Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Two Cents On The Democratic Race

Happy New Year to all. Below is something I've been thinking about lately...

It’s been some years since I lived in the US and while I still have friends and family there I am not as keen to know what’s going on there as I used to be. However, being in Canada, it’s hard to ignore the fact there is a hot lead up to the presidential race going on south of our border at the moment. I consider myself more a supporter of the Democrats than the Republicans because there are a great deal more issues that I and the Democrats agree on. As I previously mentioned, it's hard to ignore the overwhelming amount of news on the current political climate down South. Thus, I have been following the progress of the current candidates from each of the two major parties that are vying to become their party’s nominee for the presidential race.

Two of the main frontrunners in the Democratic race, as I’m sure most of the world knows by now, are Barack Obama, the would-be first Black president, and Hilary Clinton, the would-be first female president. If I were trying to decide how to vote, that would be a tough decision for me. As a Black person I look forward to the day the US, undeniably the world’s current superpower, even with its waning influence, has its first Black president. However, as a woman, I also look forward to the day the US has its first female president. I wouldn’t have thought that the first time there is a possibility of either happening it would mean that one has to win over the other. I think both candidates have good ideas. Despite Hilary thinking she has more experience, she doesn’t really so they’re both about equal on experience. And so I would be stuck.

To be honest, up until yesterday, I had been rooting mostly for Obama. However, yesterday, all the news articles that I read were commenting on Hilary’s emotional, “close to tears” behaviour on a campaign stop in New Hampshire (this was before the results came out) [Times Online, BBC News Online]. I hated how it was implied that being a little emotional is wrong for a presidential hopeful. In fact, the main underlying point that I got from many of the articles was that women will always get a little emotional when the going gets tough and that is bad for politics. And then my feminist side got angry because, of course, this type of thinking would mean that the man’s way is the best way.

Women haven’t really had a chance to be themselves in the boardroom or in politics because men have always run the show and so the choice has always been to follow suit or settle for something less. I bet that, of the women currently running companies or countries, hardly any of them decided to stray far from the pattern established by men. That is a sad fact to me. I know that it will be hard to change the way we think right now to have a society in place where women would run the world very differently. Too many millennia of accepted behaviour have been established by men so that most women now consciously or subconsciously think that the man’s way is the best way. Oftentimes, I wonder what the world would be like if women ran it their own way, from the beginning. I really and truly believe that there would be less wars and conflict.

So yesterday, after reading the articles, I felt like taking Hilary’s side for a bit. It seems that my sentiments were shared by many women in New Hampshire as she convincingly beat Barack, in great part due to her winning a much larger share of the women voters. However, now that Hilary has won something, I’ve started to contemplate on all the obstacles that people of colour have faced and continue to face in the US and how great it would be to have a Black president. But that’s another story….

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