Friday, September 21, 2007


Rudy has tossed out what the media is calling the first negative ad in the Primaries. Couched in the “Swift boating” motif, it is directed against Hillary.

Of course Hillary has been criticized by John, Barack and their wives. All to be expected since front runners are traditionally targets, but Michele’s latest criticism was troublesome and disappointing.

Despite the fact that Michelle is an intelligent professional woman who has made many contributions to her husband’s campaign, she has recently become somewhat of a joke; carelessly saying things about him in interviews and on the stump that make people feel uncomfortable.

She showed that same lack of care when referencing Hillary recently. It disappointed her fans and reflected badly on her as a future possible first lady. As a woman and an attorney, she should know women’s history and be more careful of what she puts out as facts.

Michelle accused Hillary of using her gender as a reason for people to vote for her and declared that Barack did not use his color that way. True, Hillary speaks to women; to their hopes and fears and mostly to their experiences as women, sisters, wives and mothers. But just listen to Barack’s subject matter, cadence and voice change when he speaks to a Black audience. Compare it to when he speaks in the Senate or to mostly White audiences.

Obviously each candidate uses what they have, what they are. What we fault Michele for is not knowing or ignoring women’s history of oppression in this country. Most women have lived it or studied it in school. We reference this URL for her to inform herself, perhaps she can relate to these pages by a sister attorney:

Briefly here: Historically, women were in most ways slaves; they were non citizens; they could not own property, their children could be taken from them, they were denied advanced education and they had no protection from maltreatment by fathers, brothers, husbands or other males, to give a few examples.

However, they went out and fought for freedom. Women were vocal and instrumental in helping to abolish slavery. They fought for the right to vote, not just for themselves but for the recently emancipated slaves. Despite their efforts, Congress gave the vote only to Black MEN.

That oversight of history will not soon be forgotten by either black or white women. They see in their daily lives even today that there is a tenuous connection between the laws assuring their equality/freedom and reality. It’s not a question of women and men taking turns for jobs or office. For many of us it is a question of equal treatment or even survival.

This country’s massive media continues to ignore the plight of women in military schools, bases and foreign postings; women who have been mistreated, assaulted and raped by the very officers they are forced to obey under the military code.

Cartoonist, Garry Trudeau, almost alone, has addressed this problem again and again. In his latest strip on this subject: Iraq veteran, rape victim, Melissa, is pictured speaking with her counselor who observes that the army did not protect her.

Melissa agrees and adds that she was still ordered to work with her abuser even after she had reported his abuse. Then she tells of how she was cleaning her weapon one day and he came in. She pointed the gun at him without thinking and it froze him. For a brief time he experienced feeling absolutely powerless. Then she lowered the gun and walked away. She observed that it was “the closest I ever came to Justice…”

Many women in America still face similar situations in the workplace, on the streets and even in their homes. They know what the laws have promised, laws that their government has continued to overlook or neglect to enforce. It is unthinkable that anyone campaigning for women’s votes would trivialize it.
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