Monday, October 31, 2016

a spooky foray into politics

How often have a twisted a story to protect my fragile sense of self? How often have I ignored a potentially painful wake-up call, and protected myself in the comfortable haze of ego? How often have I failed to acknowledge wrongdoing or offer an apology? Does my stubbornness get in the way of reparation? Do I fail to forgive a friend, to see things from her point of view? Do I take ownership of my own agency in painful or hurtful situations? How often do I ignore the challenge of reality; a challenge that forces me to examine my own identity and actions, and extends the same generosity towards others that I practice with myself?

The next time I pick up a stone to throw at Donald Trump’s fragile masculinity, ego, or grasp on reality, may that stone instead turn into a mirror which reflects my own overweening ego and robust pride. Read the full examination of conscience here.

A brief note: I could also write a similar examination for Hillary, I suppose. Which would be fair and bipartisan of me. But I think it would be less entertaining and simply amount to: don't be corrupt (and for the love of all that is holy don't use a private email server).

I certainly don't agree with all of Hillary Clinton's policies, and she isn't my first choice for president ever (and full disclosure: not actually the choice I choosed this time). There's a reason that Obama handily bested her in 2012. Hillary has had a real pock-marked political career. Whatever this shady sitch is with the FBI and emails and servers and whatnot, it doesn't make her look the best. And I'll listen to you tell me that the Clinton Foundation is accepting money from suspect foreign governments, or that she's promoting a broken healthcare system, or that she's beholden to various corporate interests, therefore working in the interests of Big Money. I hear you. I feel you. And I see you.

But what I see when I watch Hillary Clinton during this hullabaloo of a 2016 campaign, and what so many other women see, is someone living a narrative I have felt. She is enduring an overbearing buffoon authorize himself, on the basis of his manhood and no other available empirical evidence, capable of a job he's laughingly unqualified for, which she is supremely qualified for and with which she is intimately familiar. She has waltzed through his hot-headed lambasting with a calm, unshakeable demeanor.

As I watch her wade through the vitriol a man who is far inferior to her foists upon her with poise and (somewhat robotic) humor, I am inspired. As someone still not saintly enough to laugh off being condescended to, I still find the struggle of being a woman in a man's working world irksome at times. In that regard, I count her as a hero. Perhaps I am more enamored with the Idea of Hillary Clinton, than the actual human candidate herself. And maybe that's part of why she's so successful: she is functioning as more of a symbolic figure in this campaign than actual figure. Despite the reminders that continually pop up that the real Hillary is flawed, and not our perfect feminist angel, the symbolic weight of her candidacy has propelled her campaign. Throughout this campaign, she has proved to millions of young women--and young people in general--that you can't let bullies yell you down. And that's admirable.

Now I'll go read about WikiLeaks' emails and some more Clinton-era scandals and get all un-inspired.

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