other area (i.e. Obama winning will put yet another man in office and set back the woman’s movement, etc. etc. etc.)

  8. It saddens me when people resort to bigotry to explain not achieving a goal. I’m not denying the existence of bigotry, but for goodness sakes both frontrunners are minorities in terms of government leaders. Either candidate’s name on the ballot in November will be historically significant.

    Great post, Rachel!

  9. em: Florida and Michigan both broke party rules and in both instances the Clinton campaign was asking the DNC to essentially validate a flawed primary as if it were not flawed. No soludtion they could have come up with would be fair, including doing nothing about it.

    In addition, Obama’s name was not even on the ballot in Michigan and that opens up a whole host of problems with counting the primary results normally. Ideally both primaries should have been redone at the end of the primary cycle. All this delegate drama is a problem with how the DNC punishes unruly states, and that they need to change.

  10. Good for you. A vote should never be based on gender or race, but on the issues. Whether your president is male or female, black or white makes no difference. The important thing is that he/she do the job.

  11. I think it’s hard to characterize these issues just by generation. I struggled with the CLinton/Obama issue, too.

  12. While I agree entirely that selection of a candidate should be based on ability to do the job, I don’t entirely agree that the older generation doesnt’ get the younger.

    Maybe the older generation is equally misunderstood by the younger generation. Its hard for a generation raised in tolerance to comprehend the intolerance many of the boomers where raised in.

    The younger generation needs to show a bit more tolerance for the older generation as it comes to terms with realizing the “future is now” is actually, joyously here and now.

  13. I both agree and disagree with you; your decision may well mimic that of most of your generation, based as it is on your perceived merits of the candidates, but the majority of the population are older than you, and so they are not neccessarily judging in the same way, meaning for them, the choice is about gender versus race.

    Puss

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s