Madame President

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What I’m listening to. 

Tomaso Albinoni - Concerto Op. 9/11 in B flat Major 

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Memories of being a single Mom from the recent past.

New York Times - What My Mother Sees in Hillary

IN 1973, my mother’s first husband was killed in a car crash in downtown St. Louis. My brother, Jason, was nine months old. In swift succession, my mother lost the following things: the father of her first child; access to a credit card; her car insurance; and the ability to take out a loan. The first was terrible luck. The other things were taken from her because she was a single woman — with a son, to boot — it was the 1970s, and, as she put it, “you were not considered legitimate at that time unless you had a man in your life.”

Editor's note:

The, ‘should I vote for Hillary question because she’s a women’ has played out in the last two US Presidential elections but in terms of race not gender. People that self identify as ‘black’ were faced with the same question both in 2008 and 2012 as women are facing today and did in 2008 about Hillary.

The numbers are very clear: people who self-identified as 'black' voted overwhelmingly for Obama enough above the norm for any past Democratic Presidential candidate to conclude that part of the reason (possibly about 3-4%) why he got this vote was race.

But why would anyone vote for someone because of the colour of their skin? And more importantly, if so, does it make them racist?

Well, when those that vote answer the question, ‘did you vote for someone based on colour?’ answer, ‘yes, because I believe that all members of each race possess characteristics and abilities specific to that race in such a way as to distinguish each as inferior or superior to each other’ then that person is racist, and is rightly called so.

But I think that’s not why Obama got an average of 94% of the black vote in the 2008 and 2012 elections against an average of 86% for Democratic Presidential candidates in the eight prior elections held since 1976. Instead, it’s closer to the truth that black voters felt a ‘kinship’ with him more than a ‘skin ship’ because of the feeling of a shared culture and life experience, as well as they liked his Party and his policies.

Many commentators noted how ‘black’ Obama often sounded, as in refusing change from a fast food cashier by saying, “Nah we straight.” He knew who he was talking to, who was listening, and he knew what he was saying: I’ve been there, in your shoes.

So in one fell swoop voting for Barack Obama who self-identifies as black redefined American leadership for all Americans but particularly for blacks: a black man is President, now, not could be, should be, can be, will be, but, is despite everything, all the obstacles, all the history, and all the risks that only black men face in 21st century America.

As concluded in a wonderful article by Touré in Time Magazine (that schooled me on this topic with its clever title and subtitle): “There’s a love of self in that vote, and his election in turn impacted black national self-esteem, the way Kennedy’s victory helped Irish-Catholics feel fully American. .... race is .... something that becomes a deep shaper of your life, a significant part of your soul, such that the revolutionary success of a black person on the nation’s most important stage is critical to your life and worthy of support, if he’s also got policies you like.”

Black people voted for Obama not because he was black but because he had experienced what it was like to be black in the United States, not that he looked like them due to his skin colour but that because of his skin colour they had a shared a life experience, ‘he was them’ (emphasis).

That would not have mattered however, if, as Touré concludes, that Obama did not have the policies that spoke to their lives.

So what about Hillary?

Well, it’s the same thing isn’t it?

It’s not, as I’ve heard some women (and men) say, about sex organs. It is about the unrelenting cultural, religious, societal, economic, political and biological pressures that women face and men don’t.

Pressures that create a female life experience completely different from men usually to the disadvantage of the female.

A lifetime of experience shared that is gender specific.

As best, not being a woman, as I can imagine: baby clothing colours, toys, menstruation, fashion, body shape, make up, arts over math and science, manners, bossy boots, lower lifetime income, sexual assault (actual and feared), the diamond ring, to baby or not to baby, being talked past at a business meeting, the women's golf tee, spousal abuse, giving birth, breastfeeding, menopause, and younger women, these all only matter to women as women.

Helen Reddy was right: I am woman.

If blacks, once they confirmed that Obama was qualified and liked his policies, voted for him because his skin colour confirmed membership in their life experience club then what’s the difference about voting for Hillary, not because she’s a women physiologically but because as a women she has a shared a set of experiences that only other women could have.

You know like the 4.20 afternoon phone call just as you head into an important meeting when you thought the baby sitter was all taken care of.

In one fell swoop voting for Hillary Clinton, a women, will redefine American leadership for all Americans but particularly for women: a woman can be President, now, not could be, should be, can be, will be, but, is.

And to paraphrase Touré, 'not to relish in this historic moment for Clinton you have to believe that gender is merely a question of a penis or a vagina not something that is a deep shaper of your life, a significant part of your soul, such that the revolutionary success of a woman on the nation’s (and the world's) most important stage is critical to your life and worthy of support, particularly if she’s also got policies you like' and I would add, is more likely to deliver because of her experience.

The rest is mostly noise, deflection, and in some cases, misogyny. 

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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

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Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

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Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.