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Hillary Clinton; Women and Children’s Rights

When talking Sanders verses Clinton I’ve argued “Clinton is a corporate democrat who stands for nothing progressive.” Some have responded, “she stands for women and children’s rights.” I’ve accepted that, but upon further thought, that is, at best, only partially true.

Clinton hasn’t championed poor women and children’s rights. In recent decades, nothing has hurt poor women and children more than President Bill Clinton’s 1990’s “welfare reform” which Hillary supported. Hillary Clinton’s connection to Marian Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund is often cited as proof of her advocacy for children’s rights, but Edelman and Clinton parted ways over this “reform.” Moreover, Hillary’s support for the war on drugs has resulted in mass imprisonement that has devastated poor and minority communities including women and children.

Clinton’s promotion of huge bombing campaigns from Serbia, to Afghanistan, to Libya is no boon for women and children either. Once again, women and children suffer disproportionately from what is politely termed collateral damage. She also embraced over a decade of economic sanctions against Iraq that international human rights organizations report led to the malnurishment of hundreds of thousands of children. War is incompatible with women and children’s rights, yet Clinton is a hawk.

True, she has supported Obamacare, abortion rights, equal pay for women and educational initiatives. While all of these have some positive impact, there is either an elitist or corporate tinge to the policies she advocates. Obamacare, like the plan Hillary pushed in the early 1990’s, while better than nothing, is a convoluted system designed to benefit insurance companies. It has not even suceeded in cutting the number of uninsured in half. It’s most affordable “Bronze Plan,” has high co-pays that poor people have trouble paying. And once again, it is the poorest segment of society, over representated by women and children, who remain uninsured.

Hillary’s espousal of equal pay for women has focused on ensuring that professional women make as much as professional men and enabling women to shatter the glass ceiling that keeps them from ascending to the most powerful corporate positions. This kind of elite feminism only changes who wields corporate power. It does not lessen big businesses’ domination of budgetary priorities and control of the body politic.

Her backing of abortion rights effects women of all classes, but again, in the 1990’s she did not object to her husband’s willingness to cut federal funding giving equal access to abortion to poor women. As a member of the Obama administration she was fully behind massive standardized testing and charter schools, at the expense of the public school system. She has vocally supported the educational rights of girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but kept silent about the status of women and girls in Saudi Arabia. Apparently, our need for oil drowns her feminism.

We can argue about whether Hillary Clinton stands for women and children’s rights, but there is no question that there is little, if anything, progressive about how she goes about it.
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