Friday, 26 August 2016

Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’


Although Hillary Clinton selected Tim Kaine as her Vice President in this campaign, her true running mate might very well be her vagina. Indeed, while Clinton’s support continues to be among the lowest for any Democratic nominee in recent memory, she has managed to position her gender as a focal point of her campaign, a move intended to capture the women’s vote among liberals and conservatives alike. And, considering her opponent is Donald Trump, a man seen by millions of women as a misogynistic loudmouth, she has done this quite successfully.

But beyond the political window-dressing and empty rhetoric, Clinton’s record on women and families should not only lose her the support of American women, it should qualify her as one of the most anti-woman candidates in history. For while modest progress has been made toward some semblance of gender equality, it is the actions of Clinton herself that have done more than any other single individual to harm women and families. Slick public relations aside, Hillary Clinton may very well be the most anti-woman candidate in generations.

Hillary’s Relentless Attack on Women and Families

“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st Century.” So said Hillary Clinton in a 2011 interview with Newsweek. And this quote, among many others, has been trumpeted by Clinton supporters as the revelation of the angel of feminism, the gospel according to Saint Hillary. But in probing a little more deeply, some disturbing questions emerge which seem to cast doubt on her commitment to the rights of women and girls, both in the 21st Century, as well as at the end of the 20th Century.

As First Lady, Hillary Clinton, along with her then President husband Bill Clinton, did more than anyone to make the lives of poor and working class women and girls all the more precarious. Perhaps no single action taken by the Clintons did more to harm women and families than the evisceration of welfare. As part of a deeply cynical, and unconscionably reckless, strategy to win over racist white voters, the Clintons set their sights on Black and Latino women and children, portraying them as parasitical exploiters of hard-working whites.

After having supported her husband’s goal of “ending welfare as we know it,” Clinton was instrumental in ginning up support for the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). This bill, passed with the support of a right wing Republican Congress, effectively ended welfare programs designed to provide real assistance to women and children in desperate need. And, despite countless experts denouncing the law, including a close friend and former assistant secretary of social services at the Department of Health of Human Services, Hillary continued to defend it. Speaking of the destruction of welfare, Clinton told the Gettysburg Times in 2002, “Now that we’ve said these people are no longer deadbeats – they’re actually out there being productive – how do we keep them there?”

Such callous disregard for the reality of poverty and the difficult circumstances in which millions of women and children live demonstrates precisely what sort of “feminist” Hillary Clinton is: a neoliberal corporate exploiter without a penis. For Clinton, what matters is not the material reality of women’s lives, but rather how best to exploit them for political gain. As feminist scholars Alejandra Marchevsky and Jeanne Theoharis noted:

“[PRWORA’s] legacy still ripples through the country, where families remain as poor as—or, in many cases, poorer than—before, but with one crucial difference: Today, the “reformed” welfare system provides little safety net, and no hand-up. Instead, it traps poor mothers into exploitative, poverty-wage jobs and dangerous personal situations, deters them from college, and contributes to the growing trend of poor mothers who can neither find a job nor access public assistance. It is our failed social policy—not simply the recession—that is responsible for crisis-level poverty in the United States.”

Of course, such painful realities are taboo subjects for the devout adherents of the Gospel According to Hillary, where the sacred scriptures tell of a crusading archangel come to Earth to protect the downtrodden women from the oppression of patriarchy. Perhaps church dogma will need to be updated to account for the fact that Clinton’s welfare “reform” reduced the percentage of households eligible for assistance from 68 percent to 26 percent, while the value of a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) check has dropped by 20 percent. Of course, the Church of Latter Day Corporate Feminists will ignore these, and myriad other statistics which demonstrate that rather than a champion of poor women and families, Hillary has been one of their main antagonists.
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Hillary-Clinton-The-Anti-Woman-Feminist-20160819-0021.html

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, August 26th, 2016.]

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