Good Job, Hillary

Good Job Hillary Clinton

Donna Brazile

Anyone reading the L.A. Progressive knows I support Barack Obama. But I have to admit that as I sat watching and listening to Hillary Clinton announce that she was suspending her campaign this past Saturday, I felt a tinge sadness and a sense of loss.

I didn’t expect to feel this. I was getting tired of the primary – tired of hearing the same phrases used and reused by both the punditry and the candidates. And I was disappointed that Senator Clinton stooped to some of the levels she and Bill stooped to — both using tactics that diminished them in my eyes. So, when she stepped onto that stage I expected to feel a sense of victory but, to my surprise, I didn’t.

As I sat watching this woman postpone a lifelong dream — a dream that arguably could have been hers long ago if she were a white man, I felt that she, to some extent, had been robbed. Not necessarily during this campaign but throughout the many years of her hard earned victories most of which were awarded to Bill.

Throughout the campaign I made a conscious effort to focus on the issues and the unique talents each of the candidates brought to the table. Neither race nor gender were factors in my analysis, at least not conscious ones. But frequently, okay daily, the media and political pundits inserted race and gender into the dialogue.

But it wasn’t just what they were saying, it was who they were. Has anyone noticed how many more black and female commentators are being aired these days? And if they are both, black and female, they’re really in demand. Every time I turn on the tube these days I see Donna Brazile (pictured above), Michel Martin or Michelle Norris giving their opinion on Obama or Clinton – somewhat of an acknowledgment that their point of view is different or more credible than that of their counterparts (interesting that I called them counterparts). This may be true but can it also be interpreted to mean that if Obama or Clinton were not black and female, we’d be less likely to see Donna Brazile and the others at the discussion table? And this, more than anything else, brings to the fore how far we have yet to come.

I’m jazzed to see such a variety of people on cable and network news. Katrina van den Heuvel, Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow, and others bring insights to the table that we desperately need.

The change of the face of the political punditry is just one small example of how race and gender play out in America. While it’s likely Donna Brazile and the others, who are all highly paid professionals, wouldn’t have difficulty finding assignments regardless of who is running for president, it is clear their race and gender were factors considered by the networks and cable stations in choosing them. Is it likely television media is the only place this is played out? I don’t think so. I certainly see it played out in other realms every day.

sharon-kyle.gifNow that Hillary is no longer in the race, let’s see if the face of the punditry changes. I hope not. But if it does, that partly explains my sadness at seeing Hillary go.

– by Sharon Kyle

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Comments

  1. Lori says

    I actually surprised myself by crying during Senator Clinton’s speech on Saturday, feeling her loss and being saddened by her exit. I personally have always liked her and even though I have been a Senator Obama supporter since he first announced, I never felt that she was hurting the Party by remaining in the race. Instead, I felt that her staying in until every single Democrat across the country was able to vote actually worked to strengthen the Party and continued to encourage folks to register knowing their vote would be important. I also felt that she proved she isn’t a quitter and reinforced what we teach our children – that even when things look bad, we don’t give up and walk away from defeat Instead, we stay focused and continue to work our hardest until the game (or in this case the race) is completely over. I live in south OC so if I were to quit helping my local candidates every time I realized the numbers probably weren’t going to be in our favor, I’d never volunteer to help with any campaign.

    • Sharon Kyle says

      Lori,

      I got a lump in my throat when I first saw Hillary walk into the pavillion with Bill and Chelsea. If she had cried during the speach I’m sure most of the audience would have lost it. And I am not a Hillary supporter but I have to give credit where credit is due. She worked her tail off.

  2. Helen L. Doherty says

    Thank you, Sharon, for the opportunity. I commend you and your club members on a superb outreach program. I will be happy to share with you our concerns in another letter. As we communicate more with each other we learn better ways we can all help each other. United we are unbeatable.

