Fear of a Female President

This is my first piece since moving to the Vegas area. It’s hotter here for sure, though not nearly as humid as it gets back home — or, rather, back around my former home. If it topped 118 degrees back in the Chi, people would be laid out, sticking their heads in the freezer and choking on their own breath. Here, 118 degrees means “Stay your ass in the shade, or the pool.” (There’s one in my backyard, and plenty on the Strip.) I live on the southeastern edge of the Valley, in the foothills of the McCullough Range, which is pretty impressive for a boy from northern Illinois. I’ve traded the Prairie State for the Silver State, a world-famous skyline for the Spring Mountains, Lake Michigan for the Mojave Desert, the cardinal for the bluebird, white-tailed deer for bighorn sheep, oak for piñon, Lincoln for Twain, State Street and the Mag Mile for Fremont Street and the Strip.

Way out in the land of the setting sun,
Where the wind blows wild and free,
There’s a lovely spot, just the only one
That means home sweet home to me.
If you follow the old Kit Carson trail,
Until desert meets the hills,
Oh you certainly will agree with me,
It’s the place of a thousand thrills.

Like America itself, a lot of the people here are from someplace else. Back in Chitown, when you meet someone at the bar or whatever, they’ll tell you they’re from this or that neighborhood or burb. Veguenses, on the other hand, are more likely to name the state or city from which they hail — California (L.A., Frisco), Utah, Boston, Philly, South Carolina, Texas… you get it. Everyone’s on permanent vacation. You can tell by the way they drive on the freeway and chat you up at the supermarket. Being from Chicago-go-go, I’m noticeably tenser and brusque compared to most of the people I meet. I say less and drive faster, like a cabbie having a bad day. But now that I’m a Las Vegan, I suppose I should chill out more, though not too much. After all, there’s no such thing as a chill writer, not a good one, anyway. Writers are usually raging against something or someone, mostly themselves.

Case in point, I nearly shattered my coffee mug against the wall after reading an op-ed in last Sunday’s Las Vegas Sun obnoxiously titled “After overcoming misogyny, it was easy to support Clinton,” in which a recovering sexist writes:

“When I try to ask people why they ‘hate’ Clinton, or how has she been dishonest, all I get is, ‘Everyone knows she is,’ or, ‘That’s just the way I feel.’ These two answers are problematic in so many ways. Regardless, this sentiment is testament to how effective the messaging/propaganda from Republicans has been over the past two decades. All I am asking is this: Can we slow down, think critically and not accept without caution or question what is presented to us as the narrative of Hillary Clinton? Can we also allow for the fact that she has made mistakes and, more important, that she grows and learns from her mistakes?”

You mean like the mistake of backing a military coup in Honduras that removed the elected president in the summer of 2009, an anti-democratic move which Hillary continues to defend despite the violence and corruption it unleashed in the palm oil republic? When Juan González asked candidate Hillary about her department’s response to the coup, the former state secretary explained that, “in retrospect, we managed a very difficult situation, without bloodshed, without a civil war, that led to a new election. And I think that was better for the Honduran people.” Ask Berta Cáceres, Nelson García and the over 100 other environmental activists killed by the coup regime about the lack of bloodshed in Honduras. If you’re still not convinced then, consult the more than 29 journalists, over 160 LGBT activists, and countless indigenous and campesino dead on whether Hillary’s backing of the golpistas forestalled a civil war.

I’m not “hating Hillary” because she’s a woman. My opposition is based on her lack of principles, not her lack of a penis. Her defense of the coup in Honduras and her desire to see Plan Colombia applied to Central America shows how little regard she has for democracy abroad, and the recently leaked emails between the Democratic National Committee’s communications director Luis Miranda and former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Clinton ally, show how little regard Hillary has for democracy at home as well. When Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign only days before the Democratic National Convention in Philly, Hillary named her old pal “honorary chair” of the Clinton campaign. Plus, Hillary’s tapping Senator Tim Kaine, a neoliberal, as her running mate proves she was only pretending to be a progressive to beat Bernie in the primaries. Kaine also happens to be Wasserman Schultz’s predecessor at the DNC, in case there’s still any doubt as to who the status quo, establishment candidate is in this year’s race.

“While Sanders brags that the Democratic Party’s platform, passed at the convention, is the ‘most progressive in history,’ there’s nothing preventing Clinton from ignoring anything progressive in the platform, just as Obama did after he was elected in 2008,” Adam Sanchez writes for the Socialist Worker.

“In fact, Clinton’s choice of a neoliberal hawk, Tim Kaine, for a running mate; her naming of disgraced DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz as an honorary campaign chair within hours of her resignation after WikiLeaks exposed DNC corruption; and the Clinton campaign’s brazen repositioning after the convention to win over disaffected Republicans show that Clinton is sticking to the Democratic Party establishment’s playbook: ignore the left and move to the right.”

It’s for these reasons and others that #ImNotWithHer. Slinging the misogynist label around to ward off criticism against Hillary’s policies and actions is akin to calling anyone critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestine an anti-Semite. Besides, what kind of misogynist dreams of seeing Hillary have her maniacal laugh silenced by Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, in a televised debate? This misogynist, apparently.

Vegas culture aside, I won’t be chilling out on Hillary anytime soon, and it has nothing to do with what’s going on below her shoulders. Hillary is arguably the most capable person to run for president in my lifetime, but it’s the evils she’s capable of — not her boobs — that scare me.


Featured image: State Chancellery of Latvia/Flickr