I don't shy away from the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton & I have our differences. I'd be a fool to suggest otherwise. Yet there is something more than just our hometown that binds me to her. I can't put a label on it, but it's there and for me to ignore it would be dumb.
As I watched Hillary last night give the speech of her lifetime, I was star struck. Here we were, the world watching this woman who has fought her whole lifetime to be the President of the United States. We were also watching a woman who did spend the last 35 years working on behalf of women and children here in this country and abroad. Yes, she made concessions that I don't agree with. But she was out there. Not on the streets as some of us are more comfortable, but in the board rooms, in the halls of Congress, and in the White House.
I find myself in conversations with other women who fawn over the fact that I am so "active" and outspoken. They belittle themselves by saying that they are "just" this or that. "But you, you're out there!" I am where I can be. I am where I can squeeze myself into, where I can stick my foot in the door, and where I am welcomed. I'm not wearing 2 inch heels walking up and down the marble floors of the US Congress trying desperately to find one more co-sponsor for a ground-breaking and much required bill. I am not the President of a college who can demand that his administration find a way to make it easier for his workers and students who juggle child care to feel more at ease. I am not the woman who answers her phone at 3 am to meet a young woman who was just raped in the county ER to hold her hand. I am "just" doing what I can.
The media and pundits want to put the weight of this election on Hillary's shoulders. If Obama loses, it will be her fault. It'll be because she couldn't reign in the PUMAS or sway the Latina vote. It'll be because she said things in the primary that now make McCain look good. She can't control Bill & their cronies.
Yet, last night I heard a speech that was unequivocal. "No Way, No How, No McCain." "Did you vote for me, or that woman with cancer?" No, she didn't fall over herself to fawn over Obama, but she made it crystal clear that our country cannot stand another 4 years of Republican rule. She has worked too hard in the last 35 years, as we all have, to see women's rights slide any further. Yes, she might have gotten a raw deal in the primary and made many of her own errors, but when it comes to voting on November 4th, she wants us to fall in line.
If anyone who voted for her, gave her money, or knocked on a door for her can't do the same for Obama this fall, then good riddance. If anyone wants to dare call themselves a feminist and cast a ballot for a man who voted against the Violence Against Women Act and not vote for the man who helped write the damn thing, then turn in your card. I've never asked for someone's feminist card, I've even ranted before about others who questioned others feminist credentials, but I agree with Hillary:
I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.
As a student of history, especially women's history I know how fragile our advancements that many of us, young and old, take for granted really are. I know some of the die-hard Clintonistas and have received their emails full of rage and anger. I can see some of them staying home, but I think even as Election Day wears on they will end up going to the poll and voting for Obama.
The media can do all they want to make Hillary out as the bad guy, calculating, and strategic and honestly the last two are why I supported her in the first place. I want a President who is calculating and strategic and anyone who thinks Obama isn't that is kidding themselves.