Thursday, November 08, 2007

Some reflections as the air turns cold

Perhaps the time has come to make some mention of our presidential hopefuls, painful though it may be for my fingers to tap the accursed keys. By way of an introduction, I will only say that my observations here should reflect many hours of shielding myself from most of what passes for "campaign coverage" -- or, the tallying of that quickly depreciating entity, someday to be remembered fondly as the American dollar, as it is deposited into the respective "war chests" (or, in the case of Kucinich, "sanity's tip jar.") However, as it is virtually impossible to talk "politics" without being pulled into the same vortex of refined inanity that accompanies celebrity concerns of any occasion -- sport, film or whathaveyou -- I am resigned to offer some elementary observations.


Hillary Clinton is as terrible a place to begin as any; so, for our purposes, she should prove satisfactory. What is the best thing that can be said her? Indisputably, she is a woman; clearly, this holds monumental symbolic value in a nation that preferences men. As president, she would truly be the first of her kind. Unfortunately, so was Margaret Thatcher, which only underscores the reality of how dangerous the conquest for power really is. It is the reason why Frodo threw the One Ring into the fire, rather than adorn it for the feminist cause or for any cause: because power becomes an end in itself -- invariably so in its concentrated forms. To paraphrase Foucault, it is hardly a service to the woman's cause to bow at the altar of the very god which dominates and exploits them -- not sexist attitudes, per se, but the infrastructure of power which amplifies their effects until they prove harmful. Of course, passage of an Equal Rights Amendment under Clinton is a real possibility; on the other hand, it is virtually assured that many innocent people will pay the price for her presidency with their lives in whatever foreign theaters she hopes to act out her "executive resolve." The value of human gain must always be weighed with the human costs which accompany them; this is the balance which power always strives to conceal.

Naturally, Clinton cannot be singled-out in the conquest for power, since this is what pursuing the presidency currently means. But it is worth underscoring the inevitable violence of power, especially so in instances where we perceive some likely benefit to ourselves -- in this case, having a woman as president. We do ourselves a disservice to ignore the full spectrum of probable outcomes of a Clinton presidency, whatever conclusions we finally draw from them.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Thanks for painting the "big picture" of multi-tiered, complicated social issues, my good man.

In general, I never find it unfeminist or ethnocentric to consider the greater scope of really complex issues like our pending presidential selection. On the contrary, it strikes me as thoughtful, pragmatic, and downright humane.