I woke up this morning to the news that Margaret Thatcher is dead. Good. I hate very few people, I hate Margaret Thatcher and I’m damn glad she’s dead. I’d love to be able to rise above that feeling, because hate is not a good thing, I guess I will eventually. But I have no sympathy for her, no compassion for any suffering she experienced.
That’s not really the point of this blog though. The point is that I am gobsmacked at the number of people who call themselves progressives but who seem to hold her in high regard. What. The. Everloving. Hell? WHY? I cannot for the life of me understand, but I have a theory. I think she gets a pass because she’s a woman. I think when many progressives look at her they don’t see a politician whose policies gutted trade unions, who refused to enact sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, who rubbed elbows and had tea with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who supported the homophobic Section 28 law, and who was a war hawk whose BFF was Ronald Reagan. They see a woman who held power. But, FFS, what did she do with that power? What is it about this woman that you admire? She was a woman, the only female Prime Minister of Great Britain, I get that. But if it were a man who had done these things she would not be revered by progressives, she would be reviled.
Think about it. You support someone because of their body bits? You fondly remember a politician not because of the things they believed, or the things that they achieved, but because they had lady parts? In what universe does that make even a lick of sense? This is why identity politics sucks. Honestly, you cannot even call yourself a progressive and admire her rise to power, woman or not, because think of how she did it –on the backs of poor and working class people (there is a reason she was called “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher,” people!), on the backs of people struggling for freedom and equality, on the backs of people whose own government terrorized them, on the backs of Irish hunger strikers, and of the Irish people. While the world looked on in horror, her refusal to acknowledge that Bobby Sands, and others like him, were political prisoners and not common criminals led to their deaths (and anyone who wants to hound them for going on hunger strike in protest, please kindly read the cultural and political history of the hunger strike in Ireland here).
So come on, people! Look past her sex and to her actions, to what she stood for, to how she behaved while she was in power. Her legacy is not one that progressives should be putting on a pedestal, it flies in the face of the things we are supposed to hold most dear–equality, social justice, caring for one another, compassion, kindness. Truly, people, wipe off those rose colored glasses and see her as a person, not as a woman. To do otherwise is just sexist.
And now for a bit of levity …