I watched an hour or so of the inauguration coverage this morning on CNN.com and it made for some really great television. It is kind of unfortunate how much more attention we pay to the politics of our neighbours to the south than we do to our own politicians and elections, but it’s certainly no surprise given the duration and degree of the spectacle that is the Americans choosing their next Commander in Chief. Besides all that, Barack Obama is one heck of an orator with one heck of a team of speechwriters. (“… people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy” indeed!)
It certainly seems that they have chosen a President that is at worst a vast improvement over the last guy and at best a powerful, charismatic leader who will usher in a host of better things for his constituents. But still, I wish it was Hilary. I can’t help it. I wanted her to be President and I wanted it so badly. I know history was made today – the significance of that certainly isn’t lost on me – but in a world where women are regularly and systematically sold into sexual slavery, disfigured and often killed by husbands twice their age who have purchased them and are permitted (by law, no less) to pour acid on them or light them on fire, denied basic literacy training, paid less or not at all, and drugged and raped while at bars and at parties … I just wanted a different kind of history to be made.
And I certainly don’t agree with all of her politics, nor do I downplay his achievement and the significance of a man who, in his own words, wouldn’t have been served lunch in most popular restaurants as few as 60 years ago serving in the highest office in the most powerful nation but MAN! (pun completely intended) I wanted the Americans to elect Hilary Clinton.
Mike keeps reassuring me that Hilary will be able to do more good as the Secretary of State than she would as President, able to focus on the kinds of human rights issues I find important rather than on cleaning up the mess left by the previous administration. I hope he’s right. If this snippet is any indication, he just might be (via Feministing):
I want to pledge to you that as secretary of state I view these issues as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser than all of the other issues that we have to confront.
I, too, have followed the stories that are exemplified by the pictures that you held up. I mean, it is heartbreaking beyond works that, you know, young girls are attacked on their way to school by Taliban sympathizers and members who do not want young women to be educated. It’s not complicated: They want to maintain an attitude that keeps women, as I said in my testimony, unhealthy, unfed, uneducated.
And this is something that results all too often in violence against these young women, both within their families and from the outside. This is not culture. This is not custom. This is criminal. And it will be my hope to persuade more governments, as I have attempted to do since I spoke at Beijing on these issues, you know, 13 and some years ago, that we cannot have a free, prosperous, peaceful, progressive world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way.