Thursday, December 20, 2007

In America Anyone Can Be President. Almost...

Let’s take a look at countries that currently have elected female leaders: Ireland, New Zealand, The Philippines, Mozambique, Germany, Liberia, Chile, Switzerland, Georgia, Argentina, Ukraine and India. The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Canada and Denmark all have female monarchs.

Of the world's 10 most populous nations, six have not had a woman as head of government or state in the modern era. They are the United States, Brazil, China, Japan, Nigeria, and Russia

It is an embarrassment to America that we have not progressed enough as a democracy to elect a female President. We are just now electing women to congressional and gubernatorial seats, yet we demand that Iraq reserve and elect women to leadership positions. And in a greater percentage than they are elected in this country. Many countries that have female leaders have been democratic for decades, not centuries, yet they have seen that it’s not about gender, it’s about ability. This country needs to dust off its tired stereotypes and step into the modern era.

I’m no angry feminist, but I do see an obvious disparity in what we say our political system can do versus what we actually do with our political system. Nor am I saying that I would vote for Hillary solely because she is a woman, but I do take offense to the obvious double standard that she is being held to.

Looking at the numbers, men are the largest group of Hillary detractors. Yet outwardly they say that they would vote for a female candidate. It just won’t be Hillary. And then they proceed to list bogus “reasons” as to why she wouldn’t be a good President. I’m going to take some typical statements and debunk them (or at least give my thoughts on how people are making excuses).

1) Hillary doesn’t give straight answers.

Um, ok. This is a cop-out. First, we are talking about politics. There are no straight answers. Issues are more complex than yes or no (and if you believe that things are just black and white, you probably still think Saddam had WMDs hidden throughout the desert). Second, no politician wants to make a statement that they believe will be taken out of context and used against them, which people are more than wont to do in Hillary’s case.

Bush has been much less honest than any democratic candidate ever has. And this administration has continued to use lies and half-truths to perpetuate the war in Iraq, give tax breaks to the rich while claiming that they are helping the average American family, and to perpetuate their own conservative agenda.

2) Hillary doesn’t have enough experience.

Considering that she’s the only candidate who has lived in the White House, I would say that she knows more about what it takes to be President than any of the people running. Being the President is about being a diplomat. It’s not about how much legislation someone has written or how someone has led a state. Her experience as First Lady has given her inside knowledge about what the President truly does. She is more than prepared to be the President lead America, both nationally and internationally. Besides, with Bill as First Husband, she’ll essentially have the crib notes for “How to be President in Every Situation.”

3) Hillary isn’t a Uniter

Well, considering that about half the country is red and the other half is blue, no candidate is going to be a uniter. What Hillary does have are mainstream, progressive views. The leading Republican candidates are a Mormon and a Baptist minister, neither of whom have uniting views. Neither has proven an ability to appeal to a large and diverse demographic. The person that is going to win the vote is the person that is moderate, but don’t expect any uniting to happen.

4) She doesn’t know what it take to be Commander in Chief

This is a big problem for men because they see the military is a man’s realm. But, they had no problem electing Bush and Cheney, who not only had no military experience between them, but they both actively sought ways out of the draft. Only one of the candidates running today has any military experience, so the argument that Hillary is somehow “lacking” in the military arena is totally bunk. The Joint Chiefs of Staff exist for a reason, and Hillary is more than willing to listen to their recommendations (we know all too well what happens when Presidents decide not to listen to the professionals).

To everyone out there that is holding Hillary to a higher standard: get real. This is the 21st century and women have proven themselves capable of being in power. If men are scared of that fact, then they need to take some time for introspection to figure out why they are so scared. Look at the candidates for who they are and what they can do. Don’t make lame excuses about why a woman can’t do the job.

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