Time Warp Wednesday: Trying to Have the Conversation

Reblog of a post I wrote in 2008. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This post also generated a Part II and Part III

Trying to Have the Conversation

In the light of the David Schuster incident, I had hope that men and women of good will would be able, finally, to sit down and have an open conversation about the enduring and deeply internalized sexism within our society.

What has been particularly frustrating for me, is that when I try to have any kind of discussion with men about sexism in our culture, I honestly feel like I’m speaking a foreign language to them. No matter how I try to get them to try to understand where I am coming from, what my life experience has been, most men, if not all, just don’t get it. Worse, they don’t appear to want to understand. And I am speaking of men who are my friends and closer, solid progressives all.

A defensive wall goes up and I cannot seem to get them to at least acknowledge that my experience and point of view may be valid, or that I may have some legitimate concerns, or to admit that though they may not understand, they are willing to at least listen. Alas, no, because if I even bring it up, somehow I get the feeling that they think I am holding them personally responsible for the misogyny I see, and that I expect them to “fix” it. I hold neither position, but gawd-amighty, I sure would like to be able to at least have the conversation without being told that (a) I’m being too sensitive (b) I’m taking it too personally (c) I’m seeing things that aren’t there.

On a related note, Nicholas Kristof looks at the challenges faced by ambitious women running for, or holding, political office in our democratic age.

When Women Rule (NYT)

In one common experiment, the “Goldberg paradigm,” people are asked to evaluate a particular article or speech, supposedly by a man. Others are asked to evaluate the identical presentation, but from a woman. Typically, in countries all over the world, the very same words are rated higher coming from a man.

In particular, one lesson from this research is that promoting their own successes is a helpful strategy for ambitious men. But experiments have demonstrated that when women highlight their accomplishments, that’s a turn-off. And women seem even more offended by self-promoting females than men are.

This creates a huge challenge for ambitious women in politics or business: If they’re self-effacing, people find them unimpressive, but if they talk up their accomplishments, they come across as pushy braggarts.

The broader conundrum is that for women, but not for men, there is a tradeoff in qualities associated with top leadership. A woman can be perceived as competent or as likable, but not both.

Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Has Earned My Vote

This. All of this.

Shapely Prose

For context, read the preface.

1) She is the most qualified candidate, period, just in terms of her résumé.

Even leaving off everything up to the early ’90s, she’s had a front-row seat for two successful Presidential campaigns, and mounted a very strong campaign for the Democratic nomination. She lived in the White House for 8 years, and traveled around the world with the president. Where other First Ladies have mostly chosen politically inoffensive charity work to occupy their time, she made developing a universal health care plan her pet project. (It did not go well, mostly because the country wasn’t even ready to talk about that. We can talk about it as easily as we do now because she brought it to the national stage 20 years ago.) When she ran for senator, a lot of people argued she’d gotten above her station, since they believed the non-office…

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This is the woman I see

Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, I request that to take some time to read Ruby Cramer’s article. This is the person I see. These are the eyes I’ve looked into. This is the woman I have, ever so briefly, connected with. This is why ‪#‎ImWithHer‬

Hillary wants to talk to you about love and kindness

This was 1969. She is 21, still Hillary Diane Rodham — senior class president, bound for Yale Law School, full of big and unrestrained talk about the future, first student commencement speaker in the history of Wellesley College. And there at the podium, in full cap and gown, she diverts from her prepared remarks, and the words come tumbling out — urgent and excited and abstract at points beyond comprehension. She calls for human connectedness and understanding, for a more conscientious state of being. Her target is the “empty rhetoric” of the preceding speaker, a sitting U.S. senator. “What does it mean,” she asks of his speech, “to hear that 13.3% of the people in this country are below the poverty line? That’s a percentage.” She and her classmates, Rodham says, demand “a more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating mode of living” — a society “where you don’t see people as percentage points,” a restored “mutuality of respect.”

Hillary Rodham of Wellesley College talking about student protests, which she supported in her commencement speech. Lee Balterman / Getty Images

The speech makes news. No one knows what to think of it. Rodham, in one of her first interviews, attempts to explain: What is needed, she tells the Boston Globe that June, is a “‘new vocabulary’ to deal with relationships between people.”

[ . . . ]

This was 1993. She is first lady — a few months into the job, head of her husband’s health care effort, split between the White House and the hospital room in Little Rock, Arkansas, where her father lies brain-dead, 18 days after a stroke. There is a speech she can’t get out of — 14,000 people at the University of Texas — and on the plane ride to Austin, in longhand, she sketches out a second appeal for the same “mutuality of respect.”

“We need a new politics of meaning,” she tells the crowd. “We need a new ethos of individual responsibility and caring… a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Again, she makes news. Again, reporters come calling. And again, Clinton tries to explain. That spring, she gives a series of interviews on the subject of her beliefs — political, philosophical, and spiritual. The transcripts, archived at the Clinton Presidential Library, capture a time before the worst of the White House years. The first lady is not so hardened yet to public life. Conversation is easy. She is, it seems, thinking out loud.

[ . . .]

What she wants to talk about hinges on a simple question of how we can, as humans, better treat one another. To Hillary Clinton, this is politics. She’s talking, literally, about “going back and actually living by the Golden Rule.” She’s talking about a “great renaissance of caring in this country.” Part of the challenge is the vocabulary. “A lot of this is hard to talk about,” Clinton admits. “I’m not real articulate about it.”

The speech and subsequent interviews — earnest, unembarrassed, and decidedly open — are laughed at in Washington.

[ . . . ]

When she was a girl, her late mother, Dorothy Rodham, taught Sunday school classes. The essence of her spiritual teaching? “A sense of the good.” This, Clinton would later say, was all she wanted to get across in the “politics of meaning” speech. She didn’t understand why people thought she was talking about “great, giant themes and theories,” as Clinton put it afterward. “I was talking about being kind to the woman who cleans your office building, inquiring how she is, seeing her as a human being.”

Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton

Maya Angelou penned this poem for Hillary Clinton in 2008. It continues to resonate with me.

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

Rise, Hillary.


(Originally published in The Guardian)

On Hillary and Bernie

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So while Hillary’s plans might be less ambitious and less progressive on most points, I believe that the actual ground that she will gain is greater than the actual ground that would be gained under a Sanders presidency.
Hillary thinks in work-arounds. She is, in many ways, the source of President Obama’s growing assertiveness in the use of executive orders. She is smart, and she is ruthless, and she is good at politics, and I am tired of people acting like that’s a bad thing when somebody is fighting for a better country.

bottle magazine

Look, let’s get this out there once and for all: It’s not that I don’t think Bernie can win, it’s that I don’t want him to.

For some reason, that’s difficult for a lot of people to comprehend.

I am a progressive. I want the things Bernie promises for this country. I want universal health care, and free higher education, and reduced incarceration, and an end to the artificial redistribution of wealth into the pockets of the filthy rich.

But I also understand basic civics, and I read the news, so I know that the Republican party is simultaneously in shambles and completely entrenched in Congress.

Bernie Sanders has no plan for enacting his ambitious, domestic, legislative agenda other than “political revolution.” Vote for me, he says, and we’ll get the money out of politics and thereby force Congress to listen to the American people.

Putting aside the questionable idea that…

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MissionPic – Day 7

In order to keep myself shooting each day, I’ve started to participate in the MissionPic daily challenge.  Yesterday’s one word challenge was “tiny.”

A little trinket my husband gave me years ago.  Froggy hangs out with me at work.

You can join in on the fun too. Go to missionpic.com, download the app, and get started.

Originally posted at my photo blog.