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The Tear Shed ‘Round the World

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She cried! Hillary cried! The woman is human! Give that girl a vote!

When Hillary choked up in New Hampshire while coffee klatching with the girls, millions of women who’d been on the fence jumped off to vote for her–at least that’s how the media’s playing it. I’d scoff and poke fun at these sentimental mush-heads, were it not for the fact that I’m one of them. What with Edwards decompressing fast anyway, I’ve decided to get on board with Hillary.

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There’s a certain synchronicity about my decision; lately I’ve been talking with a friend about the difference between thinking and feeling. We agree that our culture values emotion more than reason, and my theory is that it’s fallout from the 60s, when we threw off the constraints of puritanism. Feminism and the elevation of so-called “female values” played a part as well. I’ve agreed with my friend that it’s infantile and problematic for a culture to place a higher value on tears than on ideas–yet here I am, falling for Hillary with the rest of the sentimentalists.

It wasn’t just the tear, actually, it was her overall behavior between Iowa and New Hampshire. Maybe the loss humbled her, maybe she was so bone weary her emotions managed to break through the statesmanlike armor. Whatever it was, she suddenly started talking like a human being. I loved her response, upon being told that people find Obama “more likeable” than her. “That hurts my feelings,” she said. Pause. “But I’ll try to go on.” Adorable.

No, I’m not voting for her because she’s adorable or because she cried. Fact is, I wanted to vote for the first serious woman candidate for President from the start, but I couldn’t get past Hillary as part of a dynasty, or Hillary who voted for war with Iraq. All in all, she seemed, as she’s been accused, to be a representative of the status quo.

Her tears haven’t washed away the status quo. But I don’t have confidence in Barack Obama, and I think his talk of major change is mostly rhetoric. I doubt that Edwards, or even Dennis Kucinich, would be able to overthrow all of the politics-as-usual once he got in. I do, however, have full faith that any one of these candidates will stop the abuse of civil rights, start getting us out of Iraq, and change national priorities enough to notice an improved quality of life. I’m expecting whoever gets in to reverse policies that favor corporations at the expense of the planet. Call me naive, but I believe a Democrat will overhaul the Nitwit’s power grab and clean up his stinking mess.

It’s taken 24 years since Geraldine Ferrarro was beaten up running for Vice President until another woman dared run for executive office. What was I thinking? a New Hampshire woman rhetorically asked a reporter. She was going to vote for Obama–and then Hillary cried.

images-17.jpegI’m not embarrassed or ashamed of warming to Hillary only after she showed emotion. In fact, I think that by unlocking her emotions she allowed me to get past what was actually a superficial dislike. Like the other women who responded to her tears, I didn’t trust the armored woman she was showing us before. In her post-election speech she thanked the people of NH for helping her “find my voice.” I think something happened in NH that let her break free of Bill and all her handlers, to follow her own instincts and be herself. And herself seems to be more trustworthy than the character she was playing before.

Breaking news: I’ve just read online that a John Edwards blogger is breaking with him because of his sexist response to Hillary’s tears. You can read her comments, and his disgusting remarks, here.

And, here’s another good piece about Hillary’s tears.
“Running for President is now an extreme sport, with all the cattiness of American Idol thrown in. You would be on the verge of tears, too, if you were going through all that and it looked like you were about to lose.”–from the above article.
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5 responses »

  1. Great post. And props for not being embarrassed. Whether those tears are real or not, they are working.

    Also thanks for the Edwards link, I’m already enraged and I haven’t even read the post.

  2. The real issue here is the media response to Sen Clinton tearing up. Did anyone see any reports of Mitt Romney shedding tears in talks recently? He did. Tears are a sign of humanity. They are not restricted to gender. I love the engagement and dialogue of this election year. I love that youth and age are becoming …involved. I loved the fact that the polls were wrong in NH, because people kept their real votes to themselves.

