Gloria Steinem Says Precedent Has Been Set by Senator Clinton, Supports Barack Obama
by chrisblask, Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 03:02:04 PM EDT
Crossposted at DKOS
The singlemost recognized icon of American Feminism has acknowledged the irreversible precendent set by Senator Clinton, and announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President.
More below the fold.
Ms. Steinem believes that the candidacy of Senator Clinton has done a great deal to advance the issue of Women's Rights, and has permanently changed the landscape of American politics.
"I think she changed forever our understanding of the possibilities of leadership," Gloria Steinem said of Hillary in a Herald interview after a morning appearance here. "She showed such courage in the face of a media that was trying constantly to get her out of the race and all the misogyny . . . She put up with that with grace. She enlarged my vision."
I agree with her.
It seems obvious that whatever notion had existed that a woman could not be a viable Presidential candidate is gone. If Senator Clinton had lost the race to a male candidate who was widely accepted as being inferior - one who had not run a strong campaign, was supported by large established Powers who had labored to maintain the status quo - then it would be easier to believe that this barrier to entry still existed. But instead, by most measures the candidate chosen is a come-from-behind runner with his own demonstrable merits - one who has won despite having prejudicial barriers of his own to overcome.
On accusations of sexism by the Obama campaign, Ms. Steinem disagrees with many of the Senator from New York's more outspoken supporters:
Yet Steinem blamed us in the media, not Obama, for the sexist cracks ("Hillary reminds me of everybody's first wife," etc.) She also said the two candidates' positions are practically the same. In other words, issues matter to Steinem, though clearly not to everybody.
Ms. Steinem goes on to say that not only does she now endorse Senator Obama for President, that she will now volunteer with his campaign.
It can be hoped that the words of Ms. Steinem can not only help to heal the rift within the Democratic party, but can go some way to heal the wounds on both sides of the divided feminist movement. Many women, both younger and older, who have supported Senator Clinton feel deeply betrayed by their sisters pulling for Senator Obama. Many women supporting Senator Obama have felt alienated from those women supporting Senator Clinton. Ms. Steinem can play a key role in mending that tear in the fabric of Progressive Feminism.
So as we move into the phase of the presidential election cycle where the two parties compete head-on, the most well-known leader of gender parity in history recognizes the campaign of Senator Clinton as a win for women's rights, not a loss. It seems possible that as more people have time to reflect on what was achieved by Senator Clinton that there may be more recognition of the precendent that she has accomplished, and which can now never be undone.
Ms. Steinem has set her sights now on furthering the goals of women's rights that she has so effectively fought for all of her life. She has picked her battleground to wage that war on, and it is against the GOP candidacy of Senator John McCain.
I am with her all the way.