Monday, June 09, 2008

Beyond a Presidential Campaign, "Rise Hillary Rise" becomes embedded in the American Culture

By Faith Chatham - DFWRCC - June 6, 2008The race wasn't about a black man and a woman running for president. Yet, in the process, people watched and noted more than just the "same old same old" campaign dance between political candidates. Now that she has written her supporters and told us that she will officially congratulate Senator Obama Saturday night in Washington, D.C., many of us realize that the real battle is truly just beginning.
It is no longer a struggle against Senator Barak Obama and those who support him. The black v.s. white thing recedes into the background where it should have remained anyway. The struggle is bigger than the Democratic Party or one race for political office, no matter how highly esteemed. As Dr. Martin Luther King led generations beyond the realities of prior generations, Hillary Clinton is leading generations beyond the boxes this nation continues to erect around girls and women.

It will be fought along side of the campaign between Senator McCain and Senator Obama for President. It will be fought in our homes, schools, and communities. It will be fought in the marketplace as women demand more from those we patronize and those who carry their advertising messages.
It was never about supporting her because she was a woman. I was a John Edwards supporter who switched to Hillary when he bit the dust. It wasn't a racial thing. I was a Jesse Jackson delegate years ago. This year, before delegates have actually signed into state conventions and elected those national delegates which have been reported as "done deals" long before they truly 'jelled', the race for nomination of this nation's Democratic candidate for President becomes a whimper.

Somewhere when I was too busy to notice, I aged and became a senior citizen. Like many of my generation, it doesn't fit the stereotype I have of myself. Yet because of that reality, I have a memory. I remember black and white water fountains and I remember words which were commonly used which with time and re-education had fallen out of this nation's vocabulary until the current generation resurrected them in rap and among themselves on the street. They use them because they know they really should not have a place in our society.

That is my point. With time, Americans came to realize that some things should not have voice in our society. Many think this presidential race was about achievements for a segment of our society who have never occupied the White House. Others of us know that it reaches much deeper than the office, the milestone, or the icon. It has drawn to the surface realities which are embedded within our culture.

When this nation was founded, neither people of color nor women were considered candidates for citizenship. Long after the emancipation of the slaves, women were restricted from owning property. In the 1800s in many parts of this nation, widows lost legal control of their minor children because only men were recognized by the courts as legal guardians! Black men got began to vote in the 1860ise. Women waited until 1926!

There have been some advances in the workplace, yet within the culture, the 2008 Presidential Race brings realities rising out of the pores of our culture like puss reaching for the air, rising from an internal, deep-seated infection. Support for Hillary wasn't about gender. In the process, problems with how many in our culture treat women, impacted the race for the White House. As the nomination process winds down, the realities behind the rhetoric and spinmasters, shifts.

If Hillary Clinton had been less competent, less articulate,less wise, the electoral math would put things to rest and this campaign would blurr in our nation's memory. Like Dr. Martin King, she ia incredibly compassionate. Running for President, for Hillary Clinton, wasn't ever about herself. In her run for President has emerged a movement which is greater than all of us.

It is not just about how women are treated in the media or by the Democratic or Republican Party. It is not about getting a woman elected president or bust! It is about everyone being allowed to rise as high and soar as surely as each of us is created to soar. I think feminism will have to be reincarnated in America for us to get to the next plateau in our national development.

Senator Obama said some things about race which needed to be said. We haven't said much in the last 3/4th of my lifetime about gender. Oh, we discuss how the number one cause of death among pregnant women is murder by her baby's father. We discuss domestic violence now. We discuss scandals, especially those involving politicans, priests and other ministers. Yet we rarely truly focus on the inherent inequities we impose on people who aren't male!

The feminist movement got hi-jacked by the gay/leisban movement. They made advances, and I do not fault them for the rest of us being left behind. This spring, for the first time in decades, I've actually regularly heard people (men and women) speak out against the distortation of facts and attempts to marginalize a woman of earned stature.

Hillary Clinton tee-shirts, especially those which read "We will not fall in line" and "Rise Hillary Rise!" are no longer about Barak Obama or the race for the White House. We'll wear them until they become rags because we know there is an infection of injustice deeply embedded within the soul of this nation which must be extracted. It has only begun to rise to the surface. It will take all of us to defeat the Republicans in November. It will take all of us to change the vernacular, to re-educate ourselves and those around us to recognize what really truly should not be given voice among us. Some of it will occur in the financial marketplace. Some in the classroom. Much at the kitchen table (and maybe even in the bedroom). The women of this nation, like Rosa Parks, are refusing to remain in the back of the bus!

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