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Don't you bash that woman to me!

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Message Margaret Bassett
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First, a disclaimer. I'm as old as dirt. That's the way I learned to talk after living in Tennessee for 30 years. Agism is the oldest bigotry around. Wasn't supposed to be anything but reverence for the sagacious elder. Don't bet on it!

So best Hillary stay off the complaints about folks too young or too misogynist to deserve the presidency. If she proves to be the winner in Denver next August, I'll do my level best to see that she gets to the Oval Office.

In my lifetime I was denied opportunities because I am female. Education may help, but it doesn't guarantee anything but a transcript. Wanting to see the world, I believed being an airline stewardess would do it, but I was too short. So I stuck with international education and headed to Washington just when everyone was figuring out what their next job might be. Although fun to spend sunny afternoons watching returning generals parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, there were so many undercurrents in international student work. President Truman had a lot to think about in those first months. McCarthyism prevailed in conversation and in my job security. So I went to New York and worked with Scandinavians anxious to visit America after the weariness of war. In senior years, I delight in a world-wide web, spinning away. I still anchor my political philosophy to the New Deal. I watch Hillary press the flesh and wonder where it will lead her.

Hillary Rodham started her career in party politics early. From Wikipedia, I learned that in 1960, at the age of 13, she was involved in a recount matter on the South Side of Chicago on behalf of Richard Nixon. At the age of 17, she became a Goldwater girl. In Miami at the 1968 Republican convention, she was a delegate, championing Nelson Rockefeller. She left the Republicans in disappointment and concluded undergraduate work at Wellesley after writing her senior thesis on Sol Alinsky. (Could it be that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have had a conversation on community activism?)

We often hear how Hillary wowed the nation with her 1969 commencement address. Barack was 8 years old and probably never concentrated on that part of history. He did things his way by being the first black to head the Harvard Law Review.

Since the days of abolition and women's suffrage, there's an interlocking set of issues between slavery and women's issues. First, the slaves became citizens with the theoretical right to vote. Then women became important in western territories where their headcount was needed to acquire statehood. A century later, those whose ancestors were freed demanded and got the right to vote. Soon after, women campaigned for equality in the workplace. The Equal Rights Amendment is still in popular conversation.
One thing women are not is a minority, although white woman belong to a minority race. Black, brown, red and yellow woman""and men--are in the majority, globally speaking.

Globally speaking, women are not new on the world scene as national leaders. Golda Meir and Indira Ghandi each led their countries at a time when issues were sharp and resources scarce. How about the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher? If Hillary is president, Angela Merkel will be there to meet her at G8 summits.

In global affairs black men are prominent. Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela are persons who have walked on the world stage. Barack Obama is the second black US Senator. We hear how Hillary wowed the nation with her 1969 commencement address. Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, a Republican, spoke before her, and she criticized him. The event helped to make the speech a national topic.

If one compares the career paths of our two Senators, I suppose the role of the constitution would be part of their common interest. After all, they've both taught law.

Age, race, legal paths, legislative paths, all of these and more would make good topics to compare the two candidates. Not many issues divide them.

Hillary is intelligent, ambitious and dedicated. She is no Bill Clinton. Coattails should be disregarded. Her advocacy for children marks her area of interest. There are no parallels to make with Obama. When she made the Wellesley speech, Obama was 8. They could discuss such matters.

In the early 70s, I remember brownbagging with other NOW members during lunch in the Loop. We discussed how black women had special issues before joining us. A little thing about not upstaging their menfolk. Same with Catholic women over the abortion stance. NOW wanted to be bigger than one race or one religion. WASP as we were, our heads were on straight.

So here we are, talking about a woman president and finding her less than a Greek goddess. Hillary Rodham Clinton comes across to me as a president who wants to fix everything and make us all happy and safe. So I didn't vote for her in the primary, but she's a dedicated Democrat. The two styles of running their primary campaigns are evident. One top down and the other bottom up.

In the meantime, the picture I have of Barack is that he understands the seamy side of Chicago""Altgeld Gardens and such. As far as how the votes will be counted and the mud will be slung, I guess his years in Springfield may have wised him up a bit. I think it's fair to say that Hillary has a followed a long career path, slugging out with the powers that be.

May the best person win!

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Margaret Bassett passed away August 21, 2011. She was a treasured member of the editorial team for four years.

Margaret Bassett--OEN editor--is an 89-year old, currently living in senior housing, with a lifelong interest in political philosophy. Bachelors from State University of Iowa (1944) and Masters from Roosevelt University (1975) help to unravel important requirements for modern communication. Early introduction to computer science (1966) trumps them. It's payback time. She's been "entitled" so long she hopes to find some good coming off the keyboard into the lives of those who come after her.
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