I can’t belief I’m writing this post. It seems a ridiculous topic because everyone and their dog has weighed in on this political drama. I’m not even sure what either party is stumping anymore. Full disclosure: I’m Canadian. We have boring politics. We voted out our last prime minister because he became too cloak and dagger with his policy decisions. We voted in Trudeau because a) he’s handsome (yes, really) b)incredibly idealistic and c)naively optimistic; everything a prime minister needs to be righteous. We love righteousness with a dollop of humble pie. That is where American and Canadians are fundamentally different: we conceal contempt in favor of a begrudging handshake because we hate being the moral underdog. Americans express contempt by right of moral authority. Which one is the hypocrite? It doesn’t really matter. This post isn’t about the best approach to being heard. It is about women in politics. YES! A feminist rant. Please brace yourselves.
Here is the backstory. My daughter and I have being going for about a year to playgroup hosted by a Baptist church as part of their community outreach. I’m not Baptist. I’m not Christian. Or Muslim. Or Jewish. I grew up on First Nations reserves and I would say I’m closest to being an animist: the belief that all living things have a spirit and that we must peacefully coexist with Mother Earth through an acceptance of our humble place in its inspiring dynamics. I go to the playgroup because they have excellent coffee, lots of snacks for the kids and parents and the conversation is good. I’ve never hidden these facts and they know I won’t be attending bible studies anytime soon. Every week the playgroup is hosted by the church coordinator, a lovely woman in her 50s that is always generous with her hugs and has an easy smile. I’ve never had reason to be wary of her opinion or judgement.
Two days ago, a mother wanted to kick up a quick conversation by asking me if I’d watched the second televised debate between Hillary and Trump. No, I hadn’t. I stated: I have no desire to watch Trump speak; he does not speak with meaning or purpose but only with vitriol. The mother concurred and thought he was possibly crazy. The church coordinator piped up: no one should vote for Hillary; she cannot be trusted. Which meant: the Americans should vote for Trump. I said a few more things on the subject, well aware the church coordinator was not speaking due to her disagreement with my favored choice for president. I left the room to finish packing away some toys, thinking no more of it. When I returned a few minutes later, I entered upon the last utterance to the mother: no woman should be a world leader. The church coordinator immediately changed the topic upon my reentry into the room and thanked me (twice) for my help. A classic Canadian moment. Bleh.
If I had to describe the line drawn in the sand between Hillary and Trump, I would say it is the demarcation of two perceived crimes: a husband’s adultery and the triumph of a woman scorned. If ever there was a reason to elevate a woman’s transgressions to the crimes of her husband, I naively calculated Hillary’s post coital loyalty to her husband to be cancelled out by Trump’s own philandering. How wrong I was. It seems that adultery is a crime that doles out justice on a sliding scale; men may be forgiven but a woman is bonded in perpetuity to her own foolishness, either as victim or wrongdoer.
Hillary can and should be a world leader. She is smart and politically savvy and tough as nails. She does not succumb to outbursts of emotion under extreme verbal assault and doesn’t flinch from over inflated threats. She is a class act. It is ironic that her adversary is unable to exhibit the same restraint and whose histrionics undermine his legitimacy to pass judgement on women. I’m only disappointed that other women would attempt to do the same. In 2016, the disparity in moral indignation towards men and women for equal crimes is hard to behold. As a good feminist or maybe just an idealist, I’ll have my champagne ready on election night. Good luck Hillary and may your good fortune sweep forth the winds of change. It seems the moral righteousness of men and women, American and Canadian alike, could use a good dusting.