Miss Spoke

It was a YUUUGE night in little New Hampshire, after a spectacularly crazy week of words heard everywhere.

Prior to the primary primary, Madeline Albright, campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, declared, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Gloria Steinem, when asked why Hillary does so poorly among younger women said, “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.’ ”


That even trumps Trump’s repetition of one of his supporter’s sentiments that Ted Cruz “is a pussy”.  Trump considered the impact of those words before quoting his supporter. He knew he wasn’t supposed to say that! Eh….what the heck….

We hold Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem to a higher standard (and they are not contenders for POTUS).  I was cringing when I heard each of them. These are public figures who know the impact of words. They have forged not only careers, but changed the landscape through their words that inspired actions. They understand consequences–intended and unintended. They are seasoned. They have contended with difficulties and experienced breakthroughs and tremendous success. And they are merely insulting now.

I read an article about how we shouldn’t diminish Albright and Steinem based on this past week’s comments. Their long and distinguished lives and careers are testaments to their iconic statuses, and their work has been profoundly significant, not only as feminist leaders, but as principled, inclusive, democratic, encouraging women whose influence is (was) global and intergenerational.

Well, sorry….that all ended rather abruptly. Shaming women (or anyone) into voting for a particular candidate is shameful. And it is a losing strategy. Younger people are generally more attracted to idealism. In general, people want leaders who inspire. Even Bill is beginning to repeat the 2008 over-the-top attack dog bit that bit the Clintons in the behind. Hard to see how their being offensive while feeling defensive will win hearts or minds or votes.

The obvious reaction to Albright’s admonition is: REALLY??? Sarah Palin. Michelle Bachman. Carly Fiorina. Because they are women?

And Steinem….the ulitmate Feminist icon…sounding like Connie Francis: Where the Boys Are. My brain still hurts from trying to figure this out. It’s actually rather tragic. These two (3?) ladies seem so sadly out of touch with not just this generation of female voters, but with the last few decades.

And the response to the justified outrage and backlash? Steinem said that she misspoke.

No. Miss Spoke just didn’t consider that idealism is more interesting (especially to youger people) than pragmatism; that women and any other demographic group are not necessarily homogenous; and that thinking critically means evaluating beyond gender or race or generation or any other category.

Miss Spoke was not only insulting, but inaccurate. Trump’s appeal to many is that he is acutely aware of his rhetorical choices, and disregards accuracy or respect with the intention of garnering support by appealing to baser instincts and emotions.

There seems to be a different set of rules for the one who claims Miss Spoke (whichever one): we expect a different sort of discourse and program–one that appeals to our aspirations with critical thinking; our better angels and productivity. Miss Spoke needs to think and speak more broadly. And we know more than one Miss Spoke recently.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s