Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton Is Historic, And Your Meme Can't Take That Away

An amazing, incredible, absolutely historic thing happened last Tuesday.  For the first time in history, a woman clinched the nomination of a major party and she has a chance to win.  Women (and men) I know in Underground Hillary Clinton Facebook Groups (yes, that is a thing--more on that later) rejoiced.  After months of her supporters being tormented, threatened, bullied into silence on social media--and in real life--Hillary Clinton received enough pledged delegates to call her the presumptive nominee for the office of President of the United States of America.  A truly amazing, incredible feeling.  

I came home from voting in the Democratic primary energized, and alive--and happy.  Truth be told, I didn't always like Hillary Clinton. Then, I did my research.  But, that's not exactly important for this post, because that's not what this post is about.  This post is about the fact that a historic moment happened on Tuesday, and instead of being allowed to revel in our joy, to revel in the fact that little girls growing up will now know what we only thought was true: that there really can be a woman in the highest executive office of the United States of America.  Instead of being able to soak that all in, the assault Hillary supporters have been facing for months continued.  The same assaults that drove us to places like Underground Hillary Clubs in the first place continued.

How dare we celebrate this momentous occasion? How dare we gloat? You're going to need us in November! The Bernie Clan said. Thanks for voting with your vagina. I get the impression you're only voting for her because she's a woman. (this last line was actually said to me, via Facebook, by a coworker. we're no longer Facebook friends). 

These sentiments gave way to very passive aggressive statuses like this one being shared on social media:

The minute I saw this, I immediately felt rage.  It was posted by a MAN on my newsfeed, an ardent Bernie supporter, and I nearly lost it. It was all I could do to not release a string of profanities in the comment section.  Because, honestly, no one needs you to mansplain women's history to me, or any other Hillary Clinton supporter.  Hillary Clinton has not lost sight of the women who have come before her, and neither have we. If you have, that's your thing. And I damn sure didn't see anything like this when Obama was the nominee back in 2008, and everyone was rejoicing at his success as the first African American nominee who was a true contender for the White House.

And the above compilation wasn't the only thing that tried to dampen our joy.  "She's not the first woman candidate for president!" No. I--and many others--admit that.  You're right.  She's not. But, how many of you had to SEARCH for these women you're now using against us to say that this isn't a historic moment? I certainly didn't learn about them in U.S. History in school. Beyond that, while Hillary is not the first woman to run for president, she is the first woman who is the nominee of a major political party who actually has a [very good] chance of winning the presidency. 

Then, there were the 'there are female leaders in all of these countries, so it's really not a big deal! (proceeds to list countries such as Germany, Africa, Saudi Arabia etc.)' group. Yes. You're right.  There are.  That's amazing, isn't it? That we, the United States of America--a country that prides itself on being industrialized, and forward thinking hasn't had a female in the highest branch of government? Can you believe that?  I can't! Besides, doesn't that make it an even bigger deal?

But, I know, I know.  You're not a sexist.  Gender doesn't matter to you (oh how lucky you are, O Wise Male One, that gender cannot matter to you).  So let me just spell it out for you.  That there have been other female candidates for president in the United States of America does not, for one instant, take away from the fact that History is being made right now.  Because we have the first truly viable female candidate for President.  And I don't care what little memes you make about women you took five seconds to research. I don't care what other female leaders you googled.  I don't care what other woman you would vote for in this election you use to demonstrate that you are not sexist.  I don't care about any of it. You will not take this away from her, from us, from me.

Yes. Women before her have helped beat the very rocky path Hillary is walking today--but she's gone much further down that path than any before her--and she's not just weed-whacking. She is BLAZING A TRAIL. So that my nieces, my daughter, my granddaughters might someday walk it with ease.  She is making the journey easier for every single one of them--so that when we bounce them on our knees and tell them "you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up" they know that we mean it, that it's true.  They won't have to walk the narrow dangerous path, tripping over rocks and skinning their knees, breaking bones, only to arrive bloodied and bruised at the end to see a big fat sign that says "No Girls Allowed."

In honor of that, here's a little bit of information about the women you are using to further your misguided purpose:

Victoria Woodhull: A famed magnetic healer, she was a leader of the Suffrage movement. Her candidacy for President was in 1872 for the Equal Rights Party, almost 50 years before women were even allowed to vote.  Do you know how many electoral votes she received? Zero. There is conflicting information regarding the popular vote, but she didn't get much of that either. 

Lenora Fulani: She ran in 1988 for the New Alliance Party.  She received 250,000 votes.

Linda Jenness: She ran in 1972 for the Socialist Workers Party, and she did not qualify because she was only 31 and did not meet the Constitutional presidential age requirement.

Cynthia McKinney: She ran for the Green party in 2008, where she received 161,797 votes.

Jill Stein: She ran for the Green party in 2012.  She received 469,501 votes in the election.

This is not an attempt to minimize the contributions these women have made to the political process.  Every step a woman makes towards the white house is one step closer to breaking that ultimate glass ceiling.  But, suggesting that Hillary Clinton's achievements in 2016 are any less impressive, relevant, or groundbreaking because there have been women who have come before her is reductive.  And, frankly, it's ridiculous.

Combined, these women received fewer than one million votes. Hillary Clinton received nearly two million votes in California alone on Tuesday. Two million men and women voted for a female candidate for President.  Hillary Clinton received--from one state--more votes than all of the prior female presidential candidates you are using to discredit her accomplishment combined. To not call that historic is not only completely inaccurate, but it is a complete and total disservice to the above women you claim to be representing/defending.

You are not progressive with your pointing out of other female candidates--you're gaslighting, and undermining a powerful woman in the most socially acceptable way you can find.

No matter how you slice it, when you look at the facts and get right down to it: Hillary Clinton has already made history.

We have been waiting 240 years for this--we have had 44 presidents, all of whom were MALE.  You will not take this away from us with your obtuseness.  You will not take this away from us with your ire.  This is a BIG step for women in the United States. 100 years ago, women couldn't even vote.  And now? We have a woman, just endorsed by our current Commander-in-Chief, poised to take the White House next January.  And you want to tell us that her achievement doesn't matter? Is somehow dulled because there were women that came before her?

I don't fucking think so.  And this is not up for discussion any more. I am done listening, and no amount of 'but, but, but...' will dampen my rejoicing in this historic moment.  None of it will dampen the fact that someday I can tell my children--I was there. And I was happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment