Argh! This, from a conversation I had with a fellow (American) Aucklander.
Saying “I want to vote for Hillary because she’s a woman”, is little different from saying “I don’t want to vote for Obama because he’s black”.
Yes, US politics are dominated by rich middle-aged caucasian men. However, if the US is going to have a non aging-caucasian-man in the Whitehouse, then that person needs to ensure they’re up for the job. Otherwise decades from now all we will hear is ‘Yeah we voted for a woman in 2008, and look where that got us’.
Furthermore, there are far more serious issues at stake than the frivolous matter of the president’s gender. Here are some that come to mind:
- Misleading the public over starting a war, spending 1/2 billion dollars a day on this, and causing the deaths of over a million people. (Seriously, the last president was impeached for being technically dishonest about whether he had received a blow-job. I would have done the same (lied that is). Just how bad have things since then become?)
- A justice system which violates human rights. There is an entire section on the Amnesty International website dedicated to wrong-doings conducted in the US. Nelson Mandela once said “A nation should not be judged by how it treats it’s highest citizens but how it treats its lowest ones“.
- The war on drugs, which has proven costly and ineffective. However, as a result the US can claim the world’s highest incarceration rate, with the majority of prisoners non-violent ethnic minorities on drug-related charges, only further cementing the racial discrimination in the justice system. Sentencing someone to life in prison without parole for buying some pot, does not benefit society.
- Inadequate helathcare. Americans are entirely dependent on their health insurers for healthcare. Insurance companies want to make a profit, your health is not in their best interest. If you are diagnosed with terminal illness the sooner you die the better. Currently users pay hundred’s of dollars a month for insurance (in comparison I pay the equivalent of $30 p/m, to a non-profit organisation). And if you can’t qualify for, or afford health insurance, you find yourself facing bankruptcy because you slipped on your neighbour’s pavement and broke your ankle, costing $25,000 – and your only available option is to sue your neighbour for damages.
- The hysteria around terrorism. Since 2001 people from the US and abroad have been tortured, and held without trial in the name of ‘the war against terror’. A tragic sign of the times is that no longer are politicians outraged by torture, but instead argue what levels of torture are acceptable. For a country that prides itself on its ‘freedom and democracy’ these are issues that are very much not.
- National debt. The current account deficit for the US is $750,000,000,000. That is more than that of the entire world combined. The US dollar has been weakening. Other countries are switching to Euros for their reserve currency. Something is very, very wrong here.
Now, keeping all this in mind, if this was your country, would you really vote for a candidate just because she was a woman?