The Shame in White Male Savior Syndrome
10 Jun 2018
Shame on every man from NBC’s Chuck Todd and Joe Scarborough, CNN’s Jake Tapper, Vox’s Ezra Klein, Rep. Trey Gowdy, former FBI Director Jim Comey, to Steve Schmidt to Senator Bernie Sanders and yes, even, Senator John McCain. Every single one did nothing but bash Hillary Clinton, working to tank her poll numbers and depress her voters in the run-up to the 2016 election. All are now hand-wringing and lamenting the lies and frightening behavior of the pathetic man-child their actions helped to install in the White House. They knew who Trump was from day one. But it was more important to them to burn this country to the ground first, before they would see a woman run it.* The sick compulsion of white male superiority is that they alone can save us. What do they think they will be able to rescue from the ash heap – and how many millions suffer needlessly because of their empty pride and braggadocio?
Think about how craven and ego driven a man has to be to do this. They all knew Secretary Hillary Clinton to be an effective boss and legislator with a solid reputation for working across the aisle. Wonky as she is, she can actually make the mousetrap work. They knew this too, yet spent their waking hours working to destroy her so they would not look mediocre by comparison. These men did this knowing the consequences would be an unhinged and likely compromised Trump.
This is not to discount the damage done by complicit females like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brezinski or NYT’s Maggie Haberman, Amy Chozick and Maureen Dowd. But they would not make the same dent were it not for the steady drumbeat of male voices bashing a powerful woman on every conceivable corporate media outlet.
How small and insecure do you have to be to behave this way? Yes, this is a rant. But if I see one more self-righteous male complain about Trump even though they helped put us in this fix, I will vomit.
Conversely, I applaud all fair minded men who were confident enough in their own beings to understand that it doesn’t matter who builds the widget. If a woman has the world’s most powerful political designation, that doesn’t take away from them personally or professionally. Rather, a woman’s success on the job can only mean greater success for all of us.
The political and social behavior of Chuck Todd et al only reinforces yet another type of toxic masculinity we would do well to overcome – but first we must see through it so that we are not again seduced by it when we hear it.
Always consider the source when such a man tells you a woman is “nothing special.” Todd actually called Clinton “over-prepared” because he couldn’t think of any other way to dismiss her.
Senator Bernie Sanders is another case in point. He was a purported ally, yet did more to lie about and bash Hillary than anyone, also under the guise of a savior. This 77 year old white man has a paltry record as a legislator and is known more for stubbornness than effectiveness, yet we are still so willing to excuse him while jumping to every false conclusion about a powerful woman.
No one is perfect. But we must stop expecting women to carry the banner for all womanhood in order to be acceptable while having a “boys will be boys” attitude toward men and a knee jerk reaction to putting them in charge.
Men so ego driven that the very idea of a woman in charge repulses and threatens them will never acknowledge that woman’s true worth.
We do not have to reward their insecurity with power.
* To paraphrase Slate’s Michelle Goldberg.