For someone who had the race in the palm of her hand and enjoyed a generous lead in the polls for much of the election, Hillary Clinton lost “bigly” on Tuesday night.
It was a loss that hit Democrats, progressives and moderate Republicans to the core. But it is feminists that are left to do plenty of soul-searching. Women who were firmly in her corner since 2008 and were blinded by her flaws, women who despised her and voted for Trump in protest and women who were lukewarm on her candidacy but voted for her because she was the lesser of two evils have a lot to mull over today.
I was part of the latter group; someone who didn’t agree with her 100%, but admired her fortitude, her strength and poise under adversity.
As first lady, she was lambasted for her efforts to bring affordable health care to children.
As a candidate for Senate in New York, she was mocked for attempting to become a career politician.
And of course, during her two presidential bids both in 2008 and now, the vitriol against her was unparalleled.
When detractors chided her for sticking by a philandering husband, when she sat through a grueling 11-hour hearing on the death of four US citizens in Benghazi and when Trump supporters chanted “Lock her up!,” Clinton did what she does best: maintain a stiff upper lip.
She was not my first choice, but on early Tuesday night, I found myself yearning for the day where for girls born in the next four (or even eight) years, a woman at the White House will be a reality and not Hollywood fiction.
Unfortunately, the polarizing nature of this election has obscured what it will mean for small girls to see a woman in pantsuits in the White House.
Clinton made a few cracks in the toughest glass ceiling in the world when she cinched the nomination, but ultimately, was not able to blast through it.
How much is she personally to blame for that can be debated. Certainly the Wikileaks emails showing her campaign was in cahoots with the DNC to bring down rival Bernie Sanders didn’t help. Nor did her initial glossing over of the several (non) scandals she was embroiled in.
This defeat is a personal one.
It was said that women in America were upset with Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal because he “lied to them.” Well, 18 years later, I too, feel a personal betrayal by a Clinton.
Tuesday should have been a watershed moment for every American girl who is still – in 2016! – told that she should know her place, that she should speak up less, that there are certain institutions where she is not welcome because of her gender.
To those girls I say: don’t lose hope. You’ll be have another opportunity to be With Her. And, hopefully then, she will be able to shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.
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