Do you remember where you were when the O.J. Simpson verdict was handed down? I do.
I work at a law firm where everyone -- and I mean the lawyers, the support staff, everyone -- was fascinated by the trial, by the attention that it got, by the tactics of the lawyers on both sides. So when the verdict was about to be announced, they rolled big TVs into some of the conference rooms and people flocked there to watch the verdict. I'd imagine, on a rough guess, that the room that I was in was composed of about half African Americans and half whites. And when the verdict was announced, the most amazing thing to me was the difference in the reactions. Nearly all of the whites were appalled and nearly all of the African Americans were desperately trying to stifle their desire to break into cheers. I like to think that, while I can never know what it's like to be black in America, I am sympathetic and empathetic and at least conscious of the fact that the privilege afforded by my white skin makes me unaware of an entire ocean of discrimination. But that day reminded me just how different and difficult it is (still) to be be black in America and how differently it can cause people, even people who like each other and work with each other every day, to perceive events. Eventually, I kind of got it, or at least a piece of it: white people who murder black people have been walking away from deserved guilty verdicts for centuries and that was, well, perhaps regrettable, but acceptable, and finally, finally, the tables had been turned. And,the LAPD's treatment of African Americans is so odious that no one in the black community was going to feel anything but good about seeing them get a bit of commupance.
I thought about that experience earlier this morning when my good friend, the gifted music critic, Steve Simels, said to me:
Kiddo, I read your post yesterday about how much it means to you about finally having a woman with a shot at the presidency for (perhaps) the only time in your forseeable future, and I must confess I still don't get it.
To me, it's no different than electing the first Jewish president. As a Jew, I totally don't give a shit on any level....
Maybe that's a bad analogy, but for what it's worth, to me it's the same thing.
Steve's a great liberal and a feminist to boot, but he's no more going to "get" what a having a woman in the White House would mean to me (and a lot of women like me) than I could "get" what the African Americans in that conference room were feeling when they heard the O.J. verdict. (Jews in America have certainly been subject to disgusting discrimination. I'm not sure that I can articulate the difference in the analogies. Maybe Steve's just a bigger person than I am.)
I've got no real way to know why Hillary did well in the N.H. primary, nor why Obama did well in the Iowa caucuses. Hillary has, obviously, lots of male supporters who like her for her policies, her experience, her smarts, and who would probably like those same characteristics in a man. Some women hate Hillary. But women broke strongly for Hillary last night. If the media, the "Iron My Shirts" types, and the progressives who just don't get what she means to a lot of women keep piling on her, they may get a verdict that surprises them.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."