Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why I Want Hillary To Win -- Part II

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.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


-Mr.M said...

Was at work when OJ's verdict was rendered.

One of our coworkers called someone who did schooling with the director of LA's foresnics. They were the same graduate class.

People celebrating that mockery of justice create a very sordid kind of national karma.

One can imagine what it would reap if that kind of motivation selected a candidate.

See also Dubya.

-Mr.M said...

I should really spell check.

There is one thing I think you could do for this issue, or other fine atriots.

Make a T-Shirt for the topic and donate proceeds to varied causes.

"Iron my Skirt!"

Who says guys to have all the fun?

ql said...

I'm trying very hard not to gloat over yesterday's win, nor get too complacent. There's a lot of work yet to be done.

Jill said...

That is a great analogy Hecate. After reading a little more about the "iron my shirt" guy and hearing titters from some of the older male attorneys in my office today about HRC's "crying" I have smoke shooting out my ears.

Here's my post today at Eschaton

Nick Gemelli, who is 21, and born at least a decade after “iron my shirts” was an anti-women’s rights slogan, didn’t have much of a rationale. “I just don’t think a woman should be President,” he said. He couldn’t really say why, but he agreed that he was a health care voter, as the sticker on his carrying case implied. The “Hillary for President” sticker was a bit more of a puzzle. He said he had just been given both and peeled them off. He said he had no connection to any campaign.

At least he got some attention. His friend — a la Bart Simpson — said his name was Hugh Jas, but The Mouth later learned that his real name is Adolfo Gonzalez Jr

This little douchebag is 21 huh? Nice. The talk radio sewage that fills the airways gives these little fucks the idea that their little winkies make them better than me. and that pisses me right the fuck off.
Jill | 01.09.08 - 11:11 am | #

Anonymous said...

"Kiddo?" This guy calls you "kiddo?"

madamab said...


I had a similar experience, although I was in a Macy's dressing room with a couple of African-American female employees. One of them dropped to her knees and thanked Jesus that this murderer was set free. Unreal and almost unimaginable to my lily-white self.

What is really hard about sexism is that it's less obvious than racism. I hope I live to see the day when both are vanquished from our discourse.

Molly Ivors said...

To be fair, steve calls everybody "kiddo," as a sort of joke about his age.