  3. Helen L. Doherty says

    Michael- I commend you on your comments.
    Regarding India, Pakistan and Israel having had women leaders many years ago; if you include Native Americans as part of America…then America has had top level women leaders for a goodly number of years, too. Long before Pelosi became a star.
    Kaitchkona Winema was Chief of the Modoc in 1872. Winema National Forest is named after her. Wilma Mankiller was Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
    Today, most California tribes call their leaders Chair. Mary Ann Andreas was Chair of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and currently serves as its Vice Chair. Lynn Valbuena is a former Chair and now Vice Chair of San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. She also serves as Chair of TASIN (Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations). Native Americans were the first here, yet the last to receive the vote…long after African Americans and women were given that right.
    Unfortunately, the First Americans were the last Americans served. Fortunately, they didn’t wait for that in choosing their own leaders.
    I commend both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama for setting a new tone for America. One of inclusion for all. There isn’t a single group that hasn’t experienced discrimination of some sort. It’s way past time that we all sat down at the table together.
    Together we can bring our wonderful military men and women home from Iraq.
    Together we can scrap Bush’s failed education policy of “No Child Left Behind”.
    Together we can achieve Universal Health Care and restore our economy.
    Together we can celebrate the best in each of us and return to the America of possibilities…and together we can make those possibilities a reality.
    Our first task is to elect President Obama. Together we will do it.

    • Sharon Kyle says

      Helen,

      Our readers need to know more about how our public policies impact Native Americans. Indigenous people across the globe have not fared well under European imperialism/colonialism. The LA Progressive would welcome commentary on the state of Native American lives here in the southland. If you or someone you know can provide that commentary we’d be grateful. This country is not just populated with blacks and whites although it may seem like that’s all we focus on.

  4. Michael says

    I, too, as a male, was amazed at the transformation Ms. Clinton seemed to have made rather naturally from that famous Tuesday speech where she asserted, “what does Sen. Clinton want?” to the Saturday’s tone that acknowledged cracking of glass ceilings and common oppressions, implying the parallels between the constraint that gender and race have played in the standard operations within the establishment in Washington and around the country.

    It is encouraging to see that Sen. Clinton has used this opportunity to urge the support of a fellow survivor of “constraints,” to put race & gender limitations politely. I would note that in the case of black females, they face dual constraints. Instead of being divided, these two elements of our electorate can unite in expecting, supporting demanding and creating a more equitable way of operating in politics which will be echoed in myriad other settings from the board rooms to judicial benches. The expansion of viable opportunities for racial minorities and distaff in the recent presidential campaign signal the changes that are likely for our country, not just from the people at the visible top, but at the grass roots level. It is the work of many young, not so young, females, males and others working together using technology and other resources who’ve found a different way of building a core to support important change in our society. Those changes will be noticed around the globe. With Sen. Clinton setting a model for women, the U. S. is approaching the place that India, Pakistan, Israel and others reached years ago.

    • Juan Jimenez says

      Popularity, experience, determination, and drive are the factors that Ms. H. Clinton can bring to the table and keep Democratic Party in front of this race even draw Republican Voters to cross and vote Obama/Clinton due to Ms. H. Clinton is a White female a plus to Obama race to lock a Victory in this race not split the vote but enhance the VOTING POWER by making HISTORY! 1st Black minority as our President at the same time 1st Female minority as our Vice President! A win win ticket!

  5. Dorinda Moreno says

    Many in my feminist circles know that I have challenged the white privilege that provokes the controversy of ‘choice’ between Obama and Clinton. And, yet on this day I felt compassion for Hillary and gratitude that she articulated support for Barack in a dignified manner.

    Still, we need challenging ourselves as feminists, for ‘white’ women’s organizations and especially NOW, continue this dialogue on the table as necessary for a national healing beyond ‘the first black man’ attaining the nomination for president: racism is a fact of civilization, here and throughout the globe!

    No doubt, there are more barriers ahead and any resentment and anger that would send votes to McCain are counter democratic and humanitarian principles.

    Racism must be addressed for bringing about resolve based on knowledge and understanding of the history of its institutionalization.

  6. Annette Saint John Lawrence says

    I too am a Barack suppoter. When Hillary made her concession speech, I felt nothing short of Compassion for her. I fully appreciated what it
    took to make that speech, expanding herself beyond the inner contraction that can come upon one from such an experience. Her speech
    was cohesive and she admired how in it, she anchored an embedded
    command to “help elect Barack Obama…”.

    Annette

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