Because Sheâ€™s a Woman
By: Selwyn Duke
Itâ€™s very easy to fall behind the times. It is for this reason that you find parents who never seem to really know what the younger generation is involved in, older folks who still act as if a hot dog should be 10 cents, and people who fight yesterdayâ€™s social battles. As to the last thing, there are those who ask if a woman can be elected president.
The real question is, can a man running against a woman be elected president?
With androgyny being the order of the day, it has often been lamented that men no longer know what is expected of them. Is being chivalrous courteous or condescending? Do I hold the door or let her roar? A similar quandary is apparent when watching the men who must run against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
When Clinton stumbled in the second to last Democrat debate, her opponentsâ€™ immediate political instincts were to attack the front-runnerâ€™s now exposed weak flank. This is what office-seekers do; itâ€™s why the military term â€œcampaignâ€ is applied to political contests.
Yet almost as soon as the post-debate analysis began we heard the inevitable accusation that all and sundry were conspiring against the lone girl. The moderator, the other candidates, the butcher, baker, candlestick-maker and probably even male chauvinists beyond the grave were experiencing testosterone boil-over.
With the suddenly chivalrous media doing the heavy lifting, Clinton herself didnâ€™t have to say much, but she still wasted no time deftly playing the downtrodden woman card. At Wellesley College she remarked that presidential politics was an â€œall boys clubâ€ while campaign surrogates whispered about â€œsexism.â€ Sure, she soon after took the high road and said the attacks were due to her front-runner status and not her chromosome configuration, but be not fooled.
Thatâ€™s the genius of it.
Subtly play upon the premise that women can never get a fair shake while your public relations team â€“ otherwise known as the US media â€“ pounds that drum hard, then soldier on nobly. As the cherry on top, have suddenly chivalrous husband Bill find time between mistresses to feign anger and say youâ€™re being â€œSwift-boatedâ€ because you never won the medal of maleness. Then millions will say, â€œOh, what heroic virtue! She is a victim of the old boy network and by all rights could cry foul, but she merely endeavors to persevere. Class as well as courage.â€
This brings us to the problem confronted by the men: Theyâ€™re damned if they do and damned if they donâ€™t. If they donâ€™t attack Clinton, her faults remain hidden and she cruises to the nomination; if they do attack, they are faulted for hitting girls and she cruises to the nomination. Theyâ€™re between a feminist heart and a hard place.
This brings to light a sobering reality. This uniquely feminine (if one can apply that adjective when speaking of the anointed one) protection will stay with Madame Hillary should she make it to the general election. And itâ€™s a protection that exists because of two related phenomena, Group-identity politics and the New Chivalry.
As I said when writing about the New Chivalry, it replaces the traditional variety and refers to the affirmative-action mentality that now prevails. It involves laws, set-asides, regulations, quotas, mandates, social codes and conventions that prescribe favorable treatment for women. Among my examples, I pointed to a high school girl golfer who was afforded entry into a boysâ€™ tournament on the basis of an equality argument, but then was allowed to play forward tees that made the course 20 percent shorter for her. In other words, equality got her in the door but was then left outside.
This phenomenon is evident with Clinton as well; equality has gotten her a place in the race but is ignored on the campaign trail, which ensures that she will never have to run as fast. No small number of Americans â€“ many of them men â€“ will vote for her simply, well . . . because sheâ€™s a woman. As to this, just a few days ago I was told of a young man who said he would vote for Clinton because it would be â€œcoolâ€ to have a female president.
Married to the New Chivalry is group-identity politics, the phenomenon that contributes to womenâ€™s acceptance of the formerâ€™s seductive hand. As to its impact on this election, Clinton right-hand man turned pundit Dick Morris has said that her candidacy will bring out 20 million female voters who would usually sit on the sidelines. And while Morris the Cattyâ€™s prescience has often been questionable, this prediction is logical enough to fill me with a sense of foreboding.
In response, many may point to Clintonâ€™s high negatives and polls showing that close to 50 percent of respondents say they will never vote for her. Yet I suspect that these polls donâ€™t accurately measure the unprecedented estrogen surge that could be nigh. Letâ€™s now examine the female factor.
Group patriotism is a powerful force. As to this, I think of my Greek-descent in-laws who voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988 simply because he shared their heritage. Such thinking is Greek to me, but, sadly, it plagues man. Just consider how many other Americans will rally to support a candidate from their group regardless of ideology or integrity. And this brings us to women.
There was a time when the word â€œfeministâ€ was not prominent in our lexicon. Girls were raised to be girls, and the patriarchy was fact, not fiction and foe. After years of destroying tradition and imbibing the feminist malt, however, this has changed.
There are now tens of millions of women who have been weaned on identity politics. From the time they were little girls they have in essence been told, â€œMen have kept you down; men have oppressed you.â€ They have been subjected to feminist curricula in schools that present a tendentious view of history and reinforce these notions, and in college it only gets worse, with womenâ€™s studies classes that instill misandry. Consequently, like an afrocentrist, Latino activist or any other group patriot, they view everything through the prism of â€œus against themâ€ and have chips on their shoulders.
Although this doesnâ€™t apply to all women, the ones I describe are legion. They will vote for a woman simply, well . . . because sheâ€™s a woman. They canâ€™t be reasoned with, for, as Ben Franklin said, â€œYou cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into.â€ Emotion is the seducer who charms them, and reason changes minds, not hearts.
If such women read this article, for instance, they would only be confirmed in their position that the infernal â€œpatriarchyâ€ will stop at nothing to keep a woman in the house â€“ or at least in the Senate. I would just be another insecure male â€“ not a man, mind you â€“ whose masculinity was threatened by the ascension of the more ethereal sex. No matter what I said, they would vote for her. No matter what she says, they will vote for her.
So, too, will the Republican nominee be an insecure if not abusive male. Whether attacks on Clinton are warranted or not, every one will remind these women of an ex-husband or boyfriend, former boss, or father who they imagine did them wrong. The attacks will not be analyzed, but felt. They may be valid, but they will simply be what a victimizer does to a victim, and each attack will make her seem all the more the victim of domestic political violence. Why? Because thatâ€™s how these women see things. Why? Because thatâ€™s what men do. Why? Because sheâ€™s a woman.
Such intractable biases are one of the consequences of group-identity politics. And along with the New Chivalry, it may be more than enough to visit upon us a uniquely unqualified individual. Notice that after Clinton was exposed for being just that in the second to last Democrat debate â€“ merely by being pressed to answer a simple question â€“ CNN handled her with kid gloves in the last one. The media had been chastened for â€œdoing what men doâ€ by many and were back in chivalric form. So who can really take Clinton to task? Be it the media, the other candidates or someone else, it will just be seen as the boys bullying the girl.
Perhaps my estimation of Clintonâ€™s chances is overly sanguine. Call me a pessimist. Yes, I do know that not only is she unpopular with a majority of men but that there are millions of women who would rather don full-length burkas then cast votes for her. But I also know that â€œbecause sheâ€™s a womanâ€ is a powerful argument in an age where feminocracy is extolled. And it just may be enough to possess us to make history. It may give us our first affirmative-action president.
Contact Selwyn Duke: SelwynDuke@optonline.net
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