Susan Sarandon: ‘Hillary Clinton doesn’t rep my interests.’ (TWEETS)

Lately, an appreciable number of young female voters have been throwing their support behind Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign for the White House. In response, Madeleine Albright, who served as Secretary of State when Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s husband Bill was President and legendary feminist activist Gloria Steinem have each offered these young women rebuke.

During an interview with comedian and talk show host Bill Maher, Ms. Steinem said:

“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.”

At a rally in New Hampshire held on February 6, 2016, Madeleine Albright, however, was more truculent, much to Hillary Clinton’s delight:

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

If only it were that simple.

In the meantime, multi-award-winning screen icon and longtime progressive activist Susan Sarandon, known for prominent roles in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking and Thelma & Louise, posted a trio of Tweets on February 17 in which stated in no uncertain terms why she prefers Bernie Sanders:

Although Madeleine Albright’s loyalty to Hillary Clinton, be it ever so strident, is indeed laudable, Gloria Steinem’s remark, on the other hand comes across as shallow and petulant, which is rather disappointing considering the other noble stands she has taken for women’s rights.

However, though I do not particularly or necessarily dislike Hillary Clinton in terms of her politics, I do have my differences with her and I must admit that Susan Sarandon has a valid point. As much as it is historic for any sovereign nation to elect and inaugurate its first female leader, whether or not a politician’s leadership will have a positive effect on any given sovereign nation or the society therein is a question of values and not a matter of gender, and not necessarily always a victory for feminism.

Case in point, on January 24, 1966, Indira Gandhi became the first woman elected Prime Minister of India. Though her political views were generally on the left side of the political spectrum, she became known for intolerance of dissent and ruthlessness, and in June 1975 was convicted of such illegal election practices as excessive campaign spending and using government resources in her campaign. Though she was ordered to vacate her parliamentary seat, she instead declared a state of emergency that lasted for two years, during which she ordered heavy censorship of the press and that her political rivals be imprisoned and stripped of their constitutional rights. Though she was voted out of office in 1977, she was reelected by a landslide in 1980. However, in 1984, following years of disputes between her administration and India’s Sikhs, she ordered an attack on the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar. In retaliation, she was shot 30 times by her Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh on October 31, 1984, and was pronounced dead that afternoon.

Many people consider Margaret Thatcher’s election as the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain to be a major feminist victory. However, in addition to privatizing much of Britain’s public infrastructure, using the profits therefrom to cut taxes and taking a stand in favor of apartheid in South Africa, Thatcher promoted only one woman to her cabinet during the entirety of her 11 years as Prime Minister and recoiled at being called a feminist.

In 2008, John McCain, believing he could reach female voters who were disappointed that Hillary Clinton had lost the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination to Barack Hussein Obama, chose Sarah Palin, the former Republican Governor of Alaska to be his running mate. Indeed, this was not only a blatant act of tokening, but also an embarrassing false equivalency. In addition to proving an utter incompetent, as evidenced by a disastrous interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin’s notorious stance against women having access to safe, sanitary abortions if need be prompted Gloria Steinem to astutely quip:

“Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton.”

Indeed, although both Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton both are in favor of the death penalty, they have stark differences between them politically, especially since unlike Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton has long been in favor of women’s reproductive rights. However, though Hillary Clinton has moved considerably to the left side of the political spectrum over the course of President Obama’s tenure, during her husband Bill’s two terms in the White House, she fell in lockstep with his support for the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. At this time, she also supported Bill Clinton’s punitive measures regarding welfare and crime, particularly a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time felons, and authorized more than $16 billion to fund police forces and prisons, along with legislation limiting dependence on welfare assistance to five years per person and cutting overall public welfare funding by $54 billion. This particular policy precipitated both an increase in mass incarceration in the United States and widespread racial imbalance in the sentencing of accused criminals, with non-whites being disproportionately affected.

Feminists have also criticized Hillary Clinton for accepting millions of dollars from donors in Saudi Arabia, since that country forbids that women hold political office or drive cars. They also have looked askance at her accepting contributions from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Citigroup – all companies that caused a major economical crash in 2007 because women and children suffered the worst from the ensuing recession. In addition, Hillary Clinton has been accused of discrediting and scapegoating women such as Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern with whom her husband Bill had an extramarital affair, and Juanita Broddrick, the former nursing home administrator Bill Clinton is said to have raped in 1978 while campaigning for Governor of Arkansas.

Granted, both Bill and Hillary Clinton both have recently expressed compunction for the neoliberal stances they took to win back centrist and center-right voters from the Republicans and the harmful effects thereof on women and non-whites, with Bill even saying as much before an NAACP convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July 2015.

“Yesterday, [President Obama] spoke a long time and very well on criminal justice reform. But I want to say a few words about it. Because I signed a bill that made the problem worse and I want to admit it… The good news is, we had the biggest drop in crime in history. The bad news is we had a lot people who were locked up, who were minor actors, for way too long.”

When Hillary was confronted by a group of Black Lives Matter activists the following month, she had no choice to admit that the policies practiced by her husband proved flawed:

“I do think that a lot of what was tried and how it was implemented has not produced the kinds of outcomes that any of us would want. But I also believe that there are systemic issues of race and justice that go deeper than any particular law.”

Despite this and Hillary Clinton’s pro-choice stance, longtime fight to provide Americans with access to affordable health care and gradual leftward shift since her husband left the White House, nobody can pretend that she did not support policy decisions made by her husband during his time as President that proved harmful to women, homosexuals and non-whites. It is also troubling to know that word has it that she has attempted to silence women who have accused her husband of sexual misconduct, which is a grave disservice to women overall. As a result, for Susan Sarandon and many other Democratic and left-leaning voters, the damage has been done. In their minds, the best choice for President of the United States depends more on which Democratic candidate is more consistent in both their system of values and their stance on the issues, instead of the candidate’s gender.

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