How Hillary survives politics

It’s interesting that Hillary is so often maligned and perceived as a bad person. Her husband in commenting on the effectiveness of Republican propaganda in tearing people down, stated that if you tell a lie loud enough and often enough, people will believe it. The GOP has used the approach quite effectively.

The people that know Hillary well, that have known her for a long time, uniformly describe her as a good person, who has been relentlessly dedicated to issues that concern her. One test of her character is her daughter; who appears to have been loved and nurtured and is a lovely person. Hillary seems to me a very intelligent, determined, and no-nonsense politician, who has her faults but is uniformly highly qualified for a job as a president, a federal judge, a law professor, or a legislator.

Our having this discussion illustrates for me the burden that women have, be it politics business or monastic life, to prove themselves competent and likable in the face of misogyny and prejudice. There really is a double standard, and we’ve suffered as a society by denying women access to the highest levels of life by subordinating brilliant women that were denied opportunities because they are women. I’d love to see the doors blown open in Thailand to allow women to fully ordain; this would mitigate the trend in Thailand of some high level abbots seeking money, position and power as a function of Wat monastic life, and perhaps return the Dhamma and the renunciant life example to the Thai Sangha and its lay people.

3 Likes

in politics a person can maintain integrity only up to a point at which runs the dividing line between successful career and just a career

How does her gender have to do anything with my opinion about her and my criticism? Do you really think I don’t like her because she’s a woman? Seriously?

How does her gender have to do anything with my opinion about her and my criticism? Do you really think I don’t like her because she’s a woman? Seriously?

Sorry, Vstakan. Maybe I overreached with this conclusion. Of course, I can’t know why you don’t like her, but I do have a sense that her “unlikability” rating is unfair, and that a man with her negative/positive attributes might be perceived differently. You stated that her status as a “bad person” is “obvious,” and that comment perhaps triggered my response. I don’t have “Republican sympathies,” but I do have sympathies toward seeing women in business, politics, and monastic life treated fairly and given the same opportunities and support as men, which may lead me to overreach in terms of advocating for more equanimous perceptions of women in leadership roles.

Coincidentally, Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni posted just moments ago on Facebook this article, which speaks ( at least to me) on the issue that fuels my projections… http://tricycle.org/magazine/bhikkhuni-ordination-modern-buddhism/

3 Likes

It’s highly likely your oppinion about her has been influenced by things you have seen, heard and read about her that have been influenced by misogyny and prejudice. Probably her whole public persona and the actions she can and can’t allow herself have been influenced by a culture of misogyny and prejudice.

3 Likes

Well, in order not to start talking politics again, I’ll just say that my negative idea of her is not based on her being woman, neither it is likely to be the basis of criticism put against her (just take the recent e-mail scandal or her business effort). The same criticism raised against a man would be perceived as absolutely normal, in fact, it would never occur to you that this very person was criticized because he is a man. I agree, there are some problems for women to be fully recognized as nuns and there is a huge problem of sexual violence on the rise here in Europe, and there still are many problems in countries like Russia or Romania where my girlfriend comes from. Anyway, here in Germany, I have never witnessed and my girlfriend has never experienced any discrimination based on sex, have never heard about any from our friends and people we know and we have never talked to a non-migrant person who has openly sexist opinions on any matter whatsoever. Sometimes, I feel discriminated or at least neglected here because I am man: women get all this support from the society, ‘girl power’, ‘go, girl, go!’, and I as a man get nothing, absolutely nothing. This is not bad, we know why it is needed, but isn’t that whole talk about the culture of mysogyny and prejudice a little bit overreaching when we talk at least about Western Europe (not sure about the U.S.)? Isn’t it becoming the second ‘Nazi gun’ people on the Internet are so fond of reaching for - sometimes unconsciously, as in this thread? Isn’t it rapidly becoming the modern synonym for heresy?

Hm okay. So two things…

One:[quote=“LXNDR, post:19, topic:3046”]
i’d favor Jesus or any early Christians as role models in standing up to actual persecution
[/quote]

I think I’ll choose my own role models. But thanks.

