Political Animals
The Woman Problem

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Future Starts Slow

"You mean California? A week before the primary it wasn't even close. Those debates killed your mother. If she sat on her hands, she came off timid. If she punched back, she came off like a bitch. That's the reason Bud called and said to end things before they got ugly. Your father threw himself on the tracks... he knew, if he took the heat for her losing, he might give her the chance to run again someday."

So he went with what he knew. Penises and vaginas. Don't make decisions for women without telling them about it, of course, but at least as far as Doug's concerned, it completes the circuit that started when his father told him he didn't even need forgiveness. It was Doug's fault and then it was Bud's fault... it was the Woman Problem all along. Can the world change that much in four years? Can the future come any faster than that?

YOU HAVE TO BREAK THE WALLS, IN THE END

Between concepts in your head like pride and hubris over here, and confidence and self-respect and charisma over there. The Woman Problem is a People Problem, because we are all trained to think of these as radically different things. But the difference between self-respect and overconfidence is in the eye of the beholder, and arises mostly from fear: Fear of what you'll do, fear of what you'll break or hit or burn down. What they call humility, which is absolutely a virtue, is not real humility. It's a performance you've been trained to give, like a dog, in order to appear safe. Real humility is showing yourself the same compassion that you pretend to show everybody else. And once you practice that, it becomes a lot easier to love the people you were supposed to hate. Starting, again, with you.

If you can do this thing, if you can figure out that hubris is just a hateful word for the passionate romance you should be having with yourself for the rest of your life -- that your existence is not something you need to earn, or anybody else to validate, or requires any apology at all -- and that the only people who ever try to scare you out of your strength are the ones who fear it. If they can get you sick enough of it -- the bullshit, the egos -- and start to wonder strongly, and inventively, bravely and rigorously, exactly what it would look like to accomplish something without having to spend half the energy navigating the shortsighted, selfish, self-involved and oh-so-fragile ecosystem that's designed to take your oxygen away.

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Political Animals

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