Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been roundly "booed" for saying that "there is a special place in hell for women who don't support other women." She's apologized for that remark and Hillary has distanced herself from it while acknowledging that Albright has said this many times over the years. Clearly the passion of the moment caught Albright and hurt her good friend Hillary Clinton.
But the quote aside, what underscores Albright's "unforced error" is a hidden truth not in the comment per se but what speaks to the naivete of youth, male and female in the 2016 campaign. Albright like other women of her generation fought to get where they are while dealing with the glass ceiling. Now as highly educated women they have succeeded very well indeed. And Albright feels Hillary has earned our trust and vote.
What women like Albright fail to acknowledge is that most women have not cracked the glass ceiling and like most men are increasingly relegated to the marginal middle class at best. And young mostly white women of privilege unlike Albirght and Clinton have not had to experience this baptism of fire in as hostile an environment. Then how many women of power "pay it forward" when given the chance?
From what I know of Hillary Clinton as a public figure is that she has "paid it forward" in many ways and in her private life as well. Having stayed the course with Slick Willie while raising a marvellous young woman by all accounts, Chelsea, Hillary deserves a lot of credit. Rather than being embittered as the "good wife" she has sucked it up and pushed on with grace and grit. Kudos to her.
Young women need to be reminded but for women like Hillary Clinton their options would be far different today. But that said, Bernie Sanders is right to point out time and time again that white men and their silent partners who compose the 1% of US society have arrogantly lived in privilege while pursuing a path of endless greed which put our nation and the global economy on the edge of an abyss.
But millennials typical of most Americans have no sense of history - all they know is the "now." And the now is about accumulated college debt which compromises career choices, getting married, having kids and buying a home. And they are the lucky ones who don't face homelessness, joblessnes, the cycle of addiction of their peers who didn't go to college but ended in the streets or came home from endless war with PTSD.
I vividly remember my students of privilege in 1970 at Dickinson College who erupted after Kent State. Up to then the campus had been largely silent but then hell broke lose. Why - the men were draft bait, the women had male brothers and/or friends who were draft bait - suddenly the War in Vietnam became very personal. But once Nixon ended the draft - within a year campus eruptions eroded and on to the next issue we went - the environment.
Student debt is personal, tangible so the Bern's promise of "free" public college education is like ending the draft and de-Americanizing the war after Kent State back in the day! It's an appeal to youth self-interest not altruism. Education cannot be free - "there ain't no free lunch." K-12 is NOT FREE ask any Oregon taxpayer! How can college be "free?" You expect college professors to take a vow of poverty? Good luck on that one!
I have a very close friend, like a third son, who has a niece and nephew who like the Bern but may vote for Trump if Hillary is the Democratic nominee. This is a Faustian choice only made possible by a generation who has no sense of history. How one could vote for a Democratic Socialist in a primary, then vote for a neo-Fascist is beyond belief but exit polls show they are not alone and it's not just an age thing!
So my message to youth - do your homework - kick the tires, check under the hood and ask yourself which candidate not only has the rhetoric you like but which one has the resume, the expertise and the common sense to chart a course for all Americans beginning the day they take the oath of office on January 20, 2017? Your November vote may be the most important choice of your life going forward.
I remember being so pissed off at LBJ's damn war and the fiasco of the DNC in Chicago which nominated Humphrey in '68 that I refused to vote for HHH but led a write in campaign in Minnesota for Clean Gene. HHH won his home state so my abortive anger didn't matter but the nation turned to Tricky Dick and that mattered a lot - 5 more years of Vietnam, then Watergate.
Just casting an "I'm pissed off" vote is not enough. Which of these candidates can get the job done facing what President Obama has faced for 7 plus years - an opposition committed before day 1 to make you a failed president! Ideals are fine but every POTUS has to have a certain Machiavellian pragmatism to survive the gauntlet of our highly polarized polity.
Which candidates have the "competence" to use what Richard Neustadt called presidential "power stakes" to be President? Of all the contenders thus far - Hillary comes to mind as does John Kasich and Jeb Bush, both former governors. At this point early on in the campaign, Kasich and Bush look like losers in the GOP trailing The Donald, Cruz and even Rubio. That leaves Hillary as the one most ready for prime time in the Oval Office...
So when push comes to shove why would any young person vote for the flim flam artist Donald Trump, now or in November if the Bern doesn't make it to the finish line in the run for the nomination? My suggestion to Hillary is make the Bern your VP - problem solved... Then the youth vote will be more likely yours. Whatever - young ones - I double dare and triple dog dare you to vote for The Donald.
Normally one would be inclined to say "listen to your elders." But given the climate in this country right now I'm not sure how many "adults" are out there in the voting public. They barely showed up in Iowa and forget New Hampshire which increasingly has become a political theater of the angry and the absurd. It's time for youth to grow up and get over themselves. Not bad for us all...
In Oregon we've been distracted by an absurd and tragic melodrama of our own near Burns, Oregon at the Malheur Field Station which illustrates what happens when the paranoid take center stage. I'm glad it's over before The Donald circus comes to Oregon in our May primary...