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Not my kind of feminism

Gloria Steinem claimed that women who support Bernie Sanders do so to meet men. She has apologized for it since--and far be it from me to deny any actual apologies made for an asshole statement--but isn't this the kind of statement that we would have thought was never in her vocabulary as a feminist--as one of our primary feminists? And the statement that preceded it, "When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” is an incredible slap to young women, Ms. Steinem's way of saying they aren't serious; they aren't idealists; they don't have causes. This from someone who was one of feminism's brightest lights as a young woman.

Madeleine Albright told women that there was a special spot in hell for women who did not support other women. Really? We are all supposed to fall in line and support any woman, however poorly we feel about that woman's attitude, record, plans, and associates? By these lights, we should be voting for Carly Fiorina, except she's running for the same office. Whatever happened to a woman's right to vote her conscience, Madeleine?

Is this how it's going to be? No wonder younger women are so disillusioned with the feminist movement, when its elders savage those who don't toe the "party line" and vote for those these selfsame elders alone feel are right for the office. No one wants to be told she is voting her ovaries, or his/zir friend is doing so. Having battled for the right to have it accepted that we have brains, very few of us want to be told we are to put ours aside and only choose candidates with the proper reproductive glands. Isn't the whole (ideal) point of an election that voters carefully consider the qualifications and (firm) political positions of the candidates, regardless of gender, and vote for the least equivocal choice, human nature being what it is?

I have waited 50 long years to vote for a woman for president--but this will not be that year. I have come a long way from the little girl who cheered for Margaret Chase Smith at the Republican Convention, and cried when she failed the ballot, not then understanding the difference between Republicans and Democrats. I have come a very long way indeed, because I cannot vote for a candidate I do not trust to retain her stated beliefs from year to year, who only remembered to court the feminist vote when her numbers didn't live up to her expectation. This candidate signed the Patriot Act twice. She pushed for our Afghanistan troop surge as Secretary of State, supports the deadly "drone war", and brags about increasing sanctions on Iran when Iran's people were the ones who suffered for it, not those who supported its nuclear program. I can't begin to put words to my disgust for her pals on Wall Street, who pay her campaign bills as they enrich themselves, make the poor poorer, and slowly suck the middle class into poverty. (I know a lot about poverty. Ask me about it sometime.) She has promoted hydrofracking (a process I've spent the last five years arguing against in my state) on a worldwide basis. (Who knows? Maybe, with this record, she should have run as a Republican, but I guess Bill would be a problem then.)

Being a feminist means making up your own mind. It means not slamming other women, whether they are making cookies, banging your feckless husband, or being slammed by your friends. It means considering all of the options, and then voting what YOU feel is right. And that goes for Independents (like me) and Republican women, too.

And now I find I will be voting for Clinton, because the alternative is so much worse. Politics. Ain't it grand?

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