2008

25 June 2008: Good ol’ boys beware: Odds are good glass ceiling will shatter

Good ol’ boys beware: glass ceiling will shatter

There are two groups of women who should feel “exHILLARated” about what Hillary Clinton accomplished in her campaign: those who were for her and those who were not.

A great metamorphosis has taken place in the American political landscape in two ways. First, Hillary Clinton is not the same politico she was before her run. Having tapped into a force and along the way finding her voice, she has become the face of the ascendant American woman.

She now has a 50 percent stake on the Clinton name. From now on, when the name Clinton is spoken without context, it won’t be by default in reference to Bill. The listener will need to ask, “Which one?”

Hillary Clinton has also advanced the cause of women’s rights that found its roots in the Seneca Falls Convention in 1846 immeasurably and in the process added to the American Experiment. As she claimed in her campaign-suspending speech, “That glass ceiling has 18 million cracks in it.”—a good sign for aspiring women.

So, good ol’ boys, beware! It’s only a matter of time before the last bastion of American male hegemony, a woman as commander-in-chief, falls.

Obviously, anger remains among some women that Clinton is not the recipient of the nomination of her party, and understandably so. The hatchet job done on her in and by the press, hidden behind the façade of her being a conniving Clinton, was beyond the pale.

On Election Day a number might withhold their votes from Barack Obama whom they see as an upstart: a brash, young, good-looking climber who wouldn’t wait his turn. Hopefully, that anger will subside or at least be redirected in the face of the potential of keep-them-barefoot-and-pregnant John McCain naming two or more rightwing fundamentalists to the Supreme Court.

When John Edwards withdrew from the race, the common wisdom among talking heads —to be sure, an oxymoron—was that his supporters would move en masse towards Barack Obama. “Not so fast,” I said. “Let’s see which of the two, Clinton or Obama, speaks to Edwards’ blue-collar, working-class supporters.”

It was Clinton who did as evidenced by her performance in Ohio, Pennsylvania and similar states. Now that he has the nomination in hand, Obama will be working hard to secure those same working-class votes before they grab their 12 gauges and shoot themselves in the foot again by voting for John McCain as many did for George Bush.

As she powerfully made clear in her remarks, it is imperative that women, regardless of their passionate state, work for the election of Barack Obama. In the final analysis, it comes down to one issue: Who would women want nominating the next two justices of the Supreme Court? It is highly likely that two of the most progressive justices, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and John Paul Stevens, will be replaced by the next president.

McCain is in cahoots with the American Taliban and makes no bones about it: He hungrily solicited and got the support of fundamentalist preacher whacko John Hagee who saw the punitive Hand of God against America in Hurricane Katrina such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell did in the September 11 attacks. Once, McCain derided them as agents of intolerance. Then he concluded he needs the religious right in his base if he hopes to be president.

McCain loves the Supreme Court Gang of Four, the four misogynist justices now sitting on the bench, and is eager to add to their number so to make them a solid majority. Should that happen, kiss Roe v. Wade goodbye. It will be back to back alleys. It’s that simple. Every gain made by Hillary Clinton and the women’s movement over the past four decades will be negated by returning American women to the level of chattel.

To watch the American Experiment continue to be fulfilled with two minorities going toe to toe in an epic campaign for the Democratic nomination has been exhilarating. We are not the same nation as we were when the campaign began.

With only a few minor aberrations such as Irish-Catholic JFK, the presidency has been the domain of male White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The odds are good at this point that that ultimate glass ceiling will be shattered, not by a woman, but still by one who is obviously not a WASP. And for this non-WASP, that is exhilarating.

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