I am going to broach a topic that I would not normally discuss on this blog. But as we get closer to the election, as I watch more news and read more polls, I can’t help but have so many feeling and emotions come up. So I’m going to write this knowing that not everyone will agree with me, but because it’s something that needs to get out.
It was 1988 but I still remember it clearly. I was in elementary school, in a special “gifted” class where we were discussing the upcoming election. I had written a paragraph about why I wanted to be president when I grew up. The teacher asked for volunteers to read their paragraph and I eagerly raised my hand but another girl was called up first. She went up, and talked about how she didn’t write what she would do as president because she didn’t feel that the country would accept a woman as president. The young girl in me was floored. Until that moment, it had never occurred to me that anyone thought that a woman couldn’t do what a man does. As I listened to her speech, and I listened to our teacher praise her “insight”, I sank further in my chair deflated. I never volunteered to read my paragraph and my innocent world view was broken that day. It was one day, but the memories still burn in my head.
Skip ahead 4 years and it’s the election of 1992 and a young, vibrant couple called the Clintons are on the campaign trail. Bill is running but it was Hillary that captured my attention. This was a woman who had a career, had been a lawyer. She wanted to have an active role in policy. She was a strong, she was ambitious. She was a hero to me. She was what I wanted to be, a strong professional business woman who was also married and had a family. She was an example I looked up to as I grew up, knowing I could do the same, and be just as ambitious. I remember sitting in the living room once and hearing my mom saying she “just didn’t like Hillary”. And my father (of all people) said “people don’t like Hillary because she’s an ambitious woman. People wouldn’t have that complaint if she was a man”. I immediately realized what he said was true, and explained so much to me in that minute. But she was out there, she was the First Lady, and she was an example and I, personally, wasn’t going back.
I watched her career with great interest. I was excited to see her move to New York and become a senator. I voted for her in the 2008 primary and mourned when Obama won (but ultimately supported him in the election and he proved to be a president I am very proud of). I was thrilled to have her as Secretary of State and was sad when she chose to leave the post during the 2nd term of the Obama administration. I thought that meant that she was retiring from public life. So when I heard that she was running again, I immediately threw my support behind her. I knew I was with her from day 1.
In the last 20 odd years that HRC has been in politics one way or the other, I continued to grow in my world view and continued to challenge the status quo in my own way. I attended some of the best universities, went first into one male dominated industry (information tech) and then another (financial services). While generally I’ve had a lot of success and support in my career, it’s hard not to take the path I have and never hit up against sexism. Things I heard (and these are only a few that I can think of):
- “Your too pretty to study math”
- “Now that you have a family, are you sure you want to continue your career?”
- “A body like yours could get you far in this industry” (This was at a professional conference…)
Through it all I stayed committed sure I was doing the right thing, holding Hillary and other examples as my guiding light through it all.
And now I have two children, a boy and a girl. I look at them and I see the future. I see my strong willed girl and I want her to not only know she can be whatever she wants to be, and I want her to live in a world where she’s safe. I want my son to grow up in a world where he sees women as an equal, values strong women, and is not afraid of that world. My children are mixed race, and I want them to live in a world of love where their diversity is valued, not hate where they are feared or reviled. I dream of a better world for my children.
I have always been a huge supporter of Hillary, but I never in my wildest imagination dreamed that she would be running against someone who brought up so much hate. I never believed he would make it as far as he did, and a few days from the election I never imagined it would be as close as the polls make it out to be. I think about his demeanor to women, his blatant racism and for the first time I truly fear for the future for my self and my children.
#ImWithHer – Because I believe that the US should have a paid maternity leave, and I believe that Hillary will be the one to get it.
#ImWithHer – Because childcare shouldn’t cost more than college and families should have access to quality preschool
#ImWithHer – Because I believe in sensible gun control and Hillary stated my position as if from my own mouth during the 2nd debate.
#ImWithHer – Because I believe in the right to choose. While I honestly don’t know if I could go through with a decision to abort a pregnancy, I would never ever want to take away that choice from someone else.
#ImWithHer – Because I want my daughter to believe that she too can be president one day.
#ImWithHer – Because I want my son to understand that no human being should be treating others the way the way the Republican candidate has been and not be held accountable for his words and actions.
#ImWithHer – Because love will always, must always, trump hate
On November 8th I plan to take my children with me so they can see us vote, so they will remember and say they are a part of history. And I hope we wake up on November 9th to a new, brighter day with a president-elect I can be proud of.
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