09 February 2016

Facebook exchange on Madeleine Allbright's "special place in hell" remarks.

This is a Facebook exchange between me (the original poster) and a Clinton supporter acquaintance. I get accused of taking this stuff too seriously, which may be true, but I adhere to my views as stated here.


I really do think it's disgusting of Madeleine Allbright to try to browbeat women, solely on the basis of gender, to support Hillary Clinton. ("There's a special place in hell for women who don't support each other"). Sure, affirmative action. Sure, aggressive action for equal pay and opportunity. But telling people they should support a woman SOLELY because she is a woman is no better, indeed no different, than the sexism they are fighting.​


"Browbeat?" "Sexism?"

​Me: Nope. How is it not sexist to say you should judge someone solely on the basis of their sex? I would've thought that was pretty much the definition of the term. And it's also definitionally sexist to limit the application only to one sex. Saying the objection is hyperbole amounts to merely labeling rather than addressing substance.

And saying there's a special place in hell for people you don't agree with (Allbright's words) is AT LEAST "browbeating".

Allbright's comments are out of line and indefensible. She should apologize for them.

​Reply: "...a special place in hell..." As you know is a reference to DANTE'S INFERNO. It was meant tongue-in-cheek. Albright is known to have used the idiom many times before. Kinda like "friends don't let friends vote Republican." I think you're a bit quick to umbridge on this one, my dear. I know it stings to have such a powerful and well-respected woman such as Maddy (who also knows what it means to hold a cabinet post) exhort women to stick together and create history by electing the first female US president. What you see as browbeating, I see as legitimate peer pressure. What you see as sexism, I see as an under-respected class linking arms.

​Me: As always, you're entitled to your opinion. As am I. If you substituted LGBT, or black, or hispanic, for the gender identifier, the bias of the remarks would be indisputable. Not surprising, necessarily, but not defensible as a comment made during a public campaign for public office. Racism, homophobia, sexism... all of them have their flip side. And I don't accept the idea that "it's all tongue in cheek." That just doesn't fly in a campaign that is supposed to be based on inclusiveness. People do vote on the basis of bias, but that doesn't excuse openly advocating it. You pretty much acknowledge this, by calling it "legitmate peer pressure." There's nothing legitimate about peer pressure based on identity politics; it's one of the things that's deeply wrong with our society, and IT WORKS BOTH WAYS. And I did not take it as a joke. If it were not YOUR candidate, I suspect you'd be plenty quick to level the criticism. Imagine if Sanders said "We jews have to stick together. Jewish voters should vote for me or God'll get 'em! Ha! Ha!" Maybe it would be laughed off. I doubt it. (Or substitute "Cuban" and Marco Rubio if you want). Stuff you might be able to say (even if in poor taste) in private is just not acceptable in a surrogate for a candidate for president. Clinton should have realized that and distanced herself, which she did not.

OK, this is a blip. But it's an indication, and it is hardly the only one, that Clinton wants to use a sort of feminist tribalism to her advantage, and I am hardly alone in finding that objectionable. When, if she is the nominee, there is a mostly unspoken (dog-whistled, rather), but very real, anti-feminist backlash against her on the right, we Democrats will rightly object to THAT, of course, and insist that the fact that she is a woman has nothing to do with her qualification to be president. As, of course, it does not. But it does work both ways, and she would be wise, even at this stage, to be sensitive to that.


[I had noted in a previous exchange that this gentleman was being patronizing].
I gauge the accuracy on my post by the lenghth of your response.

Which is unworthy of you. And indeed patronizing. I take the failure to address the substance of an argument as concession that it is correct.

OK,  I realize I sometimes come off as a self-righteous blowhard, but the blitheness and condescension towards my objection to tactics which, were the shoe on the other foot, would be treated entirely differently, does get under my skin a little.


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