Gender and the 2016 Election

09:55 November 01, 2016
By: Phil LaMancusa

Who would you prefer to lead you into battle: Genghis Khan or Genghis Mom? Make no mistake about it, this is going to be a classic type of question that you’ll be asked during this election cycle—not whether you want to go into battle, who started it, or why it’s being fought. It’s a typical tactical ploy called “smoke and mirrors,” used in any patriarchal society where struggles for power occur, to divert you from considering underlying issues or to cloud the issue. Who’s better at doing most anything at all, a man or a woman? Who gets your vote?

Challenges like these will come completely out of left field, distractions to keep you from getting to the meat of any matter; and yes, we are in a patriarchal society (as is most of the rest of the word) and we’re mired in it. Patriarchal societies run the world, whether we like it or not. Why “mired”? To be mired in something means to be stuck, jammed, caught, held. The fact that patriarchal societies are rooted in fear, domination, oppression, sexism, species-ism, age-ism and power is a form of mire. I’m against being mired in those things.

Politics have long been considered a man’s game and to go up against that, a woman needs to buck that system. It’s all about masculinity being a leadership quality and prerequisite. In a patriarchal society, men’s masculinity is regularly being challenged by bullies and women are regarded as, at most, trophies and, at the least, chattel. To rise up in that system, a woman has to face off to criticism that’s based on gender. In short, she’s told that she must “grow a pair.”

Gender and the Election

Now, I’m not taking sides here regarding which candidate you should vote for; I’m simply questioning whether gender plays a part in political elections. That question cannot be answered without answering other questions first. Do any women besides Hillary Clinton and Claire Underwood want to hold public office? Would bigger funding sources want to take a chance on a woman who’s running for office? Are women capable of holding office? Are women smart enough, focused enough, strong, decisive, grounded, and able to make tough choices enough to serve the citizens of this great country and, at the same time, be representative of the most powerful nation on Earth? Are they ruthless, trustworthy and courageous? I know, those are silly questions; and yet, you’re going to be asked them this fall to influence your vote. 

Okay, here’s some numbers: 51 percent of the population are women, but there’s only 17 percent in Congress, 20 percent average across the board in politics nationally. When it comes to higher education, women are 33 percent more likely to graduate/earn a degree. However, very few seek a political career. Is it possible that women have been shown that their way professionally, in a patriarchy, is preferable in the nurturing fields like healthcare, teaching, and making homes for their families and their … men?

Men have it all over women. Men are born privileged, are raised to be ready for action, and geared to win in everything that is competitive; it’s part of their birthright to lead. Competition is great among men in big things like war, sports and politics. Women are relegated to support capacities as nurses, secretaries and Girl Fridays. When a man exercises his sexual prowess, he’s considered a stud. A woman doing the same dance is said to be a slut. When he fires someone, he’s tough; but she’s a bitch. This is nothing new—these are called “gender (bashing) pronouns.” Beware of them in election campaigns and debates.

"Voting for a woman simply because she is a woman is as wrong as voting for a man because of his gender. That’s stupid and that’s trouble."

I exercise my voting rights in every election in which I can participate. It used to be that when I couldn’t decide on a candidate whom I wanted elected, I would merely vote in my party and for whatever woman was running, rationalizing that “men have screwed things up for so long that it was only fair to give a woman a shot.” A woman I know straightened me out by pointing out a number of women who had been elected and were just as inept, unprofessional and dishonest as men in the same positions. Now if I don’t like any of the candidates, I don’t vote for anyone, unless it’s to vote for the lesser of two evils or idiots. Am I going to vote in this election? Maybe not in every category. At this point, I’m just not jazzed about many of my choices.

The question is: will the American public (you) be swayed by a candidate’s gender? Voting for a woman simply because she is a woman is as wrong as voting for a man because of his gender. That’s stupid and that’s trouble. It is a fact that men get more credibility for their statements than women do—even if they’re stating the same fact. So think about it, can you pick a candidate because of his or her qualifications alone? I know, I know, the whole process is rigged from the gate. Leave that one at the door for a moment. The mature logic has it that: as you decide on either of these two (or more) who are running this fall, you will (I should hope) want to make an intelligent, rational choice. Or will you be swayed by gender pronoun rhetoric?

Did you watch all of the debates? Both parties? That would have been a great start. Did you watch the primaries? Are you ready for more theater? These are the scenarios that will occur—and that you will witness—in the presidential race this fall: There’s Mr. T. blustering his way to the front, belittling, scoffing, ridiculing … shooting from the hip. He’s the gang leader, the pool bully, the sandbox lout and … it works! He’ll build a wall, deport rapists, keep out terrorists, bring back more wealth for the rich, and let the poor get what they deserve … nothing!  He’s the one for me!

And then there’s Mrs. C. with the whole political machine in her pocket, using all the skill and experience with rhetoric, debate and political savvy that it takes to field questions like Serena Williams, and dodging issues and topics like her attention span was Teflon, while her subjects have no relevance to what her talking points happen to be. She showed the country that bucking the establishment and criticizing big banks and the wealthy doesn’t count for a hill of Bernies when the system that you want to change has, and is, in power. She’s one smart cookie! I want her for president!

The fact is, I don’t relish either one of them being the person who leads us into battle, and one of them certainly will. We will, once again, play the power game in the worldwide patriarchal arena, arm young people to go and kill each other in wars that are for power and money. Land areas will be decimated and collateral damage will include the young and the innocent, all in the name of peace and prosperity. Here’s the real question: when your child comes home in a flag-covered box, who do you want calling him or her “heroic” and giving you a big old hug—an old letch with a comb over or a dowager in a pants suit? If you answered Morgan Freeman … you missed the whole point. 

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