By Colleen O'Connor
The New York Times editorial board’s dual endorsement of two female candidates for President of the United States should not have come as a surprise.
The last three years of the Trump presidency, as well as the last 250 years of U.S. History, have demonstrated all the reasons why.
Start with the centuries long assumption that women are the “moral guardians” of American society. It was this female virtue—assumed to be genetic as well as religious in nature—that gave women an opening to lead.
Whether in opposition to slavery, wars, corruption, alcohol, child labor, or cruelty in all its forms, women have led. And, it was their undeniable moral authority that granted them that special status.
Women who stood silent witness to horrors and abominations, began to resist. One of the hardest such fights was gaining their right to vote and hold property in their own name.
Then came the no-fault divorce laws, equal access to education, and admission to once male-only bastions of power such as law, medicine, finance and technology.
And today, admission to the pinnacle of power in politics.
It is no happenstance that the leaders of the opposition to the last vestiges of sometimes toxic, entitled male privilege and abuse, personified by President Trump, are women.
Today, 65% of Democratic voters are women.
They are riding a wave generated by millions of women over hundreds of years and brought to stark relief with the advent of social media and sex abuse revelations too abhorrent to ignore.
Just the names bring disgust to the fore: Epstein, Cosby, Weinstein among others.
Trump’s life and administration reinforce that revulsion.
Start with the Access Hollywood tape, the many allegations against Trump brought by women, the porn star payments; his pathological lying (last count=16,241), his abusive behavior, his narcissism, and his unbridled greed. What you see is not just a failure of “moral character,” but the presence of a pathology too ugly to name. The very definition of “unfit for the office of the Presidency.”
So, who stands up to him? Courageous women. Millions of them.
And they delivered not just the House of Representatives to the Democrats, but the indictment and impeachment of the President for illegal and immoral acts as well.
Diplomats like Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, National Security Council Advisor Fiona Hill, U.S. Women’s Soccer team Captain Megan Rapinoe, actresses too numerous to name, and of course Stormy Daniels–the porn star who led the unmasking parade.
And who can forget the massive, spontaneous Women’s March on the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency—aimed at his potential threat to civil, human and women’s reproductive rights? It remains the largest single-day protest march in U.S. history.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right when she said “the times have found us.” And now, so too has the New York Times, with a ground-breaking editorial endorsing two women who are candidates for the Democratic nomination for President—Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.
The Times editors did so with history in mind. As the traditionalist editorial board wrote:
“The events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.
“There are legitimate questions about whether our democratic system is fundamentally broken. Our elections are getting less free and fair, Congress and the courts are increasingly partisan, foreign nations are flooding society with misinformation, a deluge of money flows through our politics. And the economic mobility that made the American dream possible is vanishing.
“Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.
The real surprise isn’t that the Times endorsed these two women—but that so few saw it coming.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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