One of the troubling subtexts in the Democratic presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is the subtle wedge being driven between older and younger women as they choose whom to support. Whether or not there is a “special place in hell” for those women who do not help other women, as Madeline Albright tried humorously to suggest, and whether or not there were indeed “sexist” comments made by members of Sanders’ staff, as Bill Clinton suggested, it is not helpful to pit women against one another in this contest.
In this scenario, however, younger women are said to be somewhat dismissive of older women’s likely support of Sec. Clinton because they do not relate to the struggles women of Hillary’s generation, or older, went through just to begin to be accepted and rewarded for their talents and hard work. A struggle younger women tend to overlook even though they are the inheritors of the success of those battles. Like their young male counterparts, these women are likely to be somewhat idealistic and moved by Bernie’s clear focus on income inequality and consistent integrity throughout his decades in Congress.
Older women remember the courage of then First Lady Clinton when she spoke out in Beijing with passion that “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights…once and for all.” Younger women may not even know where that sound bite, so often played these days in ads and on the stump, even came from! Older women who have been paying attention know that Hillary Clinton has been fighting for women and children since she was as young as some of Bernie Sanders’ female supporters are today.
My feminist wife, Susanne recently posted on Facebook that she is “still looking for that dialogue or article that stops pitting generations of women against each other. As an old woman I lament that we still have so far to go. Of course different things are more important to different generations, but I love and depend on my young sisters and pray that they too see something to respect about what we bring to the dialogue.”
All I can say is, Amen!