Almost eight years ago, Hillary Clinton conceded to Barack Obama, stating, “we weren’t able to shatter the highest, hardest glass ceiling.” In that moment, Hillary Clinton set America’s future before her pride and supported a man that would do much good for the United States in the following eight years.
In this moment, I replay the years of my life. I replay the women who have impressed upon me my worth, and the strength of fighting the good fight. I look to all the women in my life in this moment. Women who struggle, women who sacrifice time and again for the hope of a better tomorrow for their children. In this moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton has shattered the highest and hardest glass ceiling by clinching the democratic presidential nomination as the first female to represent a major political party. One hundred years ago, women couldn’t vote in this country. A woman’s voice was so insignificant it was not even counted. One hundred years later, we can vote a woman to be president of the United States.
As a political junkie and feminist, I have been following this presidential election closely. In each debate and caucus and primary, feelings of gratitude overwhelmed me as Hillary Clinton took the stage. I found myself in tears during a few speeches. Her determination and strength to power relentlessly through the onslaught of demeaning attacks and sexist insults impresses me even as the fact that she has to discourages me. The sad reality is that a woman must work that much harder to get deserved recognition, and even among the most qualified of women it is a similar reality.
Hillary Clinton’s strength is an inspiration to women who face sexism every day. Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate – not just woman – for the job as president. As I cast my ballot for my first voting experience in a presidential election, I will think of the many suffragists who fought for my right to vote. The legacy of the civil rights movement and the women’s movement will be present as I vote.
This nomination is for previous generations. The generations of women who fought tirelessly and thanklessly to secure a greater future for those to come. It is for the women in Seneca Falls, 168 years ago. It is for my mother, it is for my aunts, and it is for my grandmothers. As I watch Hillary Clinton secure her nomination as the Democratic party’s presidential candidate, my cup runneth over. I feel this history in the air around me, and in this moment I carry with me the hardships and courage of every woman continuously fighting against the misogynistic rhetoric of our society. These women and their battles walk alongside me. Their bravery and perseverance live in my heart. I carry with me the women still without voice, I carry with me the under-representation of women of color and their singular struggles. Their stories are not far from my mind as I witness a white woman of significant privilege secure this nomination.
In 1859, a few years following the Seneca Fall convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Susan B. Anthony, “When I pass the gate of the celestials and good Peter asks me where I wish to sit, I will say, ‘Anywhere so that I am neither a negro nor a woman. Confer on me, great angel, the glory of White manhood, so that henceforth I may feel unlimited freedom.”
In this moment many years later, I do not wish to sit in the glory of White manhood. The experience of being with Her is all too joyous and sentimental to ever be cast in such a shadow.