Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Open Letter to My Mom

This is tough election for Dems. My Mom has flat out said "A black man should not be President before a woman is." My son is black, and I was offended. I am a woman, and I have struggled all my life for professional recognition in spite of my gender. It's a real ambivalence I feel, although I would never, ever, say that "blacks" shouldn't get what somehow white women of privilege should. (After all, she loaned $5million to her campaign, she ain't exactly a washer-woman.)

I can't help but hear the echoes of history, the struggles over abolition and suffrage for women. The fact is that neither women nor blacks have anything close to a real slice of the pie of American wealth.

What saddens me though, is the carping now among Dems. Truly, we can't lose with either Hilary or Obama, though I support Obama. I am tired of hearing that the media has been unfair to Hilary--she rode her husband's coattails to a Senate term and, yes, I'll say it, sold out on Iraq. I read two articles in the Nation and knew better than she did. But forget it, either way--with Obama or Hilary--we'd be better off than we are today.

And every missile we send to our own is a victory for The Man. Keep us fighting amongst ourelves and we will never be a real challenge real power: the oldest strategy.

So this is the letter I sent to my mom, in response to her sending a link to a kvetch about how unfair the media is. It is offered, as Rod Serling might say, for your consideration. I mean, really! A black man and a woman are the top contenders, and we are fighting about it. Is this really nothing short of the Twilight Zone? Wake up, America!


I love you, you know that. I support Obama, you know that. I love Hillary too, you know that. I know that you support Hillary and that you love me.

I am an unapologetic feminist who has worked her entire life in male-dominated trades and professions: laborer through college and lawyer now. I have been called a "lawyerette," scoffed at, bullied and discriminated against. I have also been rewarded for intelligence, vision and integrity without family connection, experience or external genitalia. I happen to believe that intelligence and vision are important in leaders, and that "experience" is something that neither women nor black people have much chance at because we have both been shut out of the inner circle since this nation was founded. I have walked the talk of feminism in my life always, every day. I am a lawyer and single mom, by choice, and I owe a great debt to feminists who came before me. They gave me the duty to choose a candidate based on policy and vision, not on gender, not on race.

I have read all the position papers, which, contrary to the assertions in this column you sent, are not difficult to find--they are but a click away.

I liked John Edwards best, but he's out of the race. One thing feminism did for us was teach us all that we needn't ride our husband's coattails to a dynastic success, and that if we did, we'd be judged on our own merits eventually. Remember what your father said to you? That connections might get you the job, but what you did after you were in the door was on you.

The media is to blame? Who, in this age of internet democratization, really can blame the media unless you rely on the media to spoon feed you your opinions? I know you do not.

Like Michelle Obama, I am proud to be an American, for the first time since we elected Gore and got stuck with Bush. And for the first time since I was born, both I and my son can really really say "I could be President." We, the People, can't possibly lose this time around, no matter who is the Democratic candidate. So could we save our ammo and energy for the general election and quit trying to shoot our collective self in the goddamn foot?


No comments: