On November 4, 2008, I was in Chicago, watching a black man walk on a stage in Grant Park to accept the US nation’s decision for him to be the 44th President of the United States. No eye remained dry as people knew that what had just happened was extraordinary: no other black man had ever been able to do what Barack Obama did that night! I am not black, and could never attempt to comprehend what that meant for the black community of the US. Then, I knew that a minority had become the most powerful man in the world, and even without belonging to that minority, that fact touched my heart and made me feel like this biased, sometimes cruel world had made a huge step towards progress. This year, on November 8, 2016, I will potentially grasp what that night in 2008 meant to black people: A woman could be up on that stage, again for the first time, and make another of these huge steps for the world possible.
I am not black, but I am a woman. Coming from an all-girls Catholic private school, I didn’t fathom why being a woman would put me in minority status: I was really good at all subjects, especially physical education, and I was getting all the things boys could have, at least as far as I could observe. Only after school it finally dawned on me I had been protected from reality. In that reality, I am not equal, I can do less things physically than a man and I do not always get the same thing boys get, at least at the same price. As much as I can never understand what discrimination against a skin color feels like despite my experiences with reverse racism in Kenya, no man will ever be able to tell me what discrimination against my sex feels like. It doesn’t feel good! It feels unfair and it is unfair. It feels wrong and it is indeed very wrong most of the time. So for a woman to become the most powerful person in the world, whether she’s a crook or not, will be good for women, if only in symbolic terms. Period!
I can make a valid case for Hillary Clinton to become the next US President without even having to mention her catastrophic opponent. In fact, I have been doing just that as I have endorsed Hillary Clinton for the gig since November 5, 2008. Obama was fantastic, and my narrow first choice, the last time around. But for me, it was always going to be Hillary next. One day, not even a long time ago, I watched her defend her choice to oppose gay marriage in the past, and I heard her say “I was wrong!” Just like me, there were days when Hillary did not see the necessity for gay marriage, and through exchange and consideration she had, just like me, changed her mind. To me this character trait was more worth than her past disapproval. Unlike her reputation of being a robot, I felt that Hillary had there and then proved that she was a human being. One who fails sometimes. Unlike many, however, she had the strength to admit it, too.
Throughout the democratic campaign, I was with her. Bernie Sanders caught my attention but, being a political scientist who simply knows that the influence Hillary had been working to gain for 30 plus years would not be challenged by a revolutionary, even in a democratic system, was palpable throughout. Bernie would have been great for the US, but the US President has a big challenge that most people just simply forget: Congress! Unfortunately, being an effective president has nothing, or little, to do with finding out what the people want and making it possible. The moment the election is over it is about Congress, influencing it to think that what you, the individual, wants is what’s best for everybody. Bernie, a fella so far left from almost every single person in Congress, would have hit a freaking wall. Hillary, on the other side, played this game for decades. Sister knows how to influence people, how to maneuver through the Washington elites and who to call when something big needs to happen. Funnily enough, that behavior exactly earned her the villain status.
It’s true: an effective politician usually doesn’t wear a white jacket. Bernie fought many fights I admire way more than I admire any fights fought by Hillary, and certainly her opponent, but Hillary has already proven to make a difference whereas no other candidate running had the platform to show that they actually can do that. Sometimes, her work had quite the negative by taste which certainly applies to her Middle Eastern policy which left much to be desired. But Hillary, unlike any other candidate, was not only part of an actual presidential administration before, she was also married to the President. There is arguably no other person on this planet who knows this job better than Hillary. And yes, in all these years there have been incidents that are not amusing about Hillary, I, myself, have made mistakes in fewer years without making them up at all. Not all of Hillary’s steps were missteps. Those expecting somebody to do a job for 30 years without failures are, quite frankly, idiots. Now it boils down to a job being up for grabs and there being the choice of somebody who has never done as much as an internship n the role and someone who is the epitome of qualification. That’s the choice this year.
And yet, Hillary’s path to the White House was so damn tough that I could never have done it. Injustice like Midwestern women calling me incapable of being commander-in-chief because I have uncontrollable hormones and my opponent, and former friend, publicly accusing me of only being with my husband, who caused me so much pain but who I just love and sacrificed almost everything for, for political gains only would have broken me. And this lady listens to it, doesn’t blink, and barely ever hit back on the same level. And that despite her emotional, female temperament. I have been a Hillary fan for over a decade now, and even as a young girl of 14 I thought that one day this lady was going to be President even before I actually realized that being a woman one CANNOT do whatever a man can do. Today is this day, and I can’t wait because it will most likely change my life, and that of half the people on this planet: women!