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A Few Good Women: Response to "Why Women Still Can't Have It All"

By       Message Lenore Daniels     Permalink
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Woe! Well, Condi Rice still managed to overlook a certain memo about a possible attack on the U.S. just prior to September 2001, and she went on as Secretary of State to help plan and enforce Bush II's foreign policy, which included that little business of "shock and awe" drama in Iraq. Some people call it a war!

Then there is Ambassador Susan Rice, good ole' Susan at the UN who, in March attended an AIPAC conference to echo the commitment of her boss to Israel's "safety": "Not a day goes by -- not one -- when my colleagues and I do not work hard to defend Israel's security and legitimacy at the United Nations" (Huffington Post, March 6, 2012).   Along with Susan Rice, we have other "genuine superwomen" such as Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Michelle Gavin, Nancy-Ann Min DeParle," all Rhodes Scholars. And then there is Samantha Power (of Rwanda and other political intrigues) who "won a Pulitzer Prize at age 32"--how are younger highly educated, privileged women with choices to measure up to the standards of   "these very talented professional women," Slaughter asks. "Such a standard sets up most women for a sense of failure."

Never mind that these women nod and agree with and represent the U.S. Empire in exploiting and enslaving workers, women, and children, and whole populations of sovereign nations. Slaughter does not mention Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, great at her job of following policy and deporting mothers, fathers, children. As of this month, however, Obama's regime, visionaries, recognize the need for the Latino vote this coming November, not to mention future engineers, techies, drone operators, and plain old ordinary combat soldiers.

Today, with more women "leaders" finding the exit door and returning home to families and less demanding jobs, these would-be superwomen are confronted by the "genuine superwomen" and the leader men who blame them for not working harder!

"Let's briefly examine the stories we tell ourselves, the cliche's that I and many other women typically fall back on when younger women ask us how we have managed to "have it all.' They are not necessarily lies, but at best partial truths," writes Slaughter.

It is possible if you are just committed enough! But we are, writes Slaughter. But there are these "trade-offs and sacrifices; these children, particularly teenagers who need us; these planes to catch, conferences, and meetings. "Dry cleaning," "hair appointments," "Christmas shopping," along with "children's sporting events, music lessons, family meals" have to be done on the weekends, for heaven's sake!  

It's possible if you marry the right person! Well, Slaughter did and it still does not matter because having a "high-powered" career means she misses the experience of caring for children. It is not the same for men like the former diplomat Richard Holbrooke who "absence" from his family "was the price of saving people around the world--a price worth paying." Yes!   There are omissions in Slaughter's narrative that have to gloss over the reality that Democrats are equally warmongers, committed to sacrificing truth on behalf of the Empire's interests.  

In case you do not remember Holbrooke, because Slaughter will not tell you. She has an agenda and she assumes see is writing for that highly educated and privileged crowd and maybe some young college would be women "leaders," this is the same Holbrooke of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, U.S. foreign policy of bringing democracy and saving the "little people" pf the world; the same Holbrooke journalist Robert Scheer wrote of in his article, "Speaking Ill of "the Best and the Brightest," Truthdig, December 22, 2010, shortly after Holbrooke died.

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Scheer writes:

One of "the best and the brightest' died last week, and in Richard Holbrooke we had a perfect example of the dark mischief to which David Halberstam referred when he authored that ironic label. Holbrooke's life marks the propensity of our elite institutions to turn out alpha leaders with simplistic world-ordering ambitions unrestrained by moral conscience or intellectual humility.

Holbrooke was "successful," in Vietnam with the pacification program that, as Scheer writes, "herded peasants off their land into barbed-wire encampments" while the U.S. Empire bombed surrounding areas. He was "successful," indeed, "infamous" as an operator with the CIA Phoenix program, also in Vietnam before the Obama regime sent him off to do his thing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once he was near death he muttered to physicians that the U.S. needs to end the war in Afghanistan.

This Holbrooke, for Slaughter saved lives, period! But she has a problem with this "ethical framework"--not Holbrooke's so-called "leadership." Slaughter asks: "Why should we want leaders who fall short on personal responsibilities?" Yeah!

"Workers who put their careers first are typically rewarded; workers who choose their families are overlooked, disbelieved, or accused of unprofessionalism." Would it have something to do with giving the U.S. Empire 110% in the task of saving lives, bring democracy and freedom to the world by way of the IMF, UN troops, Monsanto, Exxon Oil, and an assortment of high-tech weapons and air craft? Let us not go there; Slaughter does not, cannot. The material reality of a capitalist economic regime must not enter this narrative!

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Moving on: It's possible if you sequence it right!   That is, have the marriage and babies when you should, when you can devote all your time to the business of Empire as did "Madeleine Albright, Hilary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O'Connor, Patricia Wald, Nannerl Keohane" who got those babies born and in the hands of nannies while Empire's women "leaders" were still in their 20s and early 30s.. With babies all grown and on their way, these women were able to take advance of the "freedoms and opportunities" that came their way. Today, you are too old at 40 to jump aboard the Empire's train and you are at ripe age in your 30s, but now you have these little ones at home. How are your weekdays, starting at "4:20am on Monday" and ending "late on Friday," weekdays "crammed with meetings" and "a never-ending stream of memos, reports, and comments on other people's drafts," to include children?

Woe to us trying to be women leaders!

"I would hope to see commencement speeches that finger America's social and business policies, rather than women's level of ambition, in explaining the dearth of women at the top," writes Slaughter. And what is up there in these high-powered positions? Power! There is an entire structuring of social relations based on this power. Hierarchal, to be sure! Every rung on the ladder consist of people to conquer, conflicts and wars to promote for the good of "democracy," of course. Slaughter implies what an Alter Net article seems to spell out--that the Democrats are good, saving-lives-people unlike those Republicans, conservatives, right-wingers, who, for example, employ the highly educated, privileged law graduates "to expand on their scholarship as private consultants," (see the June 18, 2012, Alter Ne t), which suggests that only Republicans, conservatives, right-wingers "develop pro-corporate strategies in papers and are far better paid than their liberal counterparts." Obama, the constitutional lawyer has done his share of contributing to the development of banking institutions and corporations, has he not?   Slaughter's immediate boss Clinton and their Commander-In-Chief, Obama, expanded the drone program. Under his regime, there has been more suffering in this country and around the world, yet Slaughter wants to see more women at the top, more women, preferably Democratic women, at the top, wielding power--just tweak whatever might be "America's social and business policies."

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Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, Black Commentator, Editorial Board and Columnist, Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory

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