April 22, 2015 10 Comments
In full disclosure, I dislike Hillary Clinton (nor am I fond of Bill) and it would probably not be amiss to add that I have little more regard for the Bushes. All of them together epitomize things about politics in America that I dislike, chiefly the rise of politics as a career path nearly approaching dynasties.
That said, In the 2008 campaign, I did admire Hillary, she refused to campaign simply as a woman but, on her ideas. I wasn’t likely to support her, since I think they were (and are) wrong ideas that benefit only the state and its sycophants but, that’s different matter.
Brendan O’Neill wrote on Spiked a few days ago about his views, and here they are.
Clinton’s gender-obsessed campaign confirms the end of political life.
If you want to see how small politics has become in the 21st century, just look at Hillary Clinton’s chucking of her hat into the 2016 US presidential race. Or better still, look at the response to her unveiling of her presidential ambitions, the chorus of cheers and whoops that greeted her decision to make hers a gender-focused, grandmotherly, womanish campaign, in which, as one excited observer puts it, sex – as in biology, not raunch – will form a ‘core plank’ of Hillary’s stab for the White House. What this speaks to is the suffocating extent to which the politics of identity, the accident of who we are, the lottery of our natural characteristics, is now paramount in the political sphere, having violently elbowed aside the old politics of ideas, and substance, and conviction.
Hillary’s presidential launch confirms that, in the space of just seven years, identity has become pretty much the only game in the town of politics. For as many commentators are pointing out, even as recently as 2008, when she stood against Barack Obama in the clash to become the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary wasn’t all about gender. There was something else. ‘Ms Clinton played down the gender role the first time she ran for the top job’, as one American news report puts it: ‘But this time it’s expected to be a core plank of her campaign.’ Back in 2008, Clinton did ‘her best to make gender a non-issue; this time it’s expected to be the opposite’. The Guardian, long-time supporter of the Clintons, especially when Bill bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 (liberals loved war back then), gushes about the fact that Hillary is playing the gender card. Where in 2008 she ‘struggled against the idea’ that she was striking a blow for her gender – that is, she foolishly though her views counted for more than her vagina – this time she will put ‘gender at the forefront of her presidential race’ to become ‘grandmother-in-chief’, says the Guardian approvingly. We will never know if the supposedly feministic Guardian’s leader-writers stopped to think that it might be a tad patronising to define a woman who has been involved in law and politics for 40 years by the fact that she’s a granny.
But of course, that’s the card Hillary herself is playing. She uses the Twitter hashtag #GrandmothersKnowBest (one wonders if that will be printed on the side of the missiles she fires at errant states that dare to piss off Madam President). And her launch video was all about gender. Primarily featuring women – and of course containing a nod to gay marriage, for it is political suicide for any public official to fail to genuflect cravenly before this most orthodox of modern orthodoxies –her video is an identity-fest. It says nothing of policy – bar supporting families and being nice to working people – and instead tick-boxes all identities, especially gender ones. Young woman? Check. Ethnic woman? Check. Old woman? Check. Mexicans? Check. Gays? Check, check, check. Left-leaning observers are falling over themselves to pat Granny Hillary on the back for what one describes as her ‘shift in tone from 2008 to 2016’, where she will now be ‘running as a woman’. In 2008, she ran as a politician; in 2016, she will run as a woman. How, precisely, is this ‘shift in tone’ from defining a female candidate by her politics to defining her by her gender a positive thing?
Continue reading: The rise of Hillary and the death of politics | Brendan O’Neill | spiked.
And that’s sad, on many levels. But mostly because it tells us that a (perhaps large) group of Americans no longer believe in the worth of individual, only groups, women, Hispanics, the poor, whatever. That is not what America was ever about, America has always been about social mobility, if you don’t like where you are, get to work and fix it.
The American dream was never about things, a chicken in every pot, a house in the suburbs, all those other slogans we have heard. It’s about making it on your own, that why our ancestor’s left Europe, and it limiting class structure. In a phrase, “to breathe free”.
In his last paragraph, Brendan says this:
Where the politics of conviction treated us as political subjects, shaping the world through argument and analysis and action, the politics of identity makes us biological objects, shaped by our natural characteristics or our skin colour or by our private choices to have kids, to have grandkids, to be gay, to be married, or whatever.
i can’t improve on that, and that is what is at stake in this election.