Thursday, May 29, 2008


This letter came in last week from an old friend, activist, feminist, teacher, Eileen Lundy. I have been, like everyone, reeling on the heels of Clinton’s Bobby Kennedy remark. But that was just the coup de grace of a string of negative campaign tactics from the Clinton campaign which, as a feminist, I find offensive. I have been so discouraged by Clinton’s use of a feminism for political gain that I’ve wanted to delete anything that comes into my mailbox with the word “feminist” in it linked to politics of any kind.

And I have been a feminist my entire adult life.

First Lady is no job for a feminist. I have never been a Clinton fan. One friend wrote, “Hillary is not the first new woman leader, she is the last of the old ones.” Of course, political movements are always abused, sold out, corrupted in the end, and only if we remember the core values and necessities from which a movement was born, can we take back its essential significance. I am stopping myself – before I hit the delete button. I will not close my ears to the plight of women around the world just because one particularly ruthless one has tried to co-opt the movement so she can be an American president.

Movements change and grow. There was an instant when we counted on fingers and calculators the percent of women in high impact jobs and thought, maybe some thought, if we increased that the world would get better. It won’t. There must be a new paradigm. Patriarchal Capitalism is the problem, and women working in that system don’t offer much of an alternative. Men working outside of it do -- as does the sound of millions of people marching for an end to war, for human rights, keys clicking on computers world-wide, the wild and immediate information explosion that is the internet — there is another way of living in the world. Hillary doesn’t get it.

Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King died for it.

Sisters and Friends,

I am a 75 year old, still professionally active women, living and working in Austin, Texas. I support Obama for president, even though I have in the past held great respect for Hilary Clinton. That respect has dimmed somewhat because of her uses of race in some of her campaign remarks and especially in her statement that if Israel is threatened with nuclear weapons from Iran, she as president would see that Iran would be "obliterated." This is a call for genocide, a statement I can't believe she meant, I don't want to believe she meant, in the heat of the campaign, albeit in a quiet interview. The environmentally problematic call for a gas-tax-holiday and the throwing out of the almost unanimous disagreement of economists was another unfortunate heat-of-the-campaign statement. But that kind of "heat" or pressure is the nature of 3 am calls, too.

But what is most regrettable for me in Hillary's campaign is her apparent lack of understanding of what one writer has called the "cultural revolution" beginning, the movement of grassroots groups in enormous numbers. It is change from the ground up and not from the top down. She has yet to grasp this enormous change (see BLESSED UNREST: The Greatest Movement the World Has Ever Known" by Paul Hawkin--a book that begins to document this unparalleled global movement and does not have direct comments on any political campaign but was written before the campaigns began). Hillary is still working under old paradigms that are changing. The change is not ahead of us; it is ongoing already. I would so much like her to see that, but she does not yet show signs that she does, in spite of her keen intelligence and experience.

So I support Obama, who does appear to be much aware of the groundswell upon which we are all walking. And I am deeply disappointed with Emily's List or any other organizations of women that state or imply that support for other than a woman is treachery. I never did ascribe to "My country, right or wrong, my country" and neither can I ascribe to "Women running for office, right or wrong, I'll vote for women."

We women of the US have not yet come of age politically if we must vote for women unconditionally, just because they are women, just because they are strong women, just because a woman comes close to the White House, even if her statements are sometimes troublesome, sometimes directly opposed to the best calls to our society.

Eileen Lundy
American Studies Specialist
Austin, Texas


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