cross-posted at Huffington Post
It was the middle of primary season. Everyone was busy. But one morning an opportunity arose at an event I attended, when two women finally got the chance to meet. It’s on this
fine day that Hillary and I chatted, and I was able to size up the woman intending
to make history, as she sized up one of the many women who wanted to, against
all odds, help her do it. That’s correct, against all odds. As Gloria Steinem said so well: women are never frontrunners. I’ll just add, especially when they’re competing for commander in chief. As I left after meeting her that day all I could think
about was, Madame President had a nice ring and was long overdue.
This has been a journey for me. I didn’t start out in Clinton’s camp. Watching
the media eviscerate her for being a woman, being brilliant, being competent
and strong, being a Clinton, I started to get incensed at the hatred
I was witnessing, the unfairness too. I’ve read dozens of books and papers on
her, but I began watching more closely. Then I saw her in action. She blew everyone
else off the stage on substance. Barack Obama skipped the very first forum held in Carson City. The first health care debate Obama showed up, but wasn’t ready with
his health care plan and didn’t have any details to offer. Clinton showed up and laid it out, point by point,
Edwards too. This happened in event after event; then debate after debate. It
took Obama an entire year to catch up with her on debating the issues. That’s
as slow a learning curve as you’re going to find for the biggest job in the
world. No one noticed. In the last debate people started saying Barack Obama finally held his own. Finally being the operative word. Seeing a segment on
“Hannity & Colmes” last night, voters for Obama were asked by
Sean Hannity to name an accomplishment of Barack Obama’s. Frank Luntz went from
voter to voter to voter. No one could name one. Hannity was incredulous. But
you’re going to nominate him for president?
Personally speaking, we are facing an opportunity that is unlikely to happen
again in my lifetime. Well, maybe it will, but I don’t see any woman in the
wings waiting for a shot. It hasn’t happened in over 200 years, though that’s
hardly as important as the issues facing our country and who can solve them.
Women got jailed for wanting to vote, and were the last to get it; though no one has suffered voting discrimination more than African Americans, which has been even worse for AA females. Women got jailed
for wanting power over our own bodies. We fought to have rights separate from our husband. We’re still fighting for equal pay. I doubt we’ll ever get equal representation
on the cable shows! (Forget “Meet the Press.”) We’ve been daughters,
sisters, mothers, wives, single and now we can even be child free without stigma.
We’ve come a long way, baby. We can have it all. So why not the presidency?
We can’t do any worse than the men, though that’s not saying much considering
the jackass in power right now. But what a man can do with no experience and
a little flash, a woman of the same age cannot. Women need to work for years
and prove they’re ready for the job, while a man does not. Now, when one immensely qualified woman is ready to lead, we’re all being told that she’s not change enough. To some of us, regardless of race or even gender, she not only looks like change, but sounds like change, because she is the very embodiment of change. But that’s certainly
not the entire issue. We’ve finally been presented with a qualified woman
who is ready and who’s proven it. Elect a brilliant woman to do a job men have been doing
for two centuries in a country where women are the majority. The first woman ever to run this country. Change, baby.
In countries across the world, where women have a voice the country is stronger.
Can you imagine the potential for change, however small to start, in countries across
the Arab and Muslim world, Asia and beyond, with a woman president willing to
say “human rights are women’s rights”? We are at a moment in world
history where we have the opportunity to send a message to the world, and change
the dynamics with it in countries where violence breeds world instability, bringing danger to our very door. Women
can begin to change all that. By strengthening women’s voices, including in countries where they have none at all, we increase the
opportunity that countries will be put on a more positive footing, a more peaceful path. That’s not
just change for America, but change for the world. A girl can dream.
I can’t tell you in one post why Hillary Clinton would be the most revolutionary
change for America and also the world, but I can tell you that no one has her broad
base of experiences, knowledge and Democratic ideological passion. No candidate,
other than John McCain, understands the deep challenges we face in our strategic military placement, as well as in our Armed Forces structure. On foreign policy matters,
I think she understands the levels of engagement that need to be in place before
putting the prestige of the President of the United States and our country on
the line. I also think she’s less likely to make a rookie mistake that will cost us.
Her caution is comforting, because after what Bush has wrought we’re going to
need patience to rebuild what he’s destroyed. She’s going to immediately start
by rebuilding our diplomatic relationships through emissaries until she’s face
to face with leaders around the world who have pledged to deal with the new
U.S. President. She also won’t act on “actionable intelligence” alone, which has been costly in the past. Geopolitical engagement after Bush-Cheney won’t be like turning on a light switch. It will take relationship building, which starts on levels below the president if you want to construct something solid that can’t easily crumble with the world press watching.
It’s difficult to separate emotion from a vote like this. Hillary Clinton embodies
every fight I’ve ever waged. Every battle I’ve ever engaged. She is the embodiment
of hope for all women, as well as anyone looking for a better life, a fairer
break, young, old, poor and poorer. She’s got the passion and she’s got plans
to make them happen. She gives me hope for the future, because I believe she
actually knows what she’ll face if elected and walks in to meet the federal
bureaucracy. I won’t be crossing my fingers. I’ll be confident she can do it
and will also know how to pick others who can too.
There are so many intangibles when picking a president. I heard Michelle Obama
touting Barack Obama’s experience on Sunday in L.A., via C-SPAN. She was good
too. At one point she went into a riff about his years in the Illinois State
Senate saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, wouldn’t it be great to have a president
who has local experience and can understand what happens at the state level?
That’s a governor’s job.
Men have been leading this country for over two centuries. But more importantly, we need someone who has demonstrated depth of knowledge on a full range of issues, with the mental acuity to also deliver on promises made. Finally, at long last, after two centuries of waiting, this time out
that person is a woman. Her name is Hillary Clinton.