In less than two months, Americans will flock to polling centers to cast their ballots in one of the most regarded U.S. presidential elections. From the primaries up until now, the 2016 race has been criticized, dissected and interpreted across the globe. It has left a nation and international spectators amused, angered, baffled, euphoric.
The G.O.P. is being lambasted for turning a blind eye and allowing a containable situation to spin out of control. Journalists are being criticized for irresponsible reporting and sensationalism. Voters are being charged with heeding the empty promises of a self-proclaimed business tycoon and ignoring facts and reality.
It is a blame game of epic proportions. But perhaps it is also an indicator of something far more profound: an entire nation’s unpreparedness for a female POTUS.
Take a look at the egregious offenses committed by Republican nominee Donald Trump. Blatant racism, sexism, xenophobia, ableism. Ignorance on matters of foreign policy, climatology, economics. An invitation to hackers to sabotage e-mail servers. Innuendos about exactly how second amendment supporters can prevent the election of judges promoting stricter gun laws. An unwillingness to release his tax returns. He is the poster boy for everything a president should NOT be.
And yet, current polling suggests he is running neck and neck with a candidate who is more qualified, more articulate, more capable, less volatile. Except… she is a woman.Hillary Clinton is not flawless. She has made misjudgments. None, by the way, that have been classified illegal or detrimental to national security, as the current rumor mill would suggest. But that matters not. Every word uttered, decision made, photo taken, interview given by Hillary Clinton gets observed under a totally different microscope. She is a woman. She should behave like a woman. Whatever that means.
In a country where a government is taking Planned Parenthood hostage in an effort to control female reproductive rights. One where rapists receive lenient sentences because they have promising futures ahead of them. And where women are earning less for the same work, it is hardly surprising that the consensus , sadly even amongst women , seems to be that a man is better equipped to wield the powerful POTUS torch. No matter that he is a raging, dangerous demagogue.
When a male political candidate is given free reign to hurl abuses at anyone and everyone. To exhibit not only a lack of knowledge but unashamed idiocy, to praise the presidency of a repressive regime. And a female political candidate is belittled for not smiling, not seeming human, being unlikeable and uncharismatic we have a serious problem as a nation.
Is it more human to attack a grieving mother? Is it more likable to mock a physically challenged journalist? Is it more charismatic to joke about a senator’s harrowing experience as a POW?
Let us stop judging Hillary Clinton on her ability to bat her eyelashes and woo us with her feminine charms. That is not what we are electing her to do. We are looking to her to steer a great nation with tempered judgment, informed policies, unbiased resolutions. Donald Trump has proven again and again he knows nothing about these things. So let’s not get blinded by his bleached pearly whites. And let’s finally realize that behaving like a woman and behaving like a man embody the same principles: embracing decency and respect, being kind and generous, and seeking wisdom and truth.
This post first appeared at Medium.com