Two:
I think it’s really hard to see own our bias. As a fun exercise, I did a test online to see if I have an implicit bias against women and their ability to grasp science.(Test developed as part of a study at Harvard, has its flaws, but lets go on). Turns out I am biased about women’s capabilities in science (against them). And I’m a woman. With an honours degree. IN SCIENCE! :smile:

I mean it’s funny when you think about it. But in a Western country it’s hard to see. We can’t underestimate our hidden biases. What seems like a non-issue to us can be glaringly obvious to others.
We’re so used to the way things are. It’s only after travelling around Asia and actually being the subject of some major misogyny then coming back and forth to the West that I see it.

Look, what can I say. Look around for yourself. How many women do you see posting in this thread? How many women do you see posting on Discourse on a regular basis in general? Don’t you think this is a bit…anomalous? This has been something that’s been on my mind for a while. Women generally don’t favor online forums, no matter the subject. But as a constant traveler myself I appreciate the discussion and community that Discourse has the potential of offering, although I often feel reluctant to post. I think we could make it more welcoming to women.

We can’t solve the problems of sexism or politics in the world. But maybe we can make a difference to them right here.

8 Likes

Cara, I hope you feel free to write everything you’d like to write; I sure want to read it.

I’ve never been sure why more women haven’t appeared on online Theravada forums…when I go to the Wats in Thailand (and the Thai Wats in the US) the women are the majority lay visitors, by far, and often the most active and devout. Maybe the tone on some Buddhist forums is off-putting to smart women who don’t need the sometimes toxic banter and slagging that shows up on some sites, with male meditators bashing each other, or one-upping each other, over small points of dispute. It’s probably true that if women ran the world, we’d have fewer wars. Our crazy world might be a lot less crazy.

There are these fools who doubt
That women too can grasp the truth;
Gotami, show your spiritual power
That they might give up their false views.

—The Buddha’s instructions to Mahapajapati
(Gotami Theri Apadana 79)
trans. Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni

3 Likes

Thanks for the encouragement Anagarika :anjal: very kind.

Who knows, who knows. Mi nae, mi nae. I suspect the world may always be crazy unfortunately :smile: but less so would be good!

Women aren’t perfect either of course. I want to emphasize that’s not a given.

Also that it’s not a zero sum game. As women and minorities get respect and support, men won’t lose it. Although it might feel like that as privilege gets distributed.

2 Likes

I am really happy you are here with us, Cara. The lack of strong female voices in Dhamma discussion has often been something bothering me, it’s like missing some crucial things or new perspectives on things just because you are a man, so if I can do something specific to make this forum a more welcoming place for ladies, I am down :anjal:

Here’s my problem. I first studied linguistics as a single male student among fourty-something ladies. Then I started studying media sciences where male students make up around 20 % of the students. The situation is perfectly analagous to female students in the STEM fields. Moreover, my personal experience as well as that of my girlfriend shows men are on the average wa-a-a-a-ay worse in learning foreign languages or non-math related linguistics than women, or quite often have good language abilities but are socially discouraged from learning languages. However, the social reaction to this disparity is vastly different than the discussion around women and the STEM field. There is no social reaction at all, at least not any reaction I am aware of, no reaction I could come across in the media. I wouldn’t call it distribution of privilege, it’s more like _re-_destribution of prvilege.

The lack of a positive male image here in Europe is another big issue. Women here have a pretty good idea of what the society thinks is commendable female behaviour, like being strong, independent, having a career or scientifical aspirations. Being a housewife is perceived as something negative - whether it is just or good is another question altogether, the important thing is there is wide social consensus of how women should be. Men, on the opposite have no clue whatsoever. I know nobody who would have an idea what being a strong modern man means. This positive ideal is described in negative terms: a modern man shouldn’t do this and that and hold such and such opinions. Negative descriptions are saidly not something you can make good use of in real life.

