Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016.02.21 Why I Support Hillary Rodham Clinton To Be the Democratic Nominee for President of These United States

I’m no policy wonk; nor am I more than an averagely-informed political activist, so I will try to keep this at least clear-hearted, if not especially bright-minded or serene. You can read more measured professional opinions and statistical data elsewhere. 

The woman I hope will be our next president is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I will refer to her as Hillary, not out of disrespect or any attachment to informality, but frankly because alternatives are, well   . . .  funny:
        -HRC? The other major contender is BS.
        -Clinton? Fails to honor the fight Hillary put up to retain “Rodham” in her married name.
        -Mrs. Clinton? Ok and respectful, but incomplete.
So Hillary it is, and how progressively wonderful that most journalists and others refer to the two front running Democrats in  the 2016 presidential campaign as Hillary and Bernie. 

My writing points for Hillary:
    -I read her memoir Living History. In it I met a woman of intelligence with a passionate and authentic story to tell. When she ran for president in 2008, critics evaluated memoirs by all the candidates, including Barack Obama’s, and found hers the most authentic.
    -I’ve been a feminist for years, a Christian feminist who believes that maleness and femaleness are created in the image of divinity. I’m no biblical literalist; nor do I discount that some biblical wisdom is inspired by God, so counter does it run to traditional human practices. This imago dei idea from Genesis makes my soul sing.
    -Hillary Rodham Clinton is a born politician in the best sense of that word. We need leaders like Hillary, and we need the perspectives women bring to leadership. The gift of gender is one formative factor in a  person’s profile. When women are on board, a discernment/decision process tends to be more collaborative, more inclusive of diverse points of view, and, dare I say, more affectionate without loss of strength. Also a little wild.
    -There is gender as gift and gender as handicap in a society organized around rank-ordering and -isms. Hillary knows in her flesh that women have not achieved the dignity and respect commensurate with their qualifications—simply because of their gender. If she knows that about women she knows that about other disinherited groups.
    -Hillary has stayed true to her desire to make democracy work for the common good. She has made many egregious errors of judgment. I believe she has learned to be more cautious, focused, and still to retain her vision. I don’t trust political rigidity. I don’t trust religious rigidity either. 
    -Hillary’s transitions and transformations over her long career have been painful. An early example was her movement away from the party of her family of origin to a party that better articulated her progressive vision for social justice. I know how much that can sting. I did it myself.
     -It is time for American’s “greatness” to include a recognition of the dishonesty and injustice of sexism and elect a woman as president—not at all costs and not any woman, but for the sake of who we say we are—and for the Statue of Liberty, herself. Economic injustice is not the only injustice.
   
    -I know what it is like to be consistently behind the patriarchal eight-ball, to keep trying, and to get up and try again because you believe in yourself and because you have a voice and a vision that matters enough to never say die. Hillary is ambitious, sometimes too much for her own good—quite unpopular in a woman. I used to be ashamed of my ambitions—until I met Jesus and then I blamed God for us both.
    -Hillary has survived public ridicule and humiliation in her marriage. Living through the trauma of personal betrayal is humiliating enough, but going through it in the public eye and holding onto personal dignity through the impeachment threat and other scandals, takes courage—not just to grin and bear it, but to stay the course. I chose divorce and she chose to stay. Either choice is very difficult, and neither is right or wrong.  Either way it’s messy. The eye of the Church softened its gaze toward me. Maybe the nation will do the same for her.  I care about good credentials in a leader. More important to me is a sturdy well-smelted soul to go with them. Hillary has not become enslaved by her wounds.
     -Hillary isn’t popular. Fine with me. People say she isn't warm. Boo hoo. I don’t know how anyone can be warm under such pressure. Nevertheless personal caution is not necessarily a sign of weakness but of modesty, a lost value in today’s world. That’s not a bad boundary for a public authority figure to maintain.
    -People don’t crow and moan about aggressive men in politics or other fields of endeavor. Aggressive women? Well, they are still considered a threat to the system. They are.
   
    -Hillary is too establishment, they say. When I was a young teen I was thrilled to discover that the longest word in the English language was antidisestablishmentarianism. 11 syllables! Eventually, I learned that it meant opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England. Would I want to disestablish the institutional Anglican Church I’d fought so hard to get established IN via the Episcopal Church? Just because the established institution of power needs to change and evolve doesn’t mean it is rotten to its core. Women are still trying to break the Episcopal stained glass ceiling. I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t care so deeply about the health and wholeness of that for which I fight.
    -I learned that I myself, can really mess up, defy many establishment norms, be forgiven by an established institution, and continue to lobby for reforms. Maybe the same process can be true for Hillary in the institutional halls of government and with American citizens.

    -Hillary has a spiritual life of prayer and goes to church not just for public appearance's sake. How politicly incorrect! 
    -Metaphorically, Hillary could be a stealth Robin Hood in female garb since she has already begun robbing the rich through collecting their outrageous fees for her talks. It’s ironic, but so was Robin Hood.
    -Is there temptation to elect a woman just because she will be a first? Yup. There is equal temptation NOT to elect a first for its own sake. Take your pick.
    -Bernie Sanders would be the first Jew. We don’t hear much about that, now do we? God forbid. But are we more scared to be anti-semitic than we are to be sexist?  Or is there just resistance to a woman in high office? The way it looks now, and it is early I know, we shall have a first woman president, a first Jewish president or, let’s say, a first unashamed and authentic public bully president.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a wounded woman who has the potential to become a wounded healer. Such a gift, if realized, has much to offer public office. But then I am a person who believes that security/safety is NOT the highest value. Humility is.

Do I pray about all this? No, actually, not exactly— only that God will make sure the best woman will win.