Battle for the Nation (2)

Dear Male Democratic Candidates for President:

To the pulse of Mr Trump’s mantra, Make America Great Again, our internal divisions continue to deepen and by now it is evident that the president has no desire – or capacity – to mend our rifts.

Mr Trump’s behavior toward women and his inability to apologize means that a deep wound has been inflicted on the American woman’s psyche. That the electorate overlooked such behavior and still voted for him reflects a profound disregard for women’s contributions to the nation.

But women are responding. They have become more and more vocal and are running for office in greater numbers than ever before.

Since inception women have fought to have parity with men. They have had to fight hard for their right to get an education, the right to vote, to have an abortion, the right to equal pay.  The struggle goes on. And yet there remain many women today who, having internalized the contempt in which some men have held them over the years, continue to undervalue themselves.

The vote that some women gave to Mr Trump in 2016 epitomizes the denial of such contempt.

How else could these women make light of this man’s open mistreatment of their sisters, mothers and daughters?

Without a doubt, and in response to wave after wave of feminist movements, men have made strides to counter their propensity to see women as sexual objects. Today such attitude still persists, but as we interact and discover that they are human beings in the female condition – to borrow Simone de Beauvoir’s phrase – we discover that we are them and they are us.

Even as our capacity to identify with the plight of our sisters, mothers and daughters continues to grow, the fact is that no one can speak for them as well as they themselves.

The wounding of the American woman’s psyche has had such enormous repercussions that I hold that the divisions that now beset the nation exist, in large part, because we have not allowed women all the freedoms they are entitled to as fellow human beings.

Had the nation long ago heeded their voices, had the nation allowed them to be present at the table in full body and mind, our country’s decisions, in matters at home and abroad, would most certainly have been wiser.

As I write, a predominantly white and male cabinet is backing the Trump administration’s increasingly war like stance against Iran. A predominantly white and male cabinet stands passively while the president rattles the financial markets with ill conceived tariffs that threaten the health of the world’s economy.

The lack of women’s full participation in the affairs of the nation represents the most significant block in the effort to fully integrate America and release the powers that lie within.

There are no signs today of any national healing underway. Instead, instances of our mistreating ourselves remain part of the daily news. Again and again, the headlines are filled with yet another episode of cruelty, of Americans killing Americans, of Americans hating Americans. These acts are overwhelmingly committed by men, toxic men, poorly integrated men who are symptoms of the power imbalance in our midst.

With our collective despair growing I ask, where is the leader that can halt this mindless tearing apart of our spirit? I ask, where is the leader that can take command and speak to us as a nation and say ‘Stop! Please! Let us find a way to be kinder to each other, for there has to be such a way and I assure you that it is within us to find it.”

Alas, in this hour of protracted national grief, when the need is great, we cannot look to the White House for guidance because the House is empty. Oh, yes, there is someone living there, eating there, tweeting there. But there is no one there to which the collective nation can turn and ask, “Where have we gone wrong?” and expect an answer.  There is no one there who can hear us. There is no one there with the emotional capacity to grasp the depth of the deepening national anguish.

America needs now such a person. Someone who can bring us together, someone who can remind us that our powers lie in our connecting to each other and to ourselves, not in pulling away. There is no task as important.

I contend that, at this critical juncture, a qualified woman candidate would have the political and spiritual reach to bring forth the parts of America that have not felt included and thus profoundly enrich the national debate.

And so I propose, that to make that more likely, all male democratic candidates bow out of the race.

Having as we do, among the current candidates, highly qualified, battle tested women who have achieved their political stature on their own, let them vie for the nomination free of male interference. They do not need to be retested against male democratic rivals. They have had to do so, time and again, to reach and maintain their current positions.

This next election is unique. It offers the opportunity to bring to center stage the grave matter lying at the heart of our national divisions: the imbalance of power between men and women.

It would pit Mr Trump, the embodiment of male privilege, against a strong woman candidate who came into her powers on her own.

Withdrawing from the quest for the nomination for this one election, male democratic candidates would make it easier for the electorate at large to clearly see what these strong women candidates have to offer. It would spare much needed resources for the final battle.

It is a concession that you would be making but also a gift to the nation. A gift to your daughters, to your wives and to your mothers.

For this one election, and in the interest of the future unity and healing that it portends, I ask that you consider deferring your presidential ambitions and instead throwing your support behind the woman candidate of your choice.

I have no doubt that, in doing so, one of you would be chosen as vice presidential candidate, making good on that old saying, that behind every good woman stands a good man.

The nation is counting on you.

Oscar Valdes

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