The other night, while stumping for Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made an unfortunate comment when she paraphrased Dante: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”
I felt myself recoil when she said it because it’s the type of rhetoric that pushes women away. It sounds like she is requesting “blind faith,” or that she believes a women should win on the basis of her gender.
If that were the case, we women would have voted for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008. By Albright’s logic, back then women should have disregarded party affiliation and personal capability to make certain that a woman was finally elected Vice President of the United States.
During that election process, I was on a panel representing women groups supporting the then Presidential candidate Barack Obama at a press conference in Washington, DC. The very first question came from a male reporter who noted that he didn’t understand what women wanted. He pointed out that if we wanted to see a woman elected to higher office, why weren’t we all campaigning for Sarah Palin? My quick response (perhaps too quick in retrospect) was, “Women are smarter than that.”
Well, we were smarter than that then, and we are smarter than that today. Women want to see success in the political process, but we want to be sure that success is earned. We don’t want any favors based on gender. We don’t want standards lowered. Instead, we want a woman leader who will do us proud, one whose accomplishments equal or exceed those of the men who have held the office before her.
You may or may not believe that Hillary Clinton has the qualifications and experience needed to be the President of the United States. (In full disclosure, I do). But that’s a determination you each must make for yourself. If you come down on the positive side, vote for her. Work for her. Help get her elected. But please don’t cast your vote based solely on the fact that she’s a woman. You’re much too smart for that.