Hillary Rodham Clinton’s apparent rendition of Martin Luther King’s celebrated lines in his “I Have a Dream” address is “I have a dream that one day women will be judged by their gender, not by the content of their character.”
During last Tuesday’s CNN Democratic debate, Mrs. Clinton clucked that the distinguishing feature of her would-be presidency as opposed to President Barack Obama’s would be her female anatomy as opposed to his male version.
Anderson Cooper asked: “Secretary Clinton, how would you not be a third term of President Obama?”Mrs. Clinton answered: “Well, I think that’s pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had up until this point, including President Obama.”
She did not articulate any perspectives or aptitudes that women bring to political problems that men do not. She did not argue that any past or present female political figures exhibited talents or accomplishments that male politicians have not. Her appeal was to gender identity, simpliciter. You should vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, not a man.
This is tribalism on steroids.
Mrs. Clinton is insinuating that girls should grow up to believe they can be elected president of the United States not because of competence and character, but because their sexual anatomy is female rather than male. That seems an assessment more to be expected from Monica Lewinsky than from a female presidential candidate.
Mrs. Clinton should have lectured that women have demonstrated political leadership on a par with men, warts and all, from the beginning of time; and, that the gender of candidates should be irrelevant.
She should have elaborated that while Plato granted that men and women are different in height, strength and similar qualities, he denied any systematic difference between men and women with respect to the abilities relevant to guardianship — the capacity to understand reality and make reasonable judgments about it. Thus, Plato maintained that prospective guardians of the Republic, both male and female, should receive the same education and be assigned to the same vital functions within the society.
Experience corroborates Plato. Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Angela Merkel, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Christina Kirchner are exemplary.
The stereotype that women in high office may be insufficiently ruthless or violent against enemies may cause female candidates or officeholders to act with reckless bellicosity or to invent false narratives.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima killed approximately 90,000 Japanese civilians, of which a fraction of the dead were children. Economic sanctions against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein caused the deaths of a shocking 500,000 Iraqi children. Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of State, dismissed the deaths as “worth it.” She also screamed at then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
Mrs. Albright and Mrs. Clinton are close friends and soulmates. During her campaign for the presidency in 2008, Mrs. Clinton falsified a story about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia. She also thundered that she would “obliterate” Iran (meaning to wipe off the face of the Earth) if it attacked Israel.
Mrs. Clinton supported the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. She supports the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. She supports the perpetual, global war against international terrorism. She supports a belligerent posture towards China. She supports limitless presidential power to play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill any American citizen whom the President suspects based on secret, uncorroborated information may be an imminent danger to the national security.
Hillary Clinton fuels the stereotype that women are different and presumably weaker by repeatedly calling attention her gender and status as a grandmother despite their irrelevance to the art of governing or qualifications for office.
She would perform yeoman’s service toward defeating female prejudice in the political realm by insisting that neither she nor any other candidate should either gain or lose votes because of their gender.