It has never been particularly cool to be a feminist – well, at least not for the past 30 years or so. But I am one, and unabashedly so. And I suspect it has never been particularly cool to be Hillary Clinton, either. She is the smartest person, the hardest worker, the most ambitious, the loudest voice in almost any room – rooms filled primarily with men. And for that, people despise her. They call her divisive. They question her motives. The same attributes that make a man successful make a woman suspicious. I’ve never understood the Hillary haters. I guess what they really hate is the audacity of her. How dare she, that woman?
However you voted (well, if you’re a Democrat, that is) your vote will be historic this year. And I’m not trying to influence your vote in any way; that’s your vote and yours alone. In fact, I really like Barack Obama. I’m tremendously moved by his words. And, yes, if he wins the nomination I will support him 100 percent and put up yard signs and wear pins and vote with gusto. But that doesn’t mean I can’t vote with gusto for Hillary right now.
What has always bothered me about the way these campaigns have been framed is that one is transformational and the other is the same old same old. Certainly, the Clinton name is a standard-bearer in American politics. But why raise one candidate’s “otherness” above another candidate’s? In our nation’s 232-year history there has never been a black man or a woman president. Ever. So why pit them against each other? Both are extraordinary. Both would signal a massive sea change in the culture of our country.
During Hillary’s Super Tuesday speech, I got an honest-to-God lump in my throat when she said:
“I want to thank all my friends and family—particularly my mother, who was born before women could vote and is watching her daughter on this stage tonight.”
Think about it, just 88 years ago this would have never happened. Why? Because women couldn’t vote then, that’s why. Not transformational my ass.
I think what makes it so easy for the continued sexism and misogyny that exists in our culture to thrive unchecked is that we are so ubiquitous. We’re 51 percent of the population, so we’re everywhere – your homes, your offices, your stores, your churches, your anywhere. You simply can’t avoid us. And therefore it may seem as if we’ve obtained full equality. But just listen for a little bit to the Chris Matthews and the Andrew Sullivans of the world and you’ll know that while we’ve come a long way, we’ve still got a long way to go, baby.
So, there it is. I voted for Hillary and I’m proud of it. I’m grateful for her service and in awe at her ability to take the crap that everyone throws at her. While I’m a pragmatist, I don’t think I should have to vote for one candidate simply because the world at large has a problem with the other. If a 35-year-old white man refuses to vote for Hillary, but will vote for Barack, is that my problem? If all the voters who are fired up for a candidate, but not necessarily a cause will go away if that candidate goes away, is that my problem? Sigh. I guess it is, since I live in this world. But I wish it wasn’t. So I thank Hillary for fighting to change this world we live in, against all odds and for all these years. Happy weekend, all.