Hillary Clinton: Hold the “B” Word, Please

“By choosing a woman to run for our nation’s second highest office, you sent a powerful signal to all Americans. There are no doors we cannot unlock. We will place no limits on achievement.” — Geraldine Ferraro (1984)

Ferraro? “A four-million dollar…… I can’t say it, but it rhymes with ‘rich.’” — Barbara Bush

Twenty-Four Years. That’s how long it’s been since a woman (almost) made it to the top of America’s political ladder. Despite great strides by other women… some becoming members of Congress, Senators, even Governors, Nancy Pelosi’s 2002 election by her colleagues to lead Congress as Speaker of the House was the next major breakthrough into politics topmost ranks. Just two heartbeats from the presidency.

‘America. Love Her or Leave Her.’ That’s a catch-all phrase used by hard-liners to defend America against criticism. Right now… today… a political twist on that phrase might very well be ‘Hillary Clinton. Love Her or Hate Her.’ Has there ever been a single woman whose very name elicits both elation and revulsion within the ranks of everyday America? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who rides the middle rail on the topic of Hillary Clinton. Polarization is an apt description of her effect on American politics.

‘Hillary Cries!’ the headlines shout when during a particularly emotional moment her voice faltered, cracked, and her eyes glistened. ‘Hillary Attacks!’ scream the pundits when she dares to disagree with a political rival. She’s cold… calculating. She’s a Bitch!

We live in a country consumed with propping up the idea of family. A country where songs that proclaim, ‘Stand By Your Man,’ reach the top of the charts. But Hillary Clinton, after standing by HER man following a series of, shall we say, indiscretions, has been called an enabler… a lesbian… a dealmaker who, if she had a scrap of pride, would have left him flat. I guess we listen more to the music than the words.

“I’ve been called some names I’d be embarrassed to repeat in public. I’ve learned that my hairstyles and fashion choices provide endless fodder for public discussion and dissection. You know sometimes I’ll walk by and see somebody on TV talking about what I’m wearing and they will have imbued it with great meaning, ‘She chose that color to send a certain message.’ I did? I’ve been told to smile more, I’ve been told to smile less. I’ve been told to speak more loudly, I’ve been told to speak more softly. I’ve been told to not speak very much at all.” — Senator Hillary Clinton

We can do better than this, can’t we? In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the political process is rife with sexism. But say what you will about Hillary, this country… our daughters… owe this woman an incredible debt of gratitude. Regardless of whether she wins or loses the presidency, she has blown the top right off whatever glass ceiling remained in American politics. Watching her one-on-one debate with Senator Obama not long ago brought tears to my eyes. That this event could happen in my lifetime was not something I would have thought possible.

Give pause before unleashing the ‘B’ word or, worse, the ‘C’ word. Think about today’s young women, many intelligent, hopeful, and ambitious. They’re watching Hillary… and wondering if ambition and success are worth the price she’s paying. If not Hillary, then perhaps one of those young women WILL be a future president. Perhaps one will reach even higher.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – whether or not in agreement with her politics – must acknowledge the accomplishments and sacrifice that Hillary Clinton has made for America… and for our daughters.

As for me, I can only hope that someone gives her a copy of this post. If so, I’d like to say, from the heart, ‘Thank you, Hillary.’

Posted by Mandy Crest, Blogger for In The Trenches Productions, The First Entertainment Website for Women over 40!

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 11:50 am  Comments (5)  
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