It's the same in any lingo

בַּת-בָּבֶל, הַשְּׁדוּדָה: אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ-- אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ, שֶׁגָּמַלְתּ לָנוּ
אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ-- אֶל-הַסָּלַע

How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when? ~ Rav Hillel, Pirke Avot

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes
Wear It With Pride

12 December 2008

Unfinished Business: Secretary of State Clinton

I have not commented as yet on Senator Clinton’s appointment to the position of Secretary of State. I have been content to watch and read the debate unfold over the past several weeks. For me, her accepting this post is a mixed bag.

Her uncompromising voice for democratic values in the Senate, particularly on the issue of FISA; her ceaseless advocacy for women, whether it be strengthening family planning, access to health care, or rights; her devotion to fighting for children’s environmental protections, and shedding light on the need for early childhood education across economic and social lines; her stand on ending the possibility of burying nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain…all this has made her an essential force in our legislature. I for one, will miss her standing up on the Senate floor.

She now ascends to a larger, broader stage, where she will bring her depth of knowledge, critical, eye, and ability to connect various threads, to hone and craft solutions to a myriad of crises and situations. When faced with the list of alternatives, I can think of no one better suited to this position than her.

Many are disappointed by what they see as her choosing to prop up the man cub that would be king by taking this job. Others feel betrayed, and have since the summer, when she did not take her fight for the nomination to the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.  I admit that I myself crapped a whale watching her call for a vote of acclamation from the floor, compounded by the bowel perforating sham that was the roll call.  All 47 Arkansas delegates voted for Pampers?  Not without serious arm twisting shenanigans, which no one in the media was interested in looking into as they were far too busy selling the "party unity" meme.  Though honestly, what disappointed me most was that she did not go before the Credentials Committee and at least make them address the sham of May 31, 2008.

But in the end, what could she have done?  Who in the Democrat Party leadership was willing to stand up and demand that the delegates be allowed to vote openly?  After what happened at the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting it was obvious that the Pampers train was not going to be stopped, and that Clinton was going to be tied to the tracks.  Partisanship overrides Principle, and that is the problem in the end isn't it?

I have said many times on this blog that what distinguishes Senator Clinton from many of her peers, particularly the Resident-select, is that she is a public servant first, a politician second. She did not move to New York, as her detractors callously suggest, simply to run for Senate so that she could position herself to run for the White House. She has made a career out of advocacy, and every move that she makes is to strengthen her ability to carry out all that this entails.

She did not run for President to become the first woman elected. She did not run for President to fulfill the dreams and desires of American women, many of whom have callously abandoned her as she makes this move. When I see this I wonder just how many of these people really understand who she is, and what she is about.

She was viciously attacked by the media, and the Resident-select, in unforgivable fits of misogyny, that have turned so many of us away we are fashioning ourselves into journalists and advocates ourselves. These attacks however do not define her. Senator Clinton has been beyond the women’s rights movement for her entire career. Where is she then? She is standing on the shoulders of Dr. King. She believes in his vision of the Promised Land. I have said before, and will say again that King’s dream was not getting a man of color in the White House. It was that we would learn to see the rights of everyone as being as sacred and worth defending as our own.  Again and again Hillary Clinton echoes that call, as she did in Beijing, and as recently as June 7, 2008 in Washington D.C.

We are not all “other.” Women, men, children from everywhere, regardless of who, what, where, or which way, are endowed with the same rights, but billions…billions of us face circumstances where forces outside of ourselves work tirelessly to deny us those rights; our indefeasible human rights. Not indigenous rights, not gay rights, not religious rights, children’s rights, or women’s rights: HUMAN RIGHTS.

Our struggle, in the end, is the same. The forces that oppose us, in the end, are the same.  The blood we shed in the struggle is the same. Your need and desire for your rights and freedoms is no more or less important than mine because it is the same struggle, so if you say, “Mine are more important than yours,” you fail to see what Hillary Clinton stands for, and fail to see why she is willing to put her political life on the line to be Secretary of State; just as she did in 1995 when she went to Beijing against the wishes of her President’s Department of State, his advisers, and the President himself. She risked alienating everyone, and risked her life, to stand before women of the world and urge them to enjoin their struggle with the struggles of all people because they are fighting for the same thing. She urged women to stand up and say we too are human, and this struggle belongs to us. And she challenged the world to accept that women and girls are entitled to the same protections and freedom from oppression as men and boys.

No more honor killings. No more slavery. No more rape. No more burnings with fire and acid. No more imprisonment without due process. No more forced circumcisions. No more torture. No more genocide. These are not rights simply for women. This is the universal struggle.

