HISTORY IN THE MAKING, OR JUST THE SAME OLD (HER)STORY

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June 23, 2008 by Judith Liebaert

Like the bitter liquid my mother used to ladle down my throat when I needed it, we, as a nation, have taken our medicine and swallowed Hillary’s sugar-laced defeat. I hope that it somehow brings us closer to eradicating a rampant and insidious dis-ease nobody likes to admit to – gender bias.

Can this be the same election that demonstrated we can overcome racial prejudice? I’ve been trying to understand all the subtleties in play. I’ve been trying to find some lesson in it – pick out that one kernel that makes sense, will let each of us keep something good from this.

It isn’t there. Yet, can any one of us really say we are surprised at the outcome of the contest between Senators Clinton and Obama, when we live in a nation which gave the right to vote to African American men before it was given to women? History has repeated itself loudly and clearly.

Not that it should be the other way around. Whether it’s a bid for the White House or a job at the corner café, neither race nor gender should come into play.

Call it what you will, paradox, irony or catch-22, Hillary Clinton proved that you can win to loose if you are a woman running for President of the United States. In stepping back from her bid for election, she expressed hope that her efforts had made it easier for women to break that proverbial glass ceiling. Here’s what Hillary taught the next woman brave enough to walk in her high heels.

She must be intelligent and educated enough to prove that she can handle the job, but . . .

She can’t be too smart for her own good, (Translate – don’t worry your pretty little head about it – the men will decide what’s better for all concerned).

She must be confident that she is the best choice for the job, but . . .

She can’t come across as too cocky. (Obviously, only men can be cocky and they’re not about to surrender that to women)

She must be attractive, but . . .

She can’t be too attractive (Apparently the syndicated cartoonists don’t know how to draw pretty women).

She must convince everybody that she really wants the job and persevere against all odds, but . . .

If she appears to want the job too much and hang tough until the end, she risks coming across as needy, greedy or pathetic.

She must outwit, out perform, out debate and stand up to every challenger, but . . .

She can’t talk too loud, talk too sternly, express offense or defend her position too vehemently (She might sound like a bitch).

She must be skilled at using rhetoric to inspire others, but . . .

She must never embellish or personally interpret any circumstance or situation. (Men are great communicators, women have a tendency to exaggerate, lie and manipulate the truth to their advantage).

She must not get too excited or show too much emotion, but . . .

She can’t be too stoic (She might look like a bitch).

She has to win the majority vote, but . . .

She must understand that she’s not running in a popularity contest (If anyone figures that one out, let me know).

We’ve come a long way, baby, but . . .

It’s nothing compared to how far we have yet to go.

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