"For Gawd's sake-- Y'all don't tell mama her parakeet is dead! When she finds out, that woman won't be fit to live with for a week!" -- Southern sexist wit and wisdom
Hillary Clinton's loss is a tough one for those women who identified so completely with her candidacy that anything other than a win is both unimaginable and unbearable It's especially tough for baby boomer feminists, who grew up hearing our mothers referred to as "the little woman" or "the weaker sex." God, we hated that! So, from the moment "sexism" was adopted as the root word in the Clinton Camp's political lexicon, Little Women from coast to coast put up their dukes. This was no ordinary race for the Democratic nomination. This was war. Surrender was not an option.
An army of Clinton women seems to have forgotten the difference between a fight to the finish and a fight to the death.
Hillary's defiance on the evening of Tuesday, June 3rd made matters worse. Her refusal to offer any sort of concession speech, her "You can't make me..." attitude and the tacit threat of what she might do with "eighteen million votes" was self-centered, self-serving self-promotion. It wasn't pretty. The blowback hasn't been any prettier.
Clinton surrogates defended her non-concession speech to a fare-thee-well. They redefined campaign etiquette:
"This should be Hillary's night..." New rule: The nominee has not earned the right to a night of his/her own..
"She knows she lost...she will concede...she will help unify the party, endorse Obama and work her little heart out...BUT...This is really, really hard; Hillary needs time to get used to the idea of losing...She needs to decompress. We owe her that time...and kindness...and understanding...and patience...so she'll feel better..." New rule: It's different world now that Democrats of both genders are equally viable candidates. But the woman only has to concede if and when she feels up to it.
It ain't over until HRC says it's over. Under pressure from the NY Delegation and others to get this Democratic show on the road, Hillary finally says she'll give up the ghost. On Friday, June 6th. No. Make that Friday, June 6th and Saturday, June 7th. This is really, really hard, remember? It takes days and days and days...
Meanwhile, Mother Nature does abhor a vacuum. In the space between non-concession and concession, Little Women by the thousands are rallying the troops. This ain't over yet. No Way We'll Vote For That Man! websites are springing up like Republican men at an Anti-Choice Convention.
One woman offered this pearl of wisdom to the rest of them: "We can tolerate four years of John McCain--then Hillary can run again and win in 2012!"
Ah. Little Women. Here's what they're willing to do:
Little Women will sacrifice the reproductive rights of their sisters, daughters and granddaughters for a generation.
Little Women will sacrifice 47 million uninsured Americans for at least another four years.
Little Women will tolerate corporate welfare at the expense of the working poor.
Little Women will tolerate a minimum wage that guarantees poverty, hunger, homelessness.
And worse, Little Women will sacrifice the blood of thousands more of our husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters to the Bush/McCain vision of "winning the war" in Iraq.
This is feminism? This is what Hillary Rodham Clinton's amazing race inspires women to do? At the end of the day, then, what has Senator Clinton done for the Women's Movement? How did we get here?
I'm sixty years old. I've been around the political block more times than I care to admit. I can't recall a time--ever--that any man who lost a close election demanded "time to adjust to the pain of losing" before conceding. Hillary lost a close one and got a case of the vapors. Little Women responded in like manner. Senator Clinton needs to roll up her sleeves and get this cart out of the ditch--in no uncertain terms.
Damn. Can't you hear it? Every red-blooded, gen-yoo-ine, knuckle-draggin' sexist in America is snickering, "Now, ain't that just like a woman?"