Yesterday, Hillary Clinton launched another attack in the long-running Democrat guerrilla warfare campaign against the “war on women.” In an incredibly bold and impassioned display of rhetoric, which in no way made the same sort of ad hoc judgments her ilk claim to so despise, the Democrat frontrunner likened pro-life Republican presidential candidates to terrorists.
As a registered Republican and someone who is completely pro-life, I no doubt fall under Hillary Clinton’s view of those who, like terrorists, have “extreme views about women” whose policy positions are “dead wrong for 21st century America.”
But I’m also a woman. And I’m a little tired of having my interests defined and defended in an iron-clad dichotomy where anything altruistic and compassionate Democrats have to say is good and everything Republicans say is part of oppressive patriarchal hegemony.
I’m a conservative for the same reason I reject feminism. I believe in the sovereignty of individual spirit, not group think. There are no collective minds or hearts, no qualities endemic based on gender or race. To suggest otherwise and make judgments based on such venial, superficial facets of a person, rather than their character and beliefs, is sexist.
It’s a vein of philosophy that strips people down to the bones, dismissing the meat of their nuanced personalities as dry, useless gristle, and looking only at the meaningless structure which holds them together. This is utterly dehumanizing, because there is no room for dissent in such an ideology. The most vile, potent language is used to dismiss the arguments of dissenters. They must be dismissed because their arguments introduce gradation and complexity into a world that depends on rigid binary divisions.
It’s the evil behind history’s monarchical despots, the brutal and horror of the fascist regimes that swept the 20th century and the barbarism of Islamic radicals. It’s the same kind of rhetoric Democrats claim to despise so much in what they are pleased to term the “oppression” of the right. But it’s a rhetoric that runs rampant through their messaging. Hence anyone who dares disagree with Clinton’s definition of femininity wants to drag women back to the Dark Ages.
Republican officials immediately railroaded Clinton for comparing them to terrorists, and rightfully so; it’s deplorable. But the larger problem- the acceptance of the premise behind those deplorable comments- continues to go unaddressed. And so long as it is, we’re never going to be able to claim any sort of substantive victory.
It is deeply unsettling to be confronted with people so entrenched in their warped worldview they lash out against the people they purport to fight for, with no sense of the irony of their paradoxical actions. Especially when the absolute laws of reality ground worldview, there is terror in the implications raised by those who would hinge society, and alter the lives of millions, on something more fluid and mercurial.
But we can’t concede to cede ground and answer only with outrage at the language in which this sophistry is expressed. Our voice has already been discredited by the nature of their “us versus them” dichotomy. And until we break its iron rule, we will continue to lose.