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Blog Entries tagged 'hillary clinton'

The Power of Power

To continue our discussion of different kinds of power, I am thrilled Obama has brought Samantha Power, who was forced to resign from Team Obama during the campaign for calling Hillary Clinton "a monster," back on board as part of the transition team--for the office of the Secretary of State. 

If you don't know about Samantha Power, here is an excerpt from Esquire:

Power, a journalist and now a professor at Harvard, who won a Pulitzer prize for her 2003 book on America's response to genocide, A Problem from Hell, and who helped kick-start the Save Darfur movement, has a vision that will help shape 21st-century American foreign policy. What Norman Podhoretz is to the neocon movement Power is to this as-yet-unnamed force. (Neo-internationalism? Moral interventionism? Machiavellian idealism?) She espouses talks--firm talks--with rogue states, a respect for international law, and a moral and pragmatic duty to intervene--with troops if necessary--in cases of genocide.

I'm happy she's back for a number of reasons: she's passionate about human dignity and has a complex and pragmatic view of how to secure it. In other words, she's tough and smart. Heart and head. Has a plan. A view. And her Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, is endlessly relevant, and gives her unique insight into seemingly intractable hostilities, like the one between Israel and Palestine.

Though she's been lambasted by Zionist groups who say she wants to do everything from fund islamic terrorists to invade Israel, apparently her official position is the US should engage in an immediate and intensified involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In her view, the situation "has to be resolved first of all for the benefit of the parties involved, but also to prevent "cynical Arab leaders" from exploiting the conflict as a tool for justifying their policies."

I'm no expert, but this sounds like a rational approach to me. 

But mostly I feel good about Power's return because Obama's ability to bring her back in a leadership role in HRC's realm says he feels free as POTUS to make controversial decisions and continue to mix up ideological perspectives in the hopes of reaching different conclusions. He's apparently using the power vested in him to follow his agenda of change, rather than kowtow to personal gripes, party lines, or general consensus.

Power should be an excellent and necessary counterpoint to Hillary. Obama appears to believe the two women, though different in approach, are stronger together than apart.

What do you think?

December 1st, 2008

The Rag & Bone Blog

The Rag & Bone Blog

Here's a post in which we've got both ART and POLITICS. Thanks to the fabulous Flygirl, I found these amazing Obama posters.

I hightailed it to CRO and bought "Tell Your Mama, I'm For Obama," which the Print and Photo Department of the Library of Congress has added to the national collection.

Brad Kayal generously offers his to download, print and staple to your nearest spot for free.

Note to HRC campaign: it is now and always about the artists.
March 3rd, 2008

Strike One for Team Hillary

Running on my Huffington Post Blog Today:

The Fence

As a bi-racial, Ivy-League educated, thirty-something feminist who campaigned for Bill Clinton, the election has me squarely on the fence. I love Barack's vision and know intimately the mosaic of ideas and experiences that helped shape it. I also feel a profound loyalty to Hillary who, after much sacrifice, has the chance to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all.

Gloria Steinem's op-ed in the NYTimes didn't help Team Hillary [full disclosure, GS is my godmother]. It crystallized for me that Hillary, no matter how symbolically potent, runs the risk of being seen as a Second Wave candidate. She's one of the first women to gain power and access, and may be one of the first with power and access to ignore the criticisms of women of color, progressive men, and many young women, all of whom have been sending clear messages to Second Wave feminist leadership for well over a decade.

Messages like:

Women are not only victims, but active participants in the shaping of their lives. It's not Hillary's gender that may keep her from winning this election, it's her lack of preparation. If she had an inter-generational, multi-racial, digitally savvy, globally inclined machine behind her, crafting electrifying rhetoric like The Audacity of Hope and The Power of Now, she'd be swept into the White House by a landslide. Hillary wasn't forced into the number two position in Iowa, she made decisions that put her there. New Hampshire is a case in point; she made different decisions and got different results.

Racism and classism are as definitive as sexism. Did Steinem insinuate that Barack's gender, and not his talent, put him in the top spot? I thought black men were capable of performing at his level without an irrationally granted advantage. And the idea that black men always reach the Promised Land before white women? Forty per cent of black men don't finish high school in America, and one in four are incarcerated. Hillary, and her feminist supporters, are not going to win this election by glossing over the realities of African-American men.

Men are not the enemy. Steinem claims that sexism is responsible for Hillary's loss in Iowa, implicitly accusing men-at-large of devaluing women, while many of them may simply be more inspired by a candidate who happens to be a man. This type of divisive discourse that judges and alienates the many men who support the women in their families, communities, and the civic sphere every day is not only bad for women, it's bad for Hillary's campaign. Obama is running as a uniter. Hillary needs to avoid re-inscribing historical divisions in order to gain ground.

And, finally:

Young women are not stupid. The idea that young women are too naive to realize the pervasiveness of sexism is an old Second Wave trope used to dismiss and discredit an entire generation, many of whom now support Obama because he doesn't insult them. As a result, there are a few women lining up behind the "feminist" placard, but many more running in the other direction.

Far from being ungrateful or unintelligent, these women know that confrontational political labels and a religious fixation on gender aren't productive. They, rightly, choose to enjoy the rights they should have had all along, and find other, more complex approaches to righting the rampant injustice in the world. Hillary's gender is not enough to win their vote, and she needs to show them that she knows it.

So while there's still plenty of time for Hillary to win me over, Obama is looking pretty good at the moment. He's listened to what many of my generational peers and I have been saying for the last decade, and his momentum proves it.

January 14th, 2008

Benazir Bhutto 1953-2007

Hello everyone,

Like you, I am devastated by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She stood as one of the very few woman leaders with the political power to make lasting change on behalf of women, families and humanity at large, especially in this charged political environment.

After losing her father and brothers to military extremists, Bhutto continued to believe in the democratic process, and continued to draw strength from her belief as a young woman that she could, in fact, become Prime Minister of her nation.

While in office, Benazir Bhutto brought electricity to the countryside of Pakistan and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing, and health care her top priorities, and spoke with determination about continuing to modernize Pakistan. While she was clearly not without controversy, her intellectual brilliance, passionate pursuit of human rights, and fierce optimism will be her enduring legacy.

I deeply hope that her death will not be in vain, and that leaders and cultural workers everywhere will be emboldened to follow her lead of unwavering faith in the good of humanity in the face of tremendous evidence to the contrary.

I also hope that in the coming reflections on her life, the fact that Bhutto was a woman is not overlooked or downplayed. Her assassination is a clear sign of mounting aggression toward women leaders who believe in a humanitarian --and not purely militaristic-- response to unfolding events.

I hope that female leaders everywhere will use this opportunity to continue to articulate and further the struggle for the global empowerment of women. Bhutto's assassination marks a critical moment, not only for the stability of the modern world, but for the safety of women at large.

I send love and continued hope to Benazir Bhutto's children and extended family, and to the women, men and children of Pakistan. And of course, to all of you.

Rebecca

December 28th, 2007