The fourth wave of feminism is here. It is here, and Hillary Clinton ushered it in. Women’s rights are human rights, and the struggle for human rights is the struggle for women’s rights. We stand together or we fall silent alone. And it is the women who should be leading all of us. And they are. The Gulabi Gang in India stood up for themselves against injustices they were facing. Now they stand up against economic and caste prejudices, on behalf of women, men, and children. When they defend others, they strengthen themselves. They are becoming the leaders, and their status grows. Here in America women are starting to do the same. This is the fourth wave: assuming power, and leading the fight.

NOW, NARAL, Emily’s List; the all betrayed what they stood for in 2008. They are fast becoming irrelevant, but women are standing up and building new institutions. 

That is what Hillary Clinton is about. That is why she is accepting the Department of State. She owes no loyalty to those who campaigned for her. She owes us nothing. I did not support her because she is a woman. I supported her because I know she understands that the fight is to be joined in all our names, genders, orientations, races, class, age and creed. I supported her because her vision is the legacy of Dr. King.

There will always be men and women to call her shrill, mock her laugh, call her a bitch, a whore, grope her cutout, make misogynist bumper stickers and t-shirts about her. She will go on in spite of it. When asked to iron a man’s shirt she will turn on the lights in the room so that everyone can see the sexism. But she will not stop. She will not back down. She will follow her own advice that she gave us in Denver. She will keep going, and she will do what she feels she must to insure that she can. Her detractors (I’m talking about you Rush and your “Sexretary of State” crap) will say this is just her cold, calculating, power-hungry Hillary way. I suspect that if she met him she’d just give him a Tweety pinch on the cheek and say, “Oh, Rush.”

It is already apparent that she will be making advocacy for children a priority. No doubt she will do the same for women, and other marginalized communities in the countries we deal with, and no doubt in countries to whom we doggedly turn a blind eye, as they do not produce oil, or some other such commodity that we deem more important than human rights.

I believe we will be seeing a dramatic shift in the way our State Department deals with the world. I suppose there will be career diplomats who will have no desire to step out of their comfort zones and push to move humanity forward, instead of dickering in little backroom games that benefit the powerful and leave the voiceless in perpetual destitution. I suspect, as in all things Hillary, they will play her game, or they will be gone.

Many have said she will have to do the President’s bidding. I can’t remember the last time she did anyone’s bidding without getting something else in exchange. I have a feeling that is how she got this job. The Resident-select wants only one thing; to be reselected. He will allow Hillary to do what she does, or he will drown. He has no foreign policy agenda. He has no legislative agenda. There is no issue he is passionate about. He is passionate about himself. Others will do the work for him. Will we be stuck with him for another four years because of what she does? He only gets reselected because people vote for him. It is up to us to defeat him, not Hillary Clinton. Her job is to make sure the foreign ship of state is vigilant against those that would do us harm, work for peace, expand and strengthen our alliances, and do what she can under the umbrella of America’s might to help those around the world who have no voice. For too long our foreign policy has been conducted on the backs of the human rights of others, in Tibet, where the people are facing cultural genocide at the hands of the Han; in Africa, where people face physical genocide because of governmental indifference, and the need for oil; in Arab countries, where women are shrouded, doused with acid, and have their tongues cut out; in South America where indigenous nations are decimated in the name of profits. Will Secretary of State Clinton solve these problems? I will not say that. But I can say that she will be far less likely to ignore them. And I’m pretty confident that the President-Select will not be so stupid as to stand in the way.

I applaud the notion of Secretary of State Clinton. At least there is something to be optimistic about for the next four years. I have no such faith in the Clown Prince of Fraud. Senator Clinton, I wish you luck, and success. I would wish strength for you, but that I know is something you already possess.


Anonymous said...

I continue to have ambivalence about this whole matter, but your essay draws on the poignancy and possibility of the appointment with the absence of blinders. Tonight, in a bout of insomnia, I watched John McCain on Letterman, sincerely lauding Hillary and the choice. He pointed out her strength in the Senate, but acknowledged her relative impotence due to all the vaguaries of seniority, etc. He minimized his discussion of the fraud, thankfully. Despite my disappointment in McCain since the election, he stood head and shoulders above what we are looking at now. And Hillary is even higher above the both of them. I believe she will accomplish a lot, as she always has. The joker-in-chief can eat his heart out. BTW, some or most of those career statespeople are probably more caring and educated than the appointees and I betcha Hillary will optimize their capabilities.

Anne said...

Terrific post.It would be so much better if Hill was the POTUS elect, but frankly, we need Hillary however we can get her.

Anonymous said...

Great post. You live in the real world. Thank you.