Tuesday, April 14, 2015

She's all in - and so am I

It was the moment that many of us had been waiting for since 2008. Hillary Clinton finally made it official. She is running for president.

I wonder about the analysis, the thought process that went into her decision. Surely, she, of all people, knows what she is facing over the next nearly eighteen months. Her enemies will be throwing every piece of shit they can put their hands on at her. She will be called everything from a liar to a murderer. She will be deemed too old, too ugly, too fat, too female, (and, also, not female enough) too shrill, and all those other adjectives that ignorant people routinely throw at women in the spotlight to try to shame them and bring them down.

Her hairstyles and her clothes will be scrutinized and criticized endlessly. God forbid she should ever wear a scrunchie!

But she knows all of this because they've already been doing it to her. They've done it now for the more than thirty years that she has been in the public's eye. Yet she is still standing. Not only that, she is the most admired woman in America and third most admired in the world, behind Angelina Jolie and Malala Yousafzai.

Truly, it must take nerves of steel and a backbone of the same material to know all of this and still be willing to put oneself forward as a candidate to lead. Hillary Clinton has never lacked courage nor the willingness to blaze her own trail. I think those qualities are factors that weigh into her standing among the most admired.

It is arguable that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate who has ever announced a candidacy for the presidency. She has served as first lady, both of a state (Arkansas) and of the country, which provides a unique perspective and experience. After her years in the White House, she ran for the senate and won, and served as a highly effective and respected senator from New York, before stepping down to become secretary of state when she was called to that post by Barack Obama. As secretary of state, she traveled all over the world and in most places was greeted like a rock star, but always her main cause as secretary was the championing of rights for women in all the places she visited.

Of course, some will criticize her for her emphasis on the importance of women's rights. People like the female Republican strategist who appeared on Fox News recently saying that Clinton should not drown her in estrogen all the time. (Yes, there are female misogynists. I've met quite a few and there are certainly plenty in the national media.) I wonder if this strategist would complain of Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Marco Rubio drowning people in testosterone every time they open their mouths. Stupid question - of course she wouldn't!

So, those of us who support Hillary Clinton, who have always supported her, had better develop our own nerves of steel for the coming months. It isn't pleasant to see someone you admire constantly called ugly names and pilloried over imaginary "scandals." But if we can persevere - we know that she can! - then there is potentially a great reward at the end of those months of bitterness: Seeing a woman inaugurated as president of our country.

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