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Articles by Margaret Wendt

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05/26/08 Senator Clinton, Fear, and Assassination

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My grandmother was 19 when women achieved emancipation. I look at my 13 year old daughter and cannot imagine her growing up in a country where her voice, her thoughts and opinions would not count. I can understand, although I can never really know, what it means to women to have a woman run for and achieve the Presidency. But political dynasties are not good for democracy and Senator Clinton’s remarks about her staying in the race because Senator Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968 demonstrates the ignorance if not arrogance of the sense of entitlement. It appears that she has effectively removed herself from a spot on the Democratic ticket.

While the outrage over her comments has effectively ended her campaign (regardless of whether she insists on competing in the few remaining primary battles) her candidacy provides a stark example of the disastrous tactics of “divide and conquer through fear.” It is those tactics that gave us George Bush. It is those tactics that generated the political warfare throughout Bill Clinton’s Presidency. It is those tactics that have resulted in such a profound weariness of conflict across the land.

Senator Clinton’s assassination reference strikes at the core of the worst in us. It calls up that desire to have something bad happen to someone more successful so that perhaps we can gain. She does, however, operate in the context of her experience. Politics is a tough business and chance plays a large role. She essentially walked into her first term as a senator because her opponent, Rudy Giuliani, got prostate cancer. Things do happen, but planning and waiting for personal success on the chance that something bad will happen to your opponent puts winning way ahead of integrity or belief in one’s positions.

Senator Clinton would have us believe that she is a fighter, that she will fight the Republicans tooth and nail. No doubt she would and no doubt we would be in for more of the posturing and partisan fighting that makes us despair of the political process. It would seem that we are witnessing the last gasp of the politics of separation before we can get on with the politics of common goals. This sense that it is permissible to say anything (even if it is inaccurate) or do anything to win and that winning is the most important thing is being exposed for what it really is – a corrosive ideology that is cynical about any of us rising above the level of pack animals snarling at each other over limited resources.

No doubt that Senator Clinton has blazed a trail for more women to be seen as serious candidates for high office and that is a good thing. The feminine focus on society and relationships and community are essential in our politics and our economics as we move into this millennium. It is imperative that these attributes not be seen as a weakness – in a woman or in a man.
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It has been brought to our attention that Margaret is being portrayed as a psychic on $1.99 sites. These sites are doing so without Margaret's permission. Margaret has not claimed she is a psychic. - MW