    Some have speculated that the polls were wrong only because they stopped polling prior to Hillary’s crack in the armor. I also think we can’t, unfortunately, discount the race issue–that some people might say they’re voting for Obama just to appear non-racist, but then do something else when they’re alone in the voting booth. I read another theory today that said women got pissed off at the media for sounding Clinton’s death knell, and switched their votes. That sounds about right to me–because it’s part of the reason I changed my mind. I agree with you that this is a pretty exciting election, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time.–MS

  3. Great essay, Marcy. At this point I would vote for anybody who cried about the state of American politics.
    She showed something real, and we’re all hungry for that. Wouldn’t it be great if she just proceeded with reality? I saw Michelle Obama on the news last night and my heart just leapt at the thought of a black first lady, but I’m reacting superficially, as I’m not up on the “differences” between Hillary and Obama. I do hear that they both favor federal recognition for civil partnerships, which, if passed, would allow me to move home. I think too, that a vote in the primaries
    for Kucinich would be a good gesture since he’s the
    only candidate that I truly agree with on most issues.
    From northern England
    in exile,
    Phyllis

    Hey folks, listen up! That’s Phyllis living in England because her partner can’t live with her in the U.S., where the government doesn’t recognize domestic partnerships. As I said, a Democrat will have a tangible effect on people’s lives, for the better.Vote Democrat and bring Phyllis and Helen home!–MS

  4. Marcy, I’m sure you’ve been listening to as much analysis as I have been over the past few days regarding the New Hampshire results, particularly the impact of… The Tears. I’ve not visited any Republican blogs or sites, but it wouldn’t surprise me if those folks are assuming Hillary’s tears were calculated and practiced. I don’t think so; they’ve looked pretty genuine to me. She was exhausted, frustrated and bracing for another defeat; the question she was asked was just the combination of words to bring it all to the surface.

    The Tears did indeed humanize a candidate who can seem metallic at times. It’s interesting to think about the reaction, in the media and among voters, if one of the male candidates (who also are all exhausted, of course) had teared up. When Edmund Muskie cried back in ’68 over being accused of calling Canadians “Canucks,” his tears finished him. That was at the dawn of the era for new feminism, it’s true, but I don’t think much has changed for men and their tears since then, to be frank, at least not in politics. Tears from men are still seen as a symptom of weakness.

    But so what if there’s a double standard for tears
    when it comes to men and women in politics? Men and women are in fact different — and thank god for that.

    As I’ve told you, Steve, I do have a problem about this double standard thing. Women running for office have to be twice as tough as male candidates, and then we call them cold or somehow non-womanly. Meanwhile, the men get away with murder (sometimes literally). Yeah, men and women are different–but women shouldn’t be penalized for it. It’s as if male is the norm, the standard by which everyone is measured, while women are deviant, and if they behave like women, they’re not fit to lead. It’s not okay.–MS

  5. My concern about supporting a Democrat is based entirely on the experiences of the past…oh…15-20 years. I know no one needs reminding, but it can’t hurt:

    Feinstein and Co. blamed the gays for the loss of Kerry in the 2004 election.
    Kerry/Edwards ran while ignoring the 11 states that were amending against LGBT families (Kerry even supported an amendment in his home state).The ENDA compromise/fiasco of 2007 coupled with the failure to pass Hate Crimes legislation…DOMA, DADT and Abstinence Education all born during the administration of the last Democrat to be President.

    Yes, that’s all in the past, but right here, right now are opportunities for candidates to do the right thing and campaign against further amendments. They…could appear in Florida while campaigning for the state primary election…and encourage voters to fight the proposed amendment in the state. How hard would that be? Is that too much to ask? Do Democrats risk election by speaking for the rights of citizens to have a legally recognized family? Can’t a black man and a white woman sympathize with…the unconstitutional bigotry of “states rights”?

    As a California resident, my vote in the primary might actually count for something…I…guarantee it will be a strategic vote, not a vote of support. It is great to hear candidates say they support civil unions and/or full equality. My fear is that their support amounts to nothing more than a secret code to LGBT voters. (“psst..I get it, but I can’t openly embrace you because people hate you and I don’t want them to hate me too.”)

    As President, they can’t create legislation nor can they amend DOMA without Congress taking action. Since it seems unlikely that will happen, it is an easy position to take…I’d love to vote for a white woman and/or a black man…How can I stand up for them when they can’t honestly stand up for me?

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