Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It's About Damn Time

Today is election day and for the first time in my voting career, I just cast my ballot for a woman for President! In honor of this historic day, here's a little piece I wrote a few months back. 

This summer Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted the Democratic party’s nomination for President of the United States. While anyone with access to a newspaper, television or any other type of media saw this coming months ago, the day this announcement was made caused quite a stirring of emotions among my feminist friends. Rightfully so, this is a huge accomplishment for women. One friend commented on social media that any feminist who cares about politics should "have tears in their eyes at this moment" 

I had to confess that I did not.  

I have nothing against Hillary Clinton. Nothing against feminism. In fact, quite the contrary.  

So why wasn't I moved to tears by this historic moment?  

I think the reason is simple. I had every confidence that this day would happen in my lifetime. I'm a Gen X'er. I was fortunate to be born at a time when women have served as astronauts, policewomen, anchorwomen, and soldiers. I watched in 1984 as Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Vice Presidential candidate on Walter Mondale's ill-fated ticket. My first vote for governor in my home state was a choice between two competent women. In my career, most of my bosses have been women.  

I grew up watching The Bionic Woman, and Murphy Brown. I came of age at a time when I had a variety of female role models who were defined not by husbands, but by their own choices. I was there when we changed the meaning of “run like a girl”. So for me, a woman running for president is a matter of course.  
Having said that, I do agree with the sentiment – and slogan - that it is "about damn time" 

Women have been politically active and interested since Abigail Adams implored her husband to "remember the women" (he didn't, for fear of being laughed out of the First Continental Congress). But two hundred and forty years later, is about damn time. Realizing that I take for granted the achievements of women in politics, I think it is also high time to pay homage to some of the women who paved the way for Hillary Clinton's historic achievement: 
To Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and their cohorts for starting an organized women's movement.  
To Alice Paul and Lucy Burns for braving tremendous resistance to fight for women's right to vote.  
To Shirley Chisolm for running for President back in 1972 and for serving as the first African-American woman elected to congress in 1968.  
To Bella Abzug, for her activism in the peace and anti-nuclear movements of the 1960's which led to her serving in the US House from 1971-1977.  
To Condoleezza Rice, Madeline Albright, Elizabeth Warren and all of the other women out there today fighting the good fight. We have come a long way. And, yes we still have a long way to go before women are truly equal in today's society. A long way before an athletic coach who doesn't feel "ready" to coach an Olympic's men's team gladly accepts an opportunity to coach the women's team (think about that for a minute). We have a long way to go before equal pay is an accepted fact not a political issue.  

We can savor Hillary's achievement for a moment. But then it's time to get back to work breaking through more walls, ceilings, and courts for equality. A wise and accomplished woman once said, "Women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights." Let's continue the fight for those rights.

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