It is time to stop talking about Donald Trump for a bit and focus on “the other candidate”, the serious candidate and the one who will take the oath of office next January, Hillary Clinton. (I believe in the power of positive thinking) In the course of my daily news trolling, I was reading a blog I follow by freelancer David Gerrold in which he made several relevant statements about Hillary Clinton:
“I support Hillary Clinton because she made it easier for people to adopt. Anything that gets kids out of the foster care system and into loving homes is a heroic act.
And it speaks to her character as a human being that she thinks the welfare of children is important enough to fight for.
There is no question in my mind that she is a strong, competent, well-qualified candidate.
No, she’s not a brilliant campaigner — but she will be a brilliant executive whose heart is in the right place and whose skills will be appropriate to the job.
It’s time to stop whining and recognize that she is a true progressive. No, she’s not the male definition of progressive, she’s the female definition.”
That last sentence sent me on a path of inquiry and I wondered how other female world leaders are, or have been, perceived as successful leaders.
Starting with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) from 1979-1990, the first headline I came across was: Margaret Thatcher: The woman who made Britain great again in the British publication, The Telegraph. Very interesting turn of phrase, since the article was from 2013, the year of Thatcher’s death and fully two years before Trump took it as his own. While I am certain that there are those in the UK who would argue the point, this article gave her generally high marks, saying “She was a leader who wrenched this nation from the path of demoralization, diminishment and decline so decisively, so self-evidently successfully, that her victory seems, in hindsight, to be almost an inevitability.” I particularly like these two quotes by Ms. Thatcher:
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
What about Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India from 1966-1977, and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984? The National Interest, a foreign policy magazine, ranks her among the three greatest Prime Ministers of India.
“India’s parliament was stable as her party has a majority. Though flawed in implementation, she promoted policies like family planning and women’s rights. The Green Revolution during her rule gave India food security for the first time ever. Her biggest achievements were in the realm of foreign policy, however. India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War is considered one of its finest moments. This war led to the secession of East Pakistan from Pakistan, and it became the newly independent and generally pro-India country of Bangladesh. By actually achieving the liberation of Bangladesh before China or the United States could intervene and while fighting Pakistan on India’s west, Gandhi displayed strategic competence. The breakup of Pakistan gave India security against being outflanked on both the east and west.”
Golda Meir, the first female Prime Minister of Israel, perhaps more than any other world leader, female or male, faced some of the toughest challenges with a combination of strength, courage and always, compassion. I had and still have enormous respect for her. A New York Times article from 1978 had this to say:
“Her often-stated ambition was to see Israel accepted by its Arab neighbors and living in peace. With firmness and determination, she sought but failed to achieve those aims. When President Sadat arrived in Israel, after Meir left office, he confided to interviewers that he would have preferred to negotiate with her because he regarded her as “a tough old lady” who had the will to persevere on the road to peace.”
A few of my favourite quotes from Ms. Meir:
“We don’t want wars even when we win.”
“We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.”
“Our generation reclaimed the land, our children fought the war and our grandchildren should enjoy the peace.”
Last but not least is Angela Merkel, present Chancellor of Germany since 2005. In 2015, Merkel was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”.
“Her political style was not to have one; no flair, no flourishes, no charisma, just a survivor’s sharp sense of power and a scientist’s devotion to data. Even after Merkel became Germany’s Chancellor in 2005, and then commanded the world’s fourth largest economy, she remained resolutely dull—the better to be underestimated time and again. German pundits called her Merkelvellian when she outsmarted, isolated or just outlasted anyone who might mount a challenge to her.”
Four powerful, successful and intelligent leaders who just happened to be women. Four other nations, Liberia, Argentina, Bangladesh, and Lithuania also currently have female leaders. In the next week or so, I plan to focus more on Clinton, her career history, her successes (and failures as well, for it is from our failures that we learn the most), her platform and what she can/will do for this nation over the next four years. But for today, I wanted to address the fact that she will be the first female President of the United States, for any who may still have an irrational, misogynistic fear of her for that reason alone. While I don’t think that applies to many men anymore, at least it is not a prevalent fear among the men I know, I am sure there are still some men, and women, who do not like her simply because she is … a woman. I will proceed, in future posts, to show why she will make an excellent president, to address any legitimate concerns that people have. Note the keyword “legitimate” … I refuse to deal with trumped up (pun intended) scandals and will speak only of actual policy and campaign-related issues.
With just over two months left until the election, I believe it is time for us all, the mainstream media and social media, pundits and casual observers, to start focusing on the serious candidate and put the clown back into the box from whence he came. That is not to say I will quit writing about him … I tried that once, remember? But we really must begin talking more about Clinton who has a number of very good plans and ideas that have gone, thus far, largely unnoticed in the media circus.