by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
February 4, 2008
STAND BY YOUR WOMAN
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- The black vote. The gay vote. The fundamentalist vote. The Hispanic vote.
Little do we hear about the Good Ol' Boys vote, or that incredible group possessing a big chunk of our nation's wisdom, the senior citizens, and their vote.
The Good Ol' Boys' vote almost always goes the Republican route, is comprised primarily of WASM's (white Anglo-Saxon men) and it reared its ugly head when former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called upon Republicans (I think he meant white fellows) a few years ago to "Take back America."
Gingrich resigned in disgrace amid one more sleazy, adulterous scandal. Closet sex in Washington, D.C., is as common as seaweed in Florida - and the afternoon delight of evangelical male ministers. However, the golden rule remains, "Don't get caught."
The senior citizens' vote involves roughly 20 percent of our population and inside that group mature women (55 and older) outnumber their male counterparts about 100 to 80.
Which brings us to the Hillary Vote.
If I were a gambling gal I'd bet the golden group (seniors) - primarily the females - will not only get Sen. Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination, they will be one of the deciding factors in her unpacking - again - in one of the White House bedrooms.
The golden gals over 55 include a few million women and among them are many women who, no doubt, endured in private what was made so painfully public for Hillary - the ultimate marital insult of a Tarzan who thinks he has a right to monkey around with another monkey's monkey. These betrayed, suffered-in-silence women are our Aunt Marthas, our Grandmother Beulah, who took to her bed at age 45 and made grandpa wait on her for his transgressions, "hand and foot" until he died. A few of them were the pioneers of demanding a woman's right to vote; yesterday heroines of today's free women who "got it" - the right to be all a woman can be - separate and having nothing to do with who her husband is or by what title he is called.
My mother's generation used to say, happily and rather smugly, that behind every good man are two good women, his mother and his wife, And I was left to ponder what was behind "a good woman." Left to sensing the veiled and silent repressing of ideas of the women around me; the pats on the back for a quilt well-done, a pie well-baked, a girl child wearing pink ruffles and keeping her mouth shut while daddy eyed his sons with pride - and his daughters with nostril-flaring intolerance.
Years ago, in Orlando, Fla., I was occasionally invited to speak to various women's groups - usually called "clubs" - and I was often astounded at how frequently women identified themselves as "Dr. John Smith's wife" or "Councilman Dolittle's wife," etc., entering into a bleak anonymity, into having no clue their book of life did not have to record only one line: I was a good wife and mother. A woman can be all that - and so very much more the minute she accepts full responsibility for writing on the blank pages of that book, frequently declaring softly to those around her "Excuse me. This is my life, my book, and I alone will choose what goes onto the white, blank pages."
I'd further bet that a Clinton-Obama ticket would ensure Democrats get to return to presidential status. And as Sen. Clinton said recently in a CNN debate, "Whoever steps through that White House door picks up a whole bundle of problems." (Perhaps she should have said "...gets the dubious honor of trying to clean up eight years of bungling Bush messes.")
Why am I betting on a Clinton-Obama ticket instead of the other way 'round?
Barack Obama is almost too nice, is too young, and is too inexperienced to be captain of a very powerful international ship. He looks and talks like a gentle Boy Scout leader. The "most powerful person in the world" has got to have the instincts of an attack dog, the wit and wisdom of a Winston Churchill, and the unshakeable dedication of a Joan of Arc.
I doubt there is any better way of cultivating all of the above characteristics than to be the First Lady of a president who has the moral fiber of an alley tomcat.
A personal note if you will. Twice married and twice divorced, I experienced and endured almost every marital problem you care to name except adultery - at least none that I knew of.
What that makes me is not an authority on good marriages but a survivor of bad ones. A survivor of the humiliation of a union gone wrong before one's own small circle of family and friends. And I can only begin to image the teeth-grinding grit it takes to face the world and a world press hungry to know all the hairy details of what happened between your president-husband and one gullible, silly young woman in the Oval Office.
Kings and queens and princes and princesses and lords and ladies in the United Kingdom may function under a flag of "adultery." Ho-hum. So what? But the religious moralists among Americans and our sick national obsession with sex means we get to openly condemn what we practice privately. We get to point fingers at a lusty Bill Clinton or a pious Newt Gingrich while panting to know who, what, when, where and how. And nothing, but nothing, brings us greater titillation than for the mighty to prove their hormones rage and frequently go astray just like the forbidden, hidden desires of little ol' we, the people.
I don't know what, if any, deal Hillary Clinton may have made Bill after his fall from sexual grace. What I do know is that there is an American double-standard for men and women caught with the closet door open, their non-matching wedding bands gleaming in the light of the open door. After the so-called "disgrace," men like Clinton get to continue a lucrative public persona with the grinning unspoken "Way to go, buddy!" from their male peers, while the women get tarred with a reputation that follows them all the rest of the days of their life. They try to sell purses or capitalize on having had a few romps out behind the barn with a famous man, but the general public doesn't like reminders that women have basically the same urges - and urge-entitlements - as men.
Hillary Clinton has made her peace with her martial demons and today she manages a dash of dignity mixed with spirited determination to prove that it is way past time for pink towels in the Capitol bathrooms, a pink gown stretched on the pillows of the Lincoln Bedroom, and a warrior woman to make decisions that affect the entire world.
A Madame President in the Oval Office will already have found personal power outside the title of "Mrs." She'll identify herself as an individual and not as an inferior part two of an unbalanced whole. Chuckling over traditionalism, she will expect her man to stand to her left, back about three paces, and to smile like a plastic mannequin at every public function or photo opportunity.
Hopefully, the huge portraits of tomorrow that will hang in the great halls of the great house on the symbolic hill will show a seated Hillary Clinton, chin up, eyes steady, hands crossed neatly in her lap, fearless and record-setting, with a puzzled Bill standing behind and a little to her left. He'll have a reluctant hand on her right shoulder wondering how in the historic album of male-controlled American history such a portrait ever came to be.
The Hillary vote: Millions of American women whispering gleefully, "You should have behaved better, Bill. Had you behaved maybe Hillary would have become just one more subservient little woman walking ten paces behind her Tarzan, praying he won't swing across the jungle tonight to sample the fruit of a forbidden tree."
Yeah, Bill. You should've behaved.
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is based in Cartersville, Ga. Her Website features her columns and poetry. Write her at email@example.com, or at P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.