In May 1972, several people broke into the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) headquarters in Washington DC. The DNC housed its head office in the now infamous Watergate complex. During the break-in, the prowlers planted “bugs” and photographed documents. But, the wiretaps proved faulty. So, a month later, the burglars broke into the complex a second time. And, this time a security guard caught them in the act. The guard called the police and the burglars were arrested. Initially, the entire event seemed strange. Why, on earth, were these seemingly random burglars trying to monitor the DNC’s headquarters?
My husband was away for an intense two-week business trip, so I was left to care for our two wonderful, but utterly demanding toddlers on my own. Needless to say, life has been hectic. In the midst of the craziness, I have been intending to write a piece on the Watergate Scandal and its implications for the Russia investigation that is entangling our current president. Yet, something tremendous has happened over the past week and its historical importance demands our attention. (I know, I know; I keep promising a Watergate post. I will get to it, I promise!) But, first, let’s discuss the 2017 release of the JFK records.
This past August my family and I traveled to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (HHI). It was an over ten-hour drive from where we live in Maryland. I will just add that such a long car ride with two toddlers is a form of hell that I hope most people will never, ever have to experience. Not to mention that my daughter came down with a horrible ear infection and a MRSA infection in her foot that then spread to my husband’s leg.
Sorry for the delay in posting. During my absence, I was working on a piece that has been published in New America Weekly. The article looks at the history of child care in America. It argues that we will not solve our child care problem until we recognize that women have always worked in ways that extend beyond their conventional roles as mothers. In the spring, I will be back with new posts on the history of fascism, the woman suffrage movement, and women’s wartime experiences in WWII. Until then, you can read my child care piece here.
Forty-four years ago, when Shirley Chisholm became the first woman, and the first African-American, to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, critics dismissed her campaign as quixotic. Today, Hillary Clinton could become the party’s flag bearer, surely a moment of triumphal progress. But, the journey from asterisk to possible nominee has not stopped male commentators in the media from criticizing Clinton for shouting too much and for smiling too little. As well, Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, has had to face condemnation from media outlets for not being inspiring enough. Then there is last month’s attack ad from Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, that reduced Clinton to an annoying barking dog who is too weak to protect America’s national security interests. The ad not only dehumanizes Clinton, but it also reinforces a discriminatory attitude that women are unfit for leadership positions. This mindset, moreover, has long played a principal role in the shaping of American society, as it is of a piece with earlier judicial and political opinions that limited women’s rights on the basis that women were too feeble to exercise civic independence. In Mackenzie v. Hare (1915), for example, the United States Supreme Court not only upheld the Expatriation Act of 1907, an act that made an American woman lose her nationality status if she married a foreigner, but it also proclaimed the centuries-old belief that women needed men as their protectors to be “an ancient principle of our jurisprudence.”