BETO 2020: A Masterclass in Male Entitlement – Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian UK

BETO 2020: A Masterclass in Male Entitlement

Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian UK

The Democratic presidential hopeful said: ‘Man, I’m just born to be in it.’

Lord give me the confidence of a mediocre white man! Specifically, I wouldn’t mind the confidence of Beto O’Rourke. A dude so assured of his inner greatness that, after losing a Senate bid, he decided the next logical step would be to run for president. Not only did he lose, by the way, he lost to Ted Cruz: A man so unlikable there’s even a conspiracy theory floating around that he is the Zodiac killer.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think losing one election disqualifies someone from jumping into the presidential nominations. Stacey Abrams has said “2020 is definitely on the table”, and I’d be 100% behind her running. Then again, Abrams didn’t really lose the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial contest; she had the election stolen from her because of voter suppression tactics.      

NO, it’s not Beto’s loss last year that bothers me, it’s his entitlement. His certainty that he’s qualified for the most powerful job in the world despite his lack of experience. His belief that he is qualified for the role despite the fact that he himself has absolutely no idea what he stands for. “I don’t know where I am on a [political] spectrum and I almost could care less,” Beto recently boasted during a stop in Wisconsin.

I’ll tell you where Beto is on the political spectrum: He is wherever it is most convenient for him to be. He announced his presidential bid by talking about the environment but his six-year record in Congress shows him to be a friend of the fossil fuel industry. His voting record is characterized by flip-flopping and he is vague about his position on healthcare and raising taxes. The only strong conviction he really seems to have is that he deserves to be president. “Man, I’m just born to be in it,” he recently enthused to Vanity Fair.

In many senses Beto is right: He was born to be successful. He is, after all, a rich kid from a well-connected family. His dad, Pat O’Rourke was a county judge and got 19-year-old Beto – who had no interest in politics at the time – an internship with the West Texas congressman Ron Coleman. Like many privileged people, Beto seems to have confused his luck for God-given talent; a talent so spectacular that he doesn’t need to do the hard work mere mortals do. “I don’t ever prepare a speech,” he boasted to Vanity Fair. Can you imagine a woman boasting about how she never prepares? No, because women know they need to be overprepared just to get a foot in the door.

Ultimately, what might be most frustrating about Beto is that we all know someone like him. He’s the guy in the meeting who hasn’t done any of the work but who repeats a woman’s points and immediately gets a round of applause and a promotion. He’s the guy who pays eloquent lip service to the importance of diversity, but would never go so far as conceding a woman might be better qualified for a job than him. He is the epitome of mediocre white male confidence. And if there is one thing America does not need at the moment, it is more mediocre white guys running things.

Iranian Lawyer Sentenced to 38 years and 148 lashes

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a renowned human rights lawyer, has been jailed for 38 years and given 148 lashes, her husband claimed this week. Sotoudeh was arrested last June, after representing Iranian women who had been detained for removing their headscarfs in protest against the country’s forced veiling laws. Sotoudeh was previously jailed by the Iranian authorities in 2010 because they didn’t like what she was up to. She’s a complete badass and inspiration – have a read of the interview she gave the Guardian back in 2014.

Saudi Arabian Women’s Rights Activists Go on Trial

Ten prominent activists appeared before the criminal court on Wednesday. The activists were arrested last May and some of them allege that they have been subjected to torture including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault. Saudi officials deny this, of course.

RIP Birch Bayh, a Decent Man

The former Indiana senator Birch Bayh died on Thursday at the age of 91. Bayh wrote the Title IX legislation that prohibited gender discrimination in education. He has said he was inspired by his wife Marvella, who wasn’t allowed to go to the University of Virginia because she was a woman.

Mind The Pay Gap, Get a ‘Frauenticket’

Berlin’s gender pay gap of 21% is one of the highest in Europe. To raise awareness of this, the city’s public transport company is offering women 21% off tickets on buses, trams, or the metro. Sadly this “Frauenticket” is for one day only: 18 March, which is Equal Pay Day in Germany.

You Can Be ‘Too Masculine’ To Rape, Says Italian Court

There have been protests in Italy after it transpired that two men were cleared of rape charges, partly because the court thought the alleged victim looked “too masculine” to rape. The judges were all women, showing that internalized misogyny is alive and well.

Chinese Database Lists ‘BreedReady’ Women

A Dutch researcher has found an open database in China containing the information of more than 1.8 million women, including “BreedReady” status. Nothing dystopian or terrifying about that at all.

Thornbacks of the World Unite

Speaking of BreedReady women, did you know that, back in the day, the word “thornback” was used to disparagingly describe unmarried women over the grand old age of 25? A tweet imparting this information went viral last week. Read more about it over the weekend in Rebecca Traister’s book All the Single Ladies.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 17, 2019 at 7:38 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 17, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Although Arwa Mahdawi made some valid points, I could not help laughing as I read her essay. None of it is really funny – but I did have a funny reaction.

    LOOK: In 1866, an ex-slave, Frederick Douglass, wrote a similar essay in The Atlantic newspaper:

    ‘A Treacherous President Stood in the Way’ [posted here at Guyanese Online]

    Douglass wrote:
    “Slavery, like all other great systems of wrong, founded in the depths of human selfishness, and existing for ages, has not neglected its own conservation.

    It has steadily exerted an influence upon all around it favorable to its own continuance. And today it is so strong that it could exist, not only without law, but even against law.

    Custom, manners, morals, religion, are all on its side everywhere in the South; and when you add the ignorance and servility of the ex-slave to the intelligence and accustomed authority of the master, you have the conditions, not out of which slavery will again grow, but under which it is impossible for the Federal government to wholly destroy it, unless the Federal government be armed with despotic power, to blot out State authority, and to station a Federal officer at every cross-road. This, of course, cannot be done, and ought not – even if it could.”

    Douglass is right – it is still a white man’s world!! The USA had a “Three-Fifths Clause” written into their constitution, and although that clause was amended about a hundred years ago, the eye-pass still continues to this day.

    The white man acts like the man-in-charge with “the intelligence and accustomed authority of the master ……”; while the rest of us are still quibbling about their “confidence” and sense of “entitlement”.

    “His certainty that he’s qualified for the most powerful job in the world despite his lack of experience.” – bothers Sister Mahdawi.

    So, tell us when did lack of experience ever disqualify a candidate for president of the USA? – After 2-terms, it is over and out, anyway. Being a white man is enough qualification.

    Mahdawi added: “… And if there is one thing America does not need at the moment, it is more mediocre white guys running things.”

    C’mon, why mince words:

    I say after this current dangerous demagogue-in-chief is punted – BETO will do!!

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 18, 2019 at 4:51 am

    https://www.theguardian.com/profile/first-dog-on-the-moon

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