Friday, February 03, 2006

For a Woman President

Every time I talk to someone about Hillary Clinton running for president, or how long it will be before a woman wins, the conversation takes a decidedly defeatist lean, and ends with, "That will never happen." But let me drop what "would" happen so I can make an argument for what "should" happen.

Let's face it, our government will continue to do a lot of things that should not be done. And perhaps, as my friends say, a woman will not get elected. But should a woman be president? I would argue that, even in times of conflict—perhaps especially in times of conflict—a woman should be president. I don't mean a woman who talks tough like a man, but a feminist who understands how to build consensus, bring voices to the table, and can understand the complexity of the issues our country faces.

It's ridiculous to me that people talk about George W. Bush being a strong leader when he has done so much to divide the country. A strong leader unites, not divides. Unfortunately, he's shown himself far more able to divide and conquer the American electorate than he has to defeat the Iraqi insurgency. In the process, we find ourselves in an incredibly rancorous political era, with our country and war effort suffering for it.

Feminist theory, the feminist lens for evaluating problems, is to seek resolution by bringing disparate perspectives to the table. Just imagine how much more coherent our approach in Iraq could be if the president had listened to more perspectives than simply Cheney and Rumsfeld. A woman, feminist president would never find herself relying on two trusted advisors.

So our country might be too scared, too terrorized by our own government, to see beyond tough-talk cowboy language. But, if we want to win the war on terror and strengthen our civic spirit, then we should elect a woman president


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