Former First Daughters Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush were speakers on a panel for CARE International about global issues affecting women. However, when Clinton hopped on her progressive soap box, what we heard left us scratching our heads.
Clinton is getting headlines for connecting child marriage with climate change:
“[We] carry multiple concerns in both our head and our heart. Just listening to the concerns around education and climate change, women’s health, child marriage, access to technology, all of those are of course interconnected. We have to focus on each of them in their interconnectedness, and also as individual outrages that do demand our attention.”
Somehow, I doubt girls in extremist societies, who are prohibited from attending school while being groomed for their wedding day, aren’t pining over the burning of fossil fuels.
However, Clinton didn’t stop there. In her closing remarks, she denounced different ideologies (those contrary to that of a progressive agenda) as not legitimate viewpoints, but rather an amplification of bigoted perspectives. The response to which should be to speak out (i.e., “resist”).
Saying she was ending on an “optimistic note,” Clinton said:
“We have to realize, especially at this moment, that sexism is not an opinion. Islamophobia is not an opinion. Racism is not an opinion. Homophobia is not an opinion. Jingoism is not an opinion. So I think that in our posture of listening, we also have to get comfortable with standing up and speaking out.”
Discrimination is intolerable, but Clinton boils down disagreement to bigotry. That’s a big difference. Her divisive comments were a veiled attempt to denigrate President Trump and those who support him, but played well to the audience though. The host of the event titled “Now More Than Ever,” Michelle Nunn, started with a plea against the proposed cuts to foreign aid in President Trump’s 2018 budget:
“Don't cut food for people who are starving. Don't cut medicine for people who need that life-saving assistance. Don't cut girls and women out from opportunity and equality. And don't cut hope, and don't cut lives."
If this was a serious discussion about solutions to poverty, they would have expanded the conversation beyond just development aid to include reforms that spur economic growth. As U2 lead singer and humanitarian Bono rightly acknowledged two years ago:
“Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid — of course, we know that.”
The fight for women’s freedom and opportunity is a global battle that should united us, but divisiveness doesn’t push us forward, just apart.