Wednesday, February 20, 2008


As a father of a girl, I am beginning to find the Democratic Primary just a bit troubling.

As Obama has gradually ascended to front runner status, I have been mostly happy. I have liked Obama ever since I first heard one of his speeches on television, back when he was running for Senate. I have also always had a great deal of ambivalence when it comes to Hillary. I find her approach to be too partisan, combative, and polarizing; her governing style to be a little too back roomesque; the record of her husband's foreign policy team, likely to be hers as well, to be good only in comparison with the last eight years; her campaign style to be decidedly too nasty; and her husband to be constitutionally banned from having the third term he appears to aspire to.

It certainly is refreshing that Obama is now capturing as much of the white vote as Clinton. What is less refreshing is how much of the white male vote he is capturing, and how many of those white males say they would vote for McCain over Clinton. White women voting for Clinton would mostly support Obama in the general election. Why is the same not true for white male supporters of Obama? It seems that while the country is ready for a Black President, it may not be ready for a female one. There may even be a grain of truth to the idea that Clinton is in jeopardy of losing the Democratic nomination to Obama because she is an assertive, capable, and even nasty woman. These are all qualities traditionally sought after in male leaders, but not so valued in women.

I knew that Dipity would grow up in a world filled with sex happy boys, and predatory adults. I figured that she would have to navigate stereotypes and expectations. Hell, the pink clothing was piling up before she was even born. I'm not nearly naive enough to think that women will have solved the career vs. motherhood conundrum by the time she has to start worrying about it. I certainly know that the prospects of her becoming a professional athlete and supporting me in the style which I deserve to be kept and to which I could easily become accustomed were less than if she were a boy (and less if my wife had gone along with my plan to ask Michael Jordan for some of his sperm). I figured, however, that female leadership in all walks of life would be accepted and acceptable to the majority of Americans. I knew the idea of a woman as President would bother more than a few men. I didn't think that very many would be threatened enough by the idea of a woman as commander and chief not to vote for her, even if doing so compromised their values. Obviously I have been a little naive, and my wife and I will have some extra explaining and warning to do in a decade or two.

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