Erica Jong is a poet, novelist and nonfiction writer with more than 24 books published. Her novel “Fear of Flying” celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013, and has sold over 27 million copies in 42 languages. Her latest novel is “Fear of Dying.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author.
(CNN)There are two men running for president and one lone woman.
Both men have been carried away by the madness of crowds. The truth is we don’t know what either of them can or will do. One of the men is a carny barker who is busy proving H.L. Mencken’s dictum: “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” The other is an avowed socialist who wants “a revolution” but who has only been tried in a white, low population state.
Then there is the woman. All her life she has fought for civil rights, children’s rights and women’s rights. We know what she stands for because she has been standing for those things forever: as first lady, senator and secretary of state. And she is standing for them now.
True, she has been around too long to be a “new face.” But the men are not new either. One is a real estate guy who boasts that he pays no taxes and the other is a senator whose favorite word is “revolution.” Both are old faces, but male. And both have gotten the biggest crowds of their lives and they can’t get over it.
So who do you think is more likely to keep promises? The woman warrior or the two guys? For me it’s utterly obvious: The woman is more likely to keep her promises to support children, women and people of color.
When people complain that Hillary Clinton is “shrill” I think they’re worried about their mothers. I’m not. When they call her a hawk, I’m also not worried. Grandmothers don’t go to war unnecessarily. That’s why Native Americans often used a council of grandmothers to decide on war and peace.
I’m totally comfortable with Hillary Rodham Clinton. She understands the nuclear threat. She fought against proliferation when she was secretary of state. She understands the Supreme Court and why we need more Ruth Bader Ginsburgs sitting on it.
She understands why education is important both in early childhood and adolescence. She understands why Black Lives Matter. She understands why black and white women’s lives matter. She understands why men’s lives matter. She understands climate change and why solutions are urgent and this is not only because she is a grandmother.
When people worry that she got paid a lot for her speeches, I shout hurrah. Good for her. In a world where women are paid less, she understands her value.
When people blame her for the deaths of ambassadors, I point out all the GOP budget cuts that exposed our diplomats to danger all over the world. When people blame her for her husband’s adulteries, I think “duh, are you kidding?” She wasn’t the one with the out-of-control testosterone. We might after all praise her for holding her marriage together. What about that? What about loyalty?
I can totally support the woman who said women’s rights are human rights. Can’t you?
I do think there are many people in our great country who agree with me, who see attacks on Hillary Clinton for what they are: discomfort with powerful, smart women who are born to lead. I do think that after 25 years in the public eye, few women would be left standing.
Today, we women are subject to many double standards — as experienced women and male feminists know. We are the gender that grows more radical with age — as Gloria Steinem pointed out. And the men who love us often grow more radical, too. The late Marty Ginsburg grew more and more proud of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
So let’s gather round and get used to the voice of a woman leader. Many countries have flourished under female presidents and prime ministers. Our time is now. The USA will be left behind until we have a woman leader.
Our P.T. Barnum candidate is not the future. And Bernie Sanders is a thing of the Brooklyn socialists past. Only the very young would believe that his utopian vision could come true anytime soon. It’s time for a woman leader with a consistent vision.
What’s wrong with having a diamond sharp vision of the future and the strength to carry it out? What’s wrong with experience? What’s wrong with forceful beliefs that don’t change with the wind? Whom do you trust if you don’t trust your grandmother?
I trust Hillary Rodham Clinton’s long-held beliefs and the prodigious work she has put behind them. Bernie is a beautiful dreamer. Trump is a fake and a fraud. Of the three candidates I know whom to trust.
In your heart of hearts you do, too.