Friday, May 23, 2008

The gender card

Hillary Clinton's campaign is almost over. A year ago she was considered a shoo-in, but an incompetent campaign and enthusiastic grassroots support for Obama has done her in. Helping her downfall was an aggressively hostile press. When she was winning news stories focused on possible chinks in her armour, when losing the press crows that she was supposed to be the favourite and wonders aloud and in print if this setback marks the beginning of the end. In contrast, stories about Obama's setbacks focus on the glimmers of hope, the silver linings - or the cheapest ploy in the modern liberal's playbook: racism as a explanation for Obama's stumbles.

Many years ago liberals sold out womankind by omitting women's suffrage from the 15th amendment. Now liberals have once again chosen black maleness over a pair of x chromosomes. Liberals in the media played no small part in this betrayal.

I recall Garrison Keiler, lamenting the loss of John Kerry (or was it Al Gore?), saying that liberals had had a good run, and had much to be proud of including the fact that it was no longer acceptable to use racist language in polite conversation. Women's oppression was never as violent as that of blacks, but the victory over that oppression has not been as complete. No national network, or major cable news outfit would tolerate the use of racist language: an N-bomb would almost certainly guarantee that a guest would never be invited back. But sexist language is acceptable. From Chris Matthews, do David Schuster (MSNBC has been especially egregious in it's anti-Hillary stance) making disgustingly offensive remarks, to subtler forms of disrespect such as debates over Clinton's wrinkles, cleavage, and pantsuits. Equivalent, racist comments on Obama would be condemned sans debate. But the media portrays sexism as a two-sided matter of opinion that's open to debate. The very fact that Wolf Blitzer thinks this is debatable betrays the inherent sexism of his (and many others') coverage.

Ok, I kind of got off track there... the reason I was making this post in the first place was actually to criticize Clinton supporters for taking their sexism complaints too far. A recent New York Times story features a myriad of complaints about perceived sexism. This one in particular stood out:
Nancy Wait, 55, a social worker in Columbia City, Ind., said Mr. Obama was far less qualified than Mrs. Clinton and described as condescending his recent assurances that Mrs. Clinton should stay in the race as long as she liked. Ms. Wait said she would “absolutely, positively not” vote for him come fall.

I get the feeling that this same woman would have been equally offended had Obama acted in the opposite way ("who is he to tell her to drop out! blah blah blah...").

There's much to be angry about, but it won't help women's rights to cry wolf when there are so many real threats.

I was going to write a bunch more stuff and was planning on tying this into some recent math department drama, but I'll do that later.

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