Day 97 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
Because I’m a woman.
Just as Obama’s election stirred the pot on racism and spewed out dregs of the uneasiness between blacks and whites and all of the shades in between, this election – for me (and many others) – is really about women.
It’s not just that Hillary will be the first female president if she wins. It’s not just the comments on sexual predation that Trump made. It’s not just the issues. The circus surrounding this election and the women who have tried, on so many levels, to navigate it has truly delivered the good, the bad and the ugly for women in America and changed the conversation and – one hopes – the reality.
I’ve been uplifted and demoralized by the brilliant, thoughtful, very prominent role of female broadcasters and journalists. It’s been torture to watch them be ignored, interrupted, talked over, condescended to, and insulted. One can only imagine what life is like when the microphones are off and the cameras are gone.
Megyn Kelly’s grace under bombardment by Trump, Gingrich and, apparently, Ailes, leaves me breathless with respect. Katie Tur was personally singled out by Trump at multiple rallies and at least twice needed the protection of the Secret Service to leave the grounds safely – and yet, she comes back the next day, and the one after that…
Parents, teachers and girls report widespread body shaming in response to the comments about fat, ugly, flat-chested women, and creates a groundswell of feminism in children who smell the unfairness and are rising up with a purity and righteousness that is appealing only in the young.
We all would like to think there are no more barriers for women – that we’ve achieved a hard-won equality, even as we are still paid only 80¢ on the dollar – just as many declared racism dead once Obama was elected. As a woman who came up through corporate America just a little behind Hillary, I can tell personal stories that, today, would have killed the careers of a couple of handfuls of men who were never so much as reprimanded nor felt a moment’s discomfort for their actions.
Money and power soften blows the less fortunate take to the gut. Ivana’s proposal for childcare works fine for the wealthy, but offers no relief to the poor. Her brother’s notion that any woman who’s treated poorly should just find a new job suggests a privilege few “real” women possess.
I joined a forum of women for Hillary and the members introduce themselves by telling their “stories.” They are heartbreaking and inspiring simultaneously. They speak of hate, and struggle, and fortitude, and ignorance and lots and lots of misogyny. Mostly, they are the stories of women who do not have nannies, portfolios, healthcare, or, in many cases, a partner or family to get their backs. They are the stories of women up against the wall, doing the best they can – backwards and in high heels.
And then there are the men – the ones who get it – the ones who back the women they love. The ones who are fighting in the best ways they know how to support and elevate us. And my heart swells.
Lest anyone think women’s issues affect only women, let me offer the following: “we now know that the participation of women’s groups in peace negotiations increases the likelihood of reaching an agreement and implementing it, and the probability that it will last longer.
“When women were included in peace processes between 1989 and 2011, agreements were 20% more likely to last as long as two years, and 35% more likely to last 15 years. Additionally, women’s leadership and political participation enhances a community’s ability to resist violent extremism, and women play the most critical family role in influencing young people who are susceptible to radicalization.”
…if ever there were an argument for a woman president. The role of women in the political process affects nothing short of world peace and the promotion of terrorism.
It’s impossible to guess how much of the pushback and vitriol directed at Hillary has to do with gender, but I know in my heart, there’s an ocean of it. And it’s far from over. If she wins, a fresh round is just beginning. Just ask McCain or Jason Chaffetz. A meme I’ve already posted sums it up nicely for me: I’m not voting for Hillary because she’s a woman. I’m voting for her because I am.
But it ain’t over until the fat lady sings – and women, girls and enlightened men think she’s beautiful just as she is.