If you don’t mind, I will go on a small tangent here. I am very much aware about the problem of sexism but sometimes I get the feeling that sometimes the approach to solving it is a bit odd. Quite often, it goes more like ‘women are underprivileged, we have to make them equal to men’, an approach emphasizing the woman/man division, and as every approach based on (even implicit or subconscious) antagonism, it will inevitably end up in injustice towards one of the groups, either women or men. Right now, the problems of men that definitely do exist are unquestionably to a large extent ignored by the society because it is more interested in solving women’s problems. Solving women’s problem is great and necessary, don’t get me wrong, but hey :slight_smile: What I would be rather happy to see is the ‘all people are equal’ approach that doesn’t explicitly raise the question of gender at all. Mind you, it doesn’t mean ignoring sexism if there is sexism, it is more about ignoring the gender where it is not relevant, e.g. in a discussion of Hillary Clinton. In this approach, fighting against sexism is not about respect and support, it is more about being surprised when encountering any mentions of gender in an inapprorpiate context. Surprised that someone thinks women are dumber or women cannot be ordained as nuns or women shouldn’t be scientists. Surprised that the gender was mentioned at all. There is in my opinion no need for resepect and support for a person because they are gay, straight, female, male, white or a person of colour, all of these things should rather be totally and uncompromisingly ignored where appropriate. We should judge, support and respect a person the way Martin Luther Kings dreamt of - by the contents of their character - and their belonging to a minority should be a thing of the past. Because as soon as you say ‘minority’, there is a division, antagonism. There are no minorities, there are no men and women, no gay or straight, no black or white, college graduates and school drop-outs, just people:

Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!

:anjal:

Dear All,

One thing I noticed, that here in the west, Buddhists are expected to be meek and not to voice out their thoughts. Voicing one’s thoughts and opinions, being honest, even when it’s within right speech and would lead to benefit, is not really appreciated. And guess what? It’s Buddhists doing it LOL. I’ve experienced that myself in another forum. But I guess because I’ve been told I’m too direct. Well, I just don’t like shootin’ the breeze and puffin’ up smoke up someones you know! But I’m really happy that I’ve found Buddhism, as I can be myself without being judged. Next to my mother, I’ve never felt so welcome anywhere else without being judged. I feel really at home with Buddhism.

Speaking of minorities, I am one (southeast asian) and my sister got fired because of racial discrimination several months ago, which really is shitty :disappointed:. Even with a colored president, old ways still have a foot hold here and won’t change here for a long time in the US after all. E pluribus unum is the motto. Yeah, right! There are many, but you know who the voice really is LOL!

Although I avoid politics altogether, I do hope that Hilary wins. Why? I just want to see the shock effect on people :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. And perhaps, maybe, I am hoping that people are open enough to have a female for a leader. But I don’t expect too much, just being hopey :smile: Would a female president be good? Why not? Perhaps some of the BS might go away. I say some because I know politics is politics. But I am confident that there will be improvements.

Man or woman, colored or light skinned, old or young, straight, LGBT or whatever is out there, we will always have our conditioning, so it’s really hard to judge people. It’s a really bad habit that is, judging, and we’ve been conditioned from early age to do so. Yikes! It’s a real eye opener when it happens to yourself, to your loved ones, or any body close to you :disappointed:. But hey, as Ajahn Brahm says, take that shit and let it be a fertilizer for your mangoes.

People think that they can do better than politicians, why don’t they go run for the office themselves? All talk but can’t do the walk is what I say. I don’t think any of us can do better than what the politicians do. We can debate and argue all about it, but lets be real. Would any of us do what they do? I know I won’t. And if you say you do, I say good for you and go for it! Wish you the best. Good on ya! Go save the world! No matter how good your intentions may be, but power will always corrupt, and absolute power will corrupt absolutely!:grin:

Just my thoughts. Sorry to interrupt!

May everyone have a great vassa! :joy:

in mettā,

russ

:anjal:

1 Like

Thanks @Vstakan :anjal: Appreciate the warmth.

