Today a woman, Hillary Clinton, accepts the nomination of a major party for President of the United States.

That night in June when I heard the AP report that she had clinched the nomination, I surprised myself and cried.

I never expected it to feel so personal.

I can’t remember a time I didn’t believe a woman could be anything – even president. I was raised by a (mostly) single mother who is one of the most intelligent and capable human beings I’ve ever known.

But knowing a woman could become president in the abstract turns out to be different than seeing the concrete reality. And I cried.

To say that Hillary represents so much more than herself in this moment does not negate her personal accomplishments or responsibility. Presidential candidates always represent more than themselves. And this time, for the first time, we have one that represents being a woman in this country built on the tensions of liberty and oppression.

I believe many of the attacks on Hillary are exaggerated, and some are unfounded altogether. At a time when I adamantly disagreed with her politics, I came to deeply respect her dignity and endurance in the face of the most personal and embarrassing of betrayals. I was raised to believe that with enough grace and strength, a person could forgive such betrayal and rebuild a relationship. Hillary did just that, and under a level of public scrutiny and criticism few of us can imagine. I respected her for it then, and I respect her for it now.

We have nominated scoundrels and complicated heroes for president. We have nominated warriors and even a few peacemakers. We have nominated the brilliant and the not so brilliant. We have nominated outright liars and those who told us more of the truth than we wanted. And most of those we have nominated have been at least a little of all of those things rolled into one.

But we have never before nominated a woman.

I cried because our children are seeing this. Our girls and, just as importantly, our boys. I want no little girl to ever question her abilities because she doesn’t see our world value them in a woman. And I want no little boy to ever again hear the word “girl” or anything else related to being female as an insult.

We’ve learned to see each other – men and women, and maybe even more so, liberals and conservatives – as caricatures. Something none of us are.

Not even Hillary.


6 thoughts on “Seeing Hillary

  1. Yes, America has proven that, if you have a vagina, you aren’t held to the same standards of behavior as men and that, no matter what you do – in collusion with others with vaginas – to secure what is important to your agenda, it’s A-OK, important, significant, and worthy of praise…because you have a vagina.

    Yes, let’s teach girls that. But let’s also teach boys that this is the truth so that they can know what to expect and act accordingly.


    1. I’d be interested in hearing how you see women being held to a lesser standard than men? And Hillary in particular, since I take it that’s the specific example you’re talking about.


      1. My comment was less about women in general than the lesson that Hillary presents when it comes to holding women to the same standards as men.

        A man would have not had a political career after the Benghazi fiasco. Hillary does.
        A man would have not had a political career after the email fiasco and would be indicted. Hillary does and won’t be indicted.
        A man could have his gender as the cornerstone and prime motivator of his political campaign. Hillary does.
        A man wouldn’t be the Democrats’ nominee if it was found out he and a bunch of other men essentially rigged the primary. Hillary is despite her and a bunch of women in the DNC (perhaps coincidence in DNC genders. perhaps not).

        And, to the expected response of some of fiascos being exaggerated I say that that is irrelevant. A male politician faced with the same things would be done and the only reason Hillary isn’t is that, as a woman who IS a credible politician, she has a base that just doesn’t care and who will attack anyone who does.

        Think about it. You’re so happy and proud she won the nomination even though it’s been proven that she really didn’t do so. It was handed to her because she’s a woman and The First Woman President is a huge political platform vote-wise, irrespective of her abilities or proclivities.


        1. Male politicians have been nominated (and elected) with far worse records, far worse scandals. (Grover Cleveland, US Grant, James Blaine, even Trump).

          As for winning the nomination, I believe there were (are) serious issues with the DNC, but even without those, I can see no way that Bernie would have won the Southern states Hillary dominated in (something he would have had to do to take the nomination).


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