Saturday, May 10, 2008

Further Reflection...

on the previous office softball & politics post.

Watching a bad late night show last night, something must be said in response to the last post.

It's not about a white women vs. a black man. By comparison, both plights are equally frustrating when trying to break into the cultural/societal/political values of the greater population. Sometimes, women get the bum end of the deal. Sometimes, people of a racial minority do. A greater number of the time, people of minority sexual orientations do as well. The true problem is happening in the current political atmosphere as a whole. By staging a proxy war between a black male candidate and a white woman, the traditional upper middle class, straight male majority serving in politics gets the best of both worlds: not only do they see these two groups fracture within themselves and among themselves, they also get to blame both groups if everything goes sour and pear shaped in November.

Last night, on a show that will remain anonymous, the loud mouthed comic reported something like this: "Hillary's campaign is losing funds, and is in debt--they are looking for ways to save money, cutting the budget for travel expenses, including hotels. You know what that means: Hillary and Bill will have to actually share a bedroom!" (insert copious audience laughing and applause here).

This was all in good fun (and nobody likes somebody who takes things toooooo seriously), but how fair is it to punish the victim of the adultery, and not the source itself? It seems Bill gets to be the playboy, where Hillary is the hard-arsed loser. Her apparent sexual ineptitude has always been a point for comedians, pundits, and even other politicians (don't forget McCain's joke about Hillary's and Janet Reno's love child, Chelsea). It has become perfectly acceptable to use the sins of the husband to damn the innocent wife in a political arena. Both David Paterson, the new governor of NY, and his wife admitted to affairs--and yet because they were up front about it, the media coverage has been distilled. This is good--Paterson seems a decent fellow, but the question is, where are the jokes about Michelle Paterson wishing for a separate room in their newly acquired mansion? Maybe a nice little zinger about "what he can't SEE, can't hurt him?" (for those non-NYer's, Gov. Paterson is legally blind).

But it does go both ways (gender and racial stereotyping)--Clinton, despite her huge cash-stash (from book deals and Clinton foundation funds), is not seen as "elitist" as Obama, and the idea that he can't connect with a poorer base is thrown around, one reason being that in this country, the racial divide is so pervasive that it's not just black and white, but rich black, poor black, educated black, etc., etc., etc.-- It's all about being "black enough" to hold on to that voter base, while not being the "Jeremiah Wright-Type Black" that scares away a large number of poor white Southern Democrats and independents (mostly).

It seems neither candidate can exist as simply who they are, or what they want to push forward with, and sadly, the prevailing notion is to pit them against each other (and their multiple defined selves) instead of worrying about who exactly is pulling those strings to make it so. Neither should have to "get out" of the race until one is named the victor (or victoress), but the blame shouldn't be shouldered by either one due to their long battle if the democrats lose in November--they're just playing out the primary game set up by the democratic primary rule makers (who are those old white dudes, yet again!).

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