Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared at Acculturated. It is reprinted here with permission.
A curious thing happened in my Facebook newsfeed after the election. Suddenly, all of my liberal friends had one parenting objective: to raise “woke” children. They viewed the election as a sign of the apocalypse, thought that the country they thought they knew under Barack Obama no longer existed, and fervently believed that they would have to more thoroughly indoctrinate their children in progressivism in order to save it.
Hillary Clinton was deeply uninspiring at best, and troubling at worst, as the Democratic National Committee’s choice for a candidate. For many Americans, it wasn’t just about Clinton’s private email server, or Benghazi, or her husband’s history with women (and her decision to strip from his targets their credibility and honor), but a troubling pattern of unethical behavior throughout her time in public service. Yes, Donald Trump is a lowlife, but he’s at least open about it. With Hillary Clinton, we had a polished candidate who was unable to elicit even in her own supporters a sense of trust or enthusiasm.
In just the last week we’ve seen how dirty Clinton can play, and did play, during the Democratic primary season. Donna Brazile, writing for Politico, outlined in shocking detail the ruthlessness with which Hillary Clinton went about guaranteeing her party’s nomination:
Right around the time of the convention, the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politico story published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up . . . when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”
Voters, even the ones who decided she was the lesser of two evils, knew this about Hillary Clinton: She only cares about Hillary Clinton.
I discuss all of this not to re-litigate the 2016 election, but to make clear the inherent flaws in Hillary Clinton as a human being, politician, and icon to progressives. Which is why a recently published list of the “16 Best Children’s Books for Dismantling the Patriarchy” from New York magazine made me groan and chuckle. The list includes Chelsea Clinton’s book, She Persisted, about thirteen women who “didn’t give up.”
Some of the books suggested are in our own home (namely, Paper Bag Princess, a story about a girl who didn’t need saving by a prince, Pippi Longstocking, and Hidden Figures), but some are pure indoctrination. New York magazine’s list includes one alphabet book called A is for Activist and explains “Occupy Wall Street calls this book ‘like reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, but for 2-year olds.’ Think: ‘C is for Co-op, Cooperating Cultures, Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures. Oh, and Cats’.”
If progressives wonder why so many women, even those who want to teach their daughters to be strong and capable people, refuse to self-identify as feminist, this is why. Being a strong woman isn’t about being an acolyte of Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton; it’s about voting with our brains, not our gender. A candidate, political party and an ideology has to do more to earn my support and my vote than simply be female. That’s what I want to teach my daughter about feminism; which is why lists like these merely enable those already inside a feminist bubble to speak to only half of America’s women.
These kinds of lists make clear what their real agenda is: It’s not to make young women into independent and strong individuals; it’s to make sure their beliefs adhere to feminist groupthink.
— Bethany Mandel is a writer on politics and culture and a stay-at-home mom to two under two in New Jersey.