Hillary vs Trump

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.

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Petulant Daughters

I love my kids.  I love my son for his zombie humor and his older-than-eight-years introspection and thoughtfulness.  I love my three year old daughter for her complete and utter belief in the empowerment of little girls and in her superhero awesomeness.  They are fascinating creatures to watch – better than television.   At this stage of the parenthood game I have a few tricks up my sleeve and a well of patience I’ve dug from the multitude of traumatizing experiences of being a parent: public tantrums, pale yellow torrents of diarrhea that signal impending vomiting, horrific embarrassment after your child ‘truths’ you out to your friends (yes, I think your kid plays too many video games), and of course the epic fail of realizing the movie you watched was totally inappropriate for your 3 year old and she tells everyone she meets about the “monster sucking out the man’s eyeballs and eating them.”   When you’ve committed $60 to the movie tickets and the snacks, your moral compass gets hocked.

For all my procreating hubris, there is one challenge that I have yet to meet eye to eye – that of the petulant daughter.   Our family doesn’t have the best track record of mother-daughter relationships.  They are fraught with narcissism and in some instances, mental illness.  Sons seems better adept at rolling with the punches – thank you Oedipus and the simplified social gratification of men.  Women’s brains are hardwired for mapping out the circuitous routes of hierarchy and alliance.  We are by nature striving for the perfection of give and take and so we are incredibly perceptive of imbalance.  It only took several thousand years to begin balancing the scales of housework and career with our spouses because as you know, women have the ability to hold a grudge for a very, very long time.  It drives us to betterment. Or at least pushes us to take a step upwards on the ladder of whatever social contrivance we are trying to best.  I suppose it is no small wonder our daughters’ first rung in on the backs of their mothers.

My daughter wants power to do as she pleases.  My job is to temper her enthusiasm with facts.  Yes, you must wear a winter coat, it is -10C outside and you will catch a cold if you don’t.  Yes, you must be kind and gentle to other children because no one will play with you if you yell at them.  Yes, you must hold my hand while we cross the street because the odds of being hit by a car climb substantially if you run out on your own.  I have to remind her daily it is my job to keep her safe and teach her the social customs that will allow her to get along with the world.  I have had the same conversations with my son and he accepts these truths  wholeheartedly.  My daughter begrudges my interference.

What is a Mom to do?  Alas, I have been a petulant daughter, myself.  Inevitably, daughters will cast off what they will and accept what they wish.  It is a process as old as fermentation.  Sometimes you get a wonderful byproduct such as bread and beer and sometimes it is a rotting mess of a science project gone awry.  There is a certain comfort in knowing you are raising the next matriarch.  She will take over the planning and preparation of family feasts and will ensure the connectivity of her brethren.  It is innate.  I must remind myself to step back, step back and watch.  My daughter needs the freedom to explore her superhero awesomeness.  Today she will leap from her bed onto a pile of stuffies, gaining mementos of confidence and tomorrow she will argue and provide counterattack to perceived parental injustice.  She must do this because in the future she will battle greater foe than I.   In the meantime, I will provide her with the best memories I can (sorry about the eyeballs), keep her safe and love her with every ounce of my soul and heart.