Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why Hillary’s Nomination Matters to Me (In the Category of Say What You Mean)

Yesterday, something happened that I have hoped for most of my life: a woman became a major party’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States. It shouldn’t be a big deal. All the cool countries have let a woman run them; the United States of America is long overdue for this. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is to me. As a bonus, the party happens to be the one I support more often than not. When I realized Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic nomination, I actually cried.

I understand it’s only a presumptive nomination now. I understand we haven’t won the election (yet). This does nothing to diminish how I feel. It’s closer than a woman has ever come before. Ever. I can still recall the day my mother informed me that a woman had never been President of the United States. I was eight, and it pissed me off. When I tried to make her explain to me why, she struggled. What woman wouldn’t? Mom didn’t tell me it was because women couldn’t, and she certainly would never have suggested a woman shouldn’t run for president. After searching for the words, she finally said something along the lines of, “I guess the right woman just hasn’t come along.”

Is Hillary the right woman?

I know many who would holler at me vehemently, NO! They have reasons and a right to their opinion. Many of them have told me they don’t like her because she didn’t divorce Bill after the blue dress mess. I don’t feel qualified to judge Hillary on that. Couples make their own choices for their own reasons. Live and let live.

A few don’t like her because she voted for the Iraq war while serving as a senator for the state of New York. The majority of Congress at the time did (a disaster, yes, I know). Most of those politicians regret it now. Hindsight is 20/20. Hillary’s ties to Wall Street are also cited to me as a detriment, but I ask you, what kind of a senator from the state of New York would she be if she didn’t also communicate with Wall Street? It holds much of the wealth of this nation in its hands. Why wouldn’t she know how to speak to them? Why wouldn’t you want her to?

A few hate Hillary for being part of The Establishment in Washington D.C. I counter that, as a woman politician, she needs to be. She needs to know well how to apply the oil that greases the machine of our political system. She needs to bring to bear every lesson she ever learned as a state First Lady, the country’s First Lady, a senator, and a Secretary of State because the privileged men of The Hill will try to change the rules to stymy her.

As singer, Joe Jackson, so succinctly put it, it’s different for girls. This upcoming general election will make that plain for all to see. Wait for it.

Millennia of men objectifying women will make almost no one cringe when the main stream media criticizes Hillary's hairstyle or her pantsuit color. We’re used to it – being judged on our looks and our style choices rather than our actions. (Hell we women do it to each other! We shouldn’t. It’s awful. It holds us back, but we do it.) To tell the truth, I rather enjoyed seeing the news pundits tease President Obama for his “mom jeans.” Why not call out a man for his fashion choice? Turnabout is fair play.

Millennia of women being regarded as property will make almost no one protest if a man calls her sweetie, honey, darling, or (more likely) bitch. We’ll be told the former are terms of endearment or affection, or a “pet name” (the horror of that image alone…). Men will feel justified in the latter, especially if she stands up to them. You only need to be a girl on the playground in third grade once to know this is true. Should Hillary herself resort to name-calling, she will be vilified for it as not showing the proper respect due a presidential nominee.

She won’t resort to name-calling. Hillary has no need to. Love her or hate her, she is vastly more qualified to hold the highest office in the land than the old white man that the party of Old White Men has decided should run to rule the roost. She is smarter, more articulate, and infinitely more experienced on the world stage than her opponent. Her resume reads like a woman who has focused her entire life for one purpose: to be the first woman elected President of the United States.

I never aspired to be President of the United States. I knew by age four that the writer’s life was for me. But I weep tears of joy for all the little girls who will never have to make their mothers explain why a woman has never held the highest office in the land. It’s time to finish shattering that glass ceiling.


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