Article by: Daniel Jachim
“Eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.” These were the words of the National Rifle Association’s vice president, Wayne LaPierre, when he heard that the United States may have its first female president. Sadly, his views are shared by many. However, this opinion is not due to his political views but his social views, which is problematic. To dislike a leader based on predetermined and inevitable factors, such as gender or race, as opposed to more relevant factors, such as policy or success, is symbolic of the extreme partisanship that plagues democracies around the world. It was evident during Obama’s 2008 election and is sadly still evident in the world today.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be fair to the conservative pundits, has been a woman mired by controversy. From the allegations that she and her husband have murdered more than 30 political opponents in the infamous “Clinton Body Count” conspiracy, to the much more real scandal of her husband’s infidelity, Clinton has never really been able to wipe her hands clean. But these scandals should not be enough to discredit her. Consider, for example, Strom Thurmond. Thurmond was a far right hero back in the 60’s, for his hardline stance against integrating African Americans in the South. Despite this, he secretly had an extramarital affair with a black woman, which resulted in him having an illegitimate black child. Scandals are nothing new or unbearable for a candidate, yet with Clinton, people seem more than willing to overinflate them. Why, one may ask? Because of the much more illegitimate reason: her gender.
Anyone who denies the presence of gender inequality around the world is fooling themselves. True, there are many countries where great progress has been made, but complete equality has not yet been achieved. This is certainly a problem because it denies opportunities to candidates who may be equally or more qualified than others, simply because of an uncontrollable factor. People become too focused on these factors when they should be focused on the candidates’ policies.
Yet how does she fare a bit closer to home, here in Manila? Surprisingly, rather indifferently. Ethan Fleming, who calls Virginia home, sardonically stated, “She can’t be any worse than people who are in office right now.” Sadly, this type of cynicism is all too common, and drives home one point thoroughly: whether or not she actually wins the election, her mere presence will be the catalyst of much emotion. However, whether this emotion brings a positive change or not is another question.