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Sunday, 17 February 2008 20:47

Catherine Fenton: When Hillary Lost Me and Why I'm So Angry About It

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by Catherine Fenton

She voted for the Iraqi Resolution, and I could have gotten over it. After all, so did John Edwards, and I got over that.

She voted to continue funding this war, and I could have gotten over it. After all, Obama makes those same votes, and where are you going to go for your protest vote: John "One Hundred Years War" McCain?

She voted for the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, and I.... well, I couldn't have gotten over that, but I think I could have closed my eyes and pretended it didn't happen. Pretended I was like the majority of Americans and had no clue what a Lieberman-Kyl amendment even was. Sometimes I think of how peaceful ignorance must be. Why shouldn't I get some peace too?

No, it was in late 2006 when Hillary really, unredeemably lost me. She voted against Senate Amendment 4882, which would have banned the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas. They said she had to "look tough." Killing children makes you a tough guy now! How does it feel to live in a country that demands that you be "tough" enough to kill children in order to make it to the Presidency? To me, it doesn't feel so good, but regardless of the national psychosis creating this atmosphere... Hillary is responsible for this vote.

And oh, Hillary, would I like to have a word with you. It's thanks to this vote, Hillary, that I am forced to sit back and watch men chase you out of this race. It's thanks to this vote, Hillary, that I have to tolerate Chris Matthews and his drooling, hateful idiocy. And Patrick Buchanan, who taught me that men are traumatized by any voice that reminds them of their wife. David Shuster, who slid under everybody's radar the night he imitated the women from The View, in an alarmingly sexist manner, and thus lived to not slide under the radar when he started pimp-talking. Rush Limbaugh, who let me know that he's not down with watching a 60-year old woman age in front of his eyes. (How come we don't just shoot 60-year-old women anyway? Or maybe that would get PETA or NOW, or whomever all up in arms. Is there a pasture we can farm the useless eyesores out to?) And hello to Mike Barnicle who informed me that "when she reacts the way she reacts to Obama with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court, OK?" Yeah OK, Mike, thanks. Up until you said that I didn't know that "everyone" had a first wife, who "everyone" had divorced and who "everyone" hated. What happened Mike, did the b*tch want alimony? How nice for you that you can get on a national news show to work out the trauma of your divorce, Mike. "Everyone" sure appreciates your contribution.

Hillary, I wanted in this fight. I am so ready for this fight, Hillary. My body is surging with adrenalin, and I know that if the men quoted above, and so many more are allowed to drop-kick your 60-year-old bottom out of this race, (how dare you have a 60-year-old behind!) and have a good laugh over it, it will be a good long time before a woman gets close to the White House again.

I see a very qualified woman Presidential candidate, running against a very qualified African American Presidential candidate, and what it is doing to the Democratic base. I see how quickly progressives get angry, and how deep that anger runs, at any hint of racism. (And I am with them there.) And I see them giving what feels like short-shrift to the rampant and brutal sexism surrounding your candidacy. It's not progressives who are yelling at the top of their lungs against the sexism, they only mention it. It's women. It is women. But we are not truly being heard, even by progressive men. They try to hear us, they even think they are hearing us, but I do not feel heard. I am furious. I am not just a little piqued, wanting to make sure I mention that "I'm not for Hillary, but this sexism is wrong." I am enraged. And that little platitude isn't enough. Get as mad about sexism as you get about racism, then you'll impress me.

And so I understand that the black feminist intellectual, Bell Hooks, got it right when she made her case that sexism is a stronger force than racism in our society. And oh Hillary, how badly I want to enter this fight with ever fiber of my being; I want to stand against them, I want to roar. I want to blast those misogynists, who hold the pinnacles of power in our media and who set this ugly narrative, back to the last century, where they belong.

Germaine Greer wrote, "Women have very little idea of how much men hate them." Of course Ms. Greer probably hadn't taken into account Maureen Dowd, who proves with most of her columns that men have plenty of help hating women, but point taken Ms. Greer. So now I know.

And even with all of this -- the leering faces of the misogynists so eagerly hired by major news organizations, the gleeful malevolence being shown at the very thought of Hillary being "taught a lesson" (shouldn't "everyone's" b*tch, er, I mean, ex-wife, be taught a lesson?), the Maureen Dowds playing the old "let me sidle up to you mister and make you feel good about your hatred of woman, aren't I just the cutest thang you ever did see?" -- even with all of that and so much more, I still can't fight this fight. This fight that feels like my fight. This fight I have to walk away from with the heaviest of hearts, against every instinct of every fiber of my being, and with Germaine Greer's words ringing in my ears. Because Hillary voted against the cluster bomb ban -- and those kill children.

And I'd like a word with you about that Hillary. I surely would.


Catherine Fenton
New York, NY