I have never been a big fan of the “what if’s” and “if only’s.” Yet, there is one “what if” that has haunted me for some time and I want to explore it.
When Ted Kennedy got the bee in his bonnet that Barack Obama should be the next President and carry on the legacy of democracy he and some others believed in, I could understand that he wanted Obama to carry this legacy forward. Yet, perhaps I understood his desire from a feminist perspective. Now, given that this feminist perspective did not carry a lot of weight in Washington D.C. at that time – nor does it now, I also understand.
The way I understood Kennedy’s backing of Obama was from a white male power structure model. Even though I was a woman, I had to learn and understand this model because I was a woman in a white male dominated society. Kennedy did not have to understand my feminist model to survive in the society or in Washington D.C. because he was male and white. in fact, he did not even have to know there was/is a female system in order to survive. He did not even have to know these systems existed because he did not need them. His perceived white male system ran everything. Therefore, he was limited in his vision and understanding.
Yet, Kennedy was a good man. He understood plurality and the need for it in this democracy of ours and he wanted to support plurality. For that, he was a good man. Oh, yes, he had his faults AND he was a good white man – with all the limitations that that implies.
Because of Kennedy’s limitations, he was impetuous. He believed he knew what was right and what was the best thing to do. He believed in his self-centered ideas and he wanted to get them implemented before he passed on. Also, Barack, because of his education in elite, prestigious, white-dominated schools, at some ultimate level, seemed familiar to him. So, he and other influential white men backed Obama.
Hillary was, in many ways, less understood. She was white all right, and as Freud and others have said, “men never really understand women and are afraid of them.” They, therefore, have their place and their place is beneath men.
I have long believed that when Barack ran against Hillary in the primary in 2008, it was and should have been Hillary’s turn.
I thought that Barack was a good man and it was certainly time to have a black man and a woman for President. I hoped that we, as a nation, had matured enough for both.
Yet, my perception was that Barack had two flaws that would be detrimental. He was too young. He needed to be supported by more experience, wisdom, and maturity if he were to do the best job he could do. And, maturity would, I hoped, perhaps, in such a man, help him deal with his second flaw which was his particular brand of ambition. More maturity and dealing with this ambition flaw would make him a good President.
I was sure either Hillary or Barack would take a good beating no matter which was elected because the White Male System and the “old boys club” does not give up easily.
What was clear to me was that if everyone got behind Hillary and she was elected (and I believe she would have been), sane pluralists could have held the White House for eight years with Hillary then a more mature, more seasoned Barack could have come in and pluralists could have held the White House for 16 years during a time of great immigration and changes throughout the world. This perspective is important.
As we have attempted in the past, we could have led the world into real democracy with a model of “all people created equal” with a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and a participatory “say” for everyone.
Well, of course, the above did not happen. We are, after all, human and limited by our human foibles. Yet, it is interesting to speculate and wonder while dealing with what is.
Both speculation and wonder and the ability to imagine what can be are necessary for each of us as individuals and all of us, as a nation to heal, learn and grow. It is sad, sometimes, to see how hard we make life for ourselves, personally and collectively.
I once had a friend who said this his family motto: “Think carefully, isn’t there a more difficult way?” It seems, ultimately, we humans came from the same family.