Okay, here’s the thing. I so WANT to be excited about the first woman to be nominated thing … but the truth is: I’m not feeling it. Hillary’s nomination should feel like a very important, impactful moment in our history – a moment that opens all of the doors for women – a signal to our daughters that they really can be anything they want to be in this life. But that’s not at all how I feel. As a matter of fact, I think Hillary’s nomination is sending an appalling message to my teenage daughter.
What has Hillary’s monumental accomplishment shown my daughter? That, as a woman in this country, in order to succeed, to shatter that glass ceiling, she will need to master the fine art of ambiguous answers and half truths. She, too, can be president, if only she stays so utterly focused on that goal, she compromises her core beliefs, whatever they may be, on her path to her destiny. She should also become exceptionally skilled at backdoor promises and secret favors. She should work hard to foster insider relationships with those that, while doing horrible things, have the power to support her and maneuver her to that all powerful position which she has set her sites on. Climb that ladder sweetie, stepping on whoever you need to all the way to the top. Hurray! Because, somehow, doing all that crappy stuff along the way is going to be worth it in the end. Once you are in charge, then you can do great things. F#@$ everything that happens on your way up.
Frustratingly, many Hillary fans not only admire her ambition, drive and determination, but also her powers of manipulation, while downplaying her shortcomings. Lob any criticism her way and, bam, you are just being sexist, or naive, or undemocratic. Hillary’s biggest asset to many of her supporters is her ability to out-maneuver others in the ugly game that is our modern day political system. You’ve got to work the system and Hillary is a master at that. Right?
Well I happen to have a yuge problem with that way of thinking. I would much rather show my daughter that I support somebody who displays uncompromised values and isn’t afraid to fight for the big ideas, even if it means being the only person in the room to speak up. She should know that I value standing up for what is right. Always. Even if it means pissing off those who could help you reach your goals. Or turning down money from those whose ideas and actions are in opposition to what you know to be right. Our system is undeniably broken. Choosing the one who has become the best at manipulating it is totally contradictory to what I think we should be championing.
And just so I’m being clear, as a progressive, there are a well known number of issues that Hillary has waivered on that I take issue with: She was against marriage equality until 2013. She is for it now. But 2013. Really??? She is in favor of fracking. She has supported and continues to support catastrophic trade policies, banking policies and military action. Yes on Iraq War, yes on bailing out Wall Street, and on and on.. Of course, she says she is against some of those things now. What does she really believe? Who knows. She seems to pick her stances based upon ambition rather than fairness or a desire to do the right thing.
Would I love for there to be a woman in the White House? Sure, as long as she’s a woman with integrity. Is Hillary better than Trump? Well who isn’t? (okay, maybe Cruz.) Of course she is better than Trump, but that is an incredibly low bar to set. It is unreasonable to me that Hillary is worthy of the nomination because she’s good at manipulation and she has a vagina. Especially since we have an actual real live candidate that has been on the right side of the issues for my entire lifetime.
So, no, I’m not feeling the excitement. If anything, I’m feeling burned. Sorry folks but, blinded by our understandable desire to finally elect a female president, I think we picked the wrong woman for this monumental moment in history. For the sake of my daughter, can we please do better next time?
PS. Having said all of that, to avoid a Trump disaster, if given no other choice, I might be with her, nose pinched, with oodles and oodles of hope for our future based on our extremely informed, engaged and impassioned youth. However, it’s too soon to jump on board the Hillary wagon just yet. The revolution has just begun…