Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clinton's loss is personal for some women

Susan Lockwood: "I feel today like I have felt the last couple of weeks, disappointed. I was hoping to see a woman president in my lifetime, and I think she's our best shot."

Chris Zuppa | Times

Susan Lockwood: "I feel today like I have felt the last couple of weeks, disappointed. I was hoping to see a woman president in my lifetime, and I think she's our best shot."

TAMPA — Inside the slightly dusty Mazda 626, carpooling it across Tampa Bay, the conversation kept turning to Hillary's motives and Hillary's flaws and the eclipse of the dream that Hillary had come to represent.

Behind the wheel, Susan Lockwood — a 64-year-old unreconstructed feminist — was mourning the end of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's historic campaign. But on Wednesday morning she was also trying to pierce the mystery of why the senator had not formally conceded. As usual, Lockwood interpreted Clinton's behavior in the most positive light possible.

"I would like to think that she is being careful, putting the interest of the party and the country ahead of her own personal interest."

Chiming in from the passenger seat, her friend Laurie Berlin wasn't so sure about Clinton's selflessness.

"I hope someone gave her a good talking-to," said Berlin, 53. "Because it's all about November now."

• • •

For Lockwood, as for so many women who grew up during the golden age of feminism and who have taken such pride in Clinton's ascent, this week's turn of events has been deeply painful.

Lockwood is not bitter. She admires Barack Obama and is ready to vote for him. Still, to see her candidate come so close to winning the nomination, and then to see that chance slip away, has left her wrestling with a quiet but persistent sadness. So many other countries around the world — India, Israel, Germany, to name a few — have elected women as their leaders. Why not the United States?

Some of Clinton's defeat, Lockwood thinks, can be attributed to the endurance of sexism in our culture. She heard some of the virulent attacks in the media; she remembers the day a woman asked John McCain, "How do we beat the b----?" Lockwood knows that Obama faces similar hatreds.

"There's so many people out there who say, 'I'd never vote for a woman, or I'd never vote for a black man,'" she said Wednesday in the car with her friend Berlin.

For months now, Lockwood and other women around her have been debating all things Hillary. Some of the most animated conversations have occurred as they've shared rides from Tampa to their jobs in St. Petersburg.

The director of grants at the Florida Humanities Council, Lockwood has worked to keep the political conversations away from her job. She won't talk about the campaign at her desk or anywhere within the council's offices at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Outside, though, the arguments have raged on almost nonstop.

Initially, many of Lockwood's female friends were diehard Clinton supporters. But as Obama's political gifts became more apparent and as Clinton resorted to hardball tactics, their faith in her waned.

"I was disappointed in the campaign that Hillary ran," explained Berlin, who also works at the council. "I did not like the person she morphed into."

Such disillusionment never set in with Lockwood. She didn't agree with all of Clinton's positions. Still, on balance, she believed — and still believes — in Hillary's intelligence and grit, her advocacy for human rights and for health care, her commitment to public service. As someone who marched on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment, Lockwood found it fulfilling to watch a woman of Clinton's achievements making such a determined run for the presidency. To her, the candidacy has been personal.

"This is one smart woman," said Lockwood. "Maybe she's too smart."

As she and Berlin drove toward downtown St. Petersburg, the debate rolled on. They talked about the toughness Clinton had developed during her husband's administration, about whether that crucible had eventually hardened her to the point where she was willing to resort to such tactics herself.

"I'd like to think that you don't have to play dirty politics," said Lockwood.

They talked about their dashed hopes, their fears that a woman might never be elected to the White House in their lifetimes.

• • •

Near the end of the trip, as they exited Interstate 275 and drove onto the USF campus, Lockwood began, "People of my age …"

"That's ancient," said Berlin.

"… we did grow up with, you know, certain ideals and beliefs."

"Hopes and dreams."

"Yeah."

"Then none of them panned out, did they, Susan?"

Lockwood shook her head, refusing to take the bait.

"On the contrary," she said, "we have such good lives. We are so fortunate."

Thomas French can be reached
at french@sptimes.com
or (727) 893-8486.

Clinton's loss is personal for some women 06/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 4:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]