Why They Rooted for Hillary

From primary season, let's move secondary season; from the singular to the plural.

For as long as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been battling it out for the Democratic nomination, the spotlight's been on them: their qualifications, their promises, their baggage. According to a Pew Center study, in the first half of last year, only three percent of campaign coverage focused on issues. This year, that's stumbled to a pathetic seven percent. It's no surprise.

Feminists say the personal is political. In our privatized economy neoliberals say it's strictly personal. Your troubles, your chances, the way you're treated, it's all unique to -- and determined by -- you! So we're told. It's a convenient way to take systems of wealth and power and privilege out of the picture and a happy-for-some way to eradicate history. We've privatized prisons and health-care and education and war and we do the same to our politics and our politicians. It's all about them.

Well, enough about them. We better make this about us. The people I know who rooted for Hillary Clinton did it for a reason. It wasn't her hair, her shoes, her husband... It was out of a stubborn, long-suffering belief that after centuries of being put second, a woman president might put gender justice first. And by gender justice we mean human justice. As Kavita Ramdas of the Global Fund for Women explained on GRITtv Tuesday night, you can't teeter the welfare of the world on that part of society -- the female part -- that you treat the worst without consequences for the planet.

The Clinton supporters I know long for a president who would reprioritize; a president who would reapportion spending and security and power so that women had our fair share of each. They thought (and many still believe) that it would take a woman to do it -- and maybe it will, but it shouldn't have to. Not if we de-privatize and re-personalize. The problem -- it's not about her. And the solution -- it's not about him. It's about us.

Watch this commentary and a rollicking conversation among women on race and class and gender in the '08 race on GRITtv. "GRITtv with Laura Flanders" plays on Free Speech TV directly following Democracy Now, and online, at GRITtv.org. Sign up for a video feed.

Laura Flanders is the host of RadioNation and the author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians, out now from The Penguin Press.

(c) 2008 The Nation

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