Meredith C. Carroll: I’m still with her
I have nothing against old white men. In fact, some of my favorite men are old and white. That’s why it’s a relief today to see that the old white men have once again managed to capture the headlines, and the majority of votes. I was starting to worry the old white men might be losing their luster (although not in the teeth or skin; that’s why God created cosmetic dentists and spray tans).
Thank goodness Joe Biden, who New York Times columnist David Leonhardt described Monday as the Democrats’ “only good alternative” to Bernie Sanders despite also describing Biden’s campaign as “grievously wounded” as recently as last week, managed to come out swinging on Super Tuesday. And thank goodness Mike Bloomberg showed exactly how many votes half a billion dollars can buy, in case anyone was terminally bored or mildly curious.
It comes as little surprise that Elizabeth Warren’s path to victory in the November presidential election remains unclear, although not for a lack of merit on her part. Panic has been in the air as of late, and when Americans panic, old white men take it upon themselves to soothe the nation’s soul much like a bowl of Kraft Mac & Cheese, or that one special stuffed animal from childhood that is reminiscent of better days, despite its current status as mostly unstuffed, largely limbless and probably still carrying traces of the strep virus from that time you couldn’t seem to shake it in the second grade.
Comfort food and old white male presidential candidates both target a distinctly American need for instant gratification, even when viewed from a wider lens it’s clear that both will arguably contribute to our personal and collective demise.
If we’re learning anything from this election so far, it’s that the United States will remain the most advanced nation on the planet somehow not evolved enough to elect a woman just because she’s a woman. Instead, we’ll lean on the familiar old white man crutch while calling female candidates unelectable and polarizing, and when those arguments fail, we’ll weaponize PMS (especially, and oddly, in post-menopausal women). Their hair will be condemned, as will their emails, DNA tests and, of course, their tone of voice when articulately schooling rivals on the specifics (or lack thereof) of their performance.
“This crisis demands more than a senator who has good ideas,” Warren said Saturday about Sanders’ time in Congress, where he turned only three of the 422 bills of which he was the lead sponsor into law — and two of them were to name post offices, “but whose 30-year track record shows he consistently calls for things he fails to get done and consistently opposes things he nevertheless fails to stop.”
If you’re not a woman who has ever been shut out, pushed aside, outtalked, overpowered, overlooked, demeaned, outspoken, underpaid, underappreciated, harassed, gaslit, outshined, out promoted, overruled or dismissed just by virtue of being a woman (so, if you’re not a woman), then perhaps you can’t grasp the significance of seeing women on top who have suffered much of the same but nevertheless persisted in standing up, speaking out and effecting change. Sometimes an election can be as simple as voting for the right woman — even if it’s only because she’s a woman.
“I’m a firm believer that we learn through what we see,” “Schitt’s Creek” co-executive producer and star Daniel Levy said to WBUR’s “Here and Now” of the choice to make his character gay without commentary. “To present something as it should be, I think has a much more powerful effect in people’s homes. … It’s a form, I guess, of sort of quiet protest, saying that this is how things should be.”
The only thing inevitable in this election is the thinking that it needs to end with a man in charge. In 2020 it shouldn’t be a novel idea to elect a candidate who is market-oriented and worker- and consumer-friendly with integrity, independence and useful experience who isn’t also covering up an NDA or stop-and-frisk problem, hasn’t suffered a heart attack in the past six months, demonstrated a potential cognitive impairment, or ever been impeached — and who happens to be a woman.
There’s no such thing as being “ready” for a woman in the Oval Office. After 231 years of old white men looking after other old white men (and some younger ones, too), we are past due for a woman in charge to expressly address the very real — and very different — needs of another gender.
It’s possible for a president to keep an eye on your 401k (which is doing how these days, by the way?) as well as your health and safety — all while being female. Our country needs a woman on top, and it’s OK if she gets there just because she’s a woman. Although in the case of Warren, that would definitely be the least of it.
More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.