by Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
I think a lot about context. Analysis of a particular incident can be helpful. But without context, without some idea of what’s gone before; without some idea of what other related things are occurring in the same time frame; without additional information about the person or persons whose words or actions are being considered; without similar consideration of what people and organizations around them are doing and saying … without, in other words, context, we’ll basically have an isolated analysis of an isolated incident.
There’s another factor, of course, in analysis: what the analyzer brings to it. My perspective here at TM is that those of you who comment are providing analysis of your own. The generally thoughtful, insightful perspectives and ideas – sometimes presented with a good deal of passion and energy – which I saw in the comments was one reason I started reading TM daily.
What first got my attention, of course, was Taylor’s political analysis. Her book, The Hillary Effect, reflects the same careful research, attention both to detail and big picture, and the ability and willingness to do what is fairly often missing in political analysis: explicitly apply her own perspective, analysis, and conclusions (you know where she’s coming from) while keeping the door open to other views and evolving ideas.
Before going any further, I want to be clear about the “context” of what I’m writing here: I’m a guest blogger at TM, and appreciative of the opportunity Taylor provides me to share some of my own thoughts. Taylor and I don’t always agree, and frankly, that’s a good thing. The context of my consideration of The Hillary Effect, and my encouragement that, as possible, you support TM.com, includes my guest blogging position at TM, and that includes the fact that Taylor and I fairly often have differing views and perspectives.
Why You Should Read The Hillary Effect
To better understand, and analyze, what’s happening in 2012, read this book. It provides context.
It offers an in-depth focus on, in particular but not in isolation, the ongoing realities of sexism in our politics, and our society as a whole. Some don’t want to acknowledge that sexism and misogyny remain a significant factor; others don’t think sexism and misogyny exist – the gendered assumptions are “just the way things are.” The power of these perspectives in our politics – and so in our lives, women and men – is highly significant.
Attacking a political candidate – say Hillary Clinton – based on her gender is still totally okay for many, Republican and Democrat alike. Taylor’s book includes the chapters, “Is Freedom Just for Men?” and “It’s all the Woman’s Fault,” concluding with “The Hillary Effect.” What happens to Hillary Clinton is representative, if on a much bigger and more public scale than for most of us, what continues to happen daily. To turn the well-known phrase around, the political is very personal.
The stark view of Hillary amid all the men on stage in primaries, but also in media events and interviews, showed the (gender) imbalance as it never had been seen before. (Pg. 274)
TM.com readers already know that Taylor has just as consistently analyzed, and criticized, the Hillary Campaign’s decision making as she has the sexism of the 2008 primary season (and beyond). This book isn’t an “ode to an idealized Hillary.” Whether you agree with the overall analysis or not, you’ll know where it’s coming from, and you’ll be provided a broad political (and societal) context within which to do your own thinking.
The context provided also includes a focus on the realities of our two party system.
The trends continue to reveal people have lost their loyalty to political party. (page 274)
I identify as “liberally independent,” and one of my primary concerns, and frustrations, is with the widespread “stuckness” in, or simply acceptance of, the either/or, Democrat or Republican choices. Obviously, then, I appreciate the inclusion of this factor in Taylor’s analysis.
One last bit of context for this post: Taylor didn’t ask me to do it. I presented the idea. What I’ve written is no doubt influenced by my being a reader, then commenter, then guest blogger, at TM.com. It’s significantly more influenced by my own political, and advocate, journey of several decades.