Like I said, in terms of a ‘sexism intervention’ or a way to include women in Buddhist discussion, I have absolutely no idea what to do…yet, at least. I can’t comment on what is the ‘right’ way to deal with it. I am relatively new to Buddhism, new to being in a world where being a woman means ‘something’ about me. I’m not a spokesperson or advocate for anything, just still learning, still understanding, trying to get outta samsara!

I would love to say we should see all people as equal, but the reality is all people are not equal right now. I think the way the world is now, it’s easy for any of us to say “Oh, well, hey now, I don’t have it easy either you know”.

All I can offer is that what changed it for me was traveling. Maybe perception is a good place to start. It was talking to people, sharing their experience, and being part of their cultural conditions for a while that really changed my perception. But that’s just me! Sample of one.

But I do think as @Russell mentions, the perfect place to start is with our own conditioning and judgement. It’s been the only thing that’s ever really profoundly changed my perspective.

2 Likes

sure, that entitlement is undisputed

maybe because women prefer verbal conversations? i suspect a study of mobile phone use for voice chat may reveal the lead women have in this respect

1 Like

Well if women used to be “just” housewives (I actually think it’s one of the hardest jobs to do) and now traits like strength, independence and career-mindedness are encouraged by society, that probably gives you a hint of what’s expected by society of modern men. Things like treating your spouse with respect, spending time with your kids, helping with household chores including cooking, cleaning and laundry, controlling your lust and aggression but also expressing your subtler emotions - so basically less strength, independence and career-mindedness :stuck_out_tongue:

5 Likes

I must say that I never intended to raise such gender issues by posting about Hillary!

To me the interesting point was not her gender, but the fact that when she wins the election, she will become the most powerful person in the world, in fact arguably the most powerful human being ever to have lived.

How do you cope with that? I find it hard to cope when I miss a coffee! For her, the answer, it seems, is “meditation”. And I think that tells us something interesting, not only about meditation, but about its place in our world.

But anyway, I thank @cara for raising these gender issues. I think this is something very important, and I would like to encourage more suggestions in what we can do to create a safe and supportive environment for women. I don’t think the issues are specific to this forum, so I have raised the issue over at meta.discourse.com. Let’s see what comes out of this.

4 Likes

To turn this topic back towards your original intention, yesterday I happened to watch this interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi:

In it, he brings up an interesting point about the mindfulness movement in the west - that mindfulness without concientious compassion has the potential for great harm - teaching workers and consumers to accept corporate oppression as an inevitable part of life, training soldiers to ignore their emotions and become more efficient killing machines etc.

Now Hillary is a methodist and her practice is probably grounded in some ethical framework…but then again, I don’t see much of “turn the other cheek” in American (or any other, for that matter) politics and as the first female president, she most likely can’t be the one to start that trend. The people she hangs around probably don’t condition her mind towards compassion and forgiveness either.

So basically, to play the devils advocate a bit, the fact that she (or any other high-powered politician) meditates, might also have some serious negative consequences…

2 Likes

I couldn’t agree more, except for one detail: “the west”. Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka—all the Theravadin countries (and you can add Bangladesh and Vietnam if you wish)—have been the scenes of horrifying and ongoing human rights violations of the most vile sort.

Is it an problem that western bosses get their workers to do a mindfulness course to cope with stress, rather than looking at what’s causing it? Sure it is. Is it even vaguely comparable to the systematic slavery of workers in Thailand’s fisherys? No, it is not.

Evil does not belong to east or west. The details of how Buddhism gets distorted to make these things possible are, to be sure, different in different cultures. But we really have to get past colonialist projections on to traditional Buddhist cultures, and start to seriously consider how it is that evil thrives in Buddhism.

6 Likes

Bhante,

Can I clarify what you mean by “colonialist projections”? To me, a colonialist projection would be a devaluing of the colonized culture. What you seem to be referring to in this paragraph is a “rose-tinted post-colonial” perspective where the “ancient culture” is perfect…

Indeed, thank you, that’s much better put.

1 Like

that’s a fairly instructive observation, gives me a clue about at least one reason for the way in which European males react to sexual assaults on European women by male immigrants from the Middle East

1 Like