Monday, June 9, 2008

Yes, Hillary, we are so proud

Watching Hillary Rodham Clinton's concession speech on Saturday was a very emotional experience for me. My feelings are complicated. First, there is the sadness that her campaign is now coming to a close in what has been a long campaign full of twists and turns. I voted for Hillary Clinton, because I felt she was the best candidate for the job. I LOVED voting for her because she is a woman. My emotional response is centered there, as I am woman and I have a daughter who will grow up to be a woman. While I sat with my husband in the living room, watching Hillary's rousing and gracious speech, with my 3 year old daughter perched at my side, I found tears coursing down my face. I felt so very connected to her words. Although she did not "win the race," she did win. She won a lot. She went further than any woman has gone before. She ran a race hoping to become the next President of the United States! Think about that for a minute. Savor the idea of a woman running our country. Savor it, because someday it will be a reality. And that will be a glorious day! In years to come, my daughter will look back on Hillary Rodham Clinton as a woman who changed history. Who didn't say: I can't do this because no woman has ever done it before. She believed she could do it. She felt she was the most qualified. And she just did it. With tremendous opposition, irrational hatred and sexism opposing her. And she just did it. That is how history is made.

As the camera panned the crowd, I saw Gloria Steinem. And I felt my blood sing imagining all the women who have gone before who helped make this day possible for Hillary Clinton. A path has been hacked through the jungle, and now it is our job to keep the path free of choking vines. If you have a daughter, hug her and tell her that with hard work, determination and belief in herself anything is possible. If you have a son, hug him and tell him how lucky he is to grow up in a world where woman are equal to men. Hug your sisters, hug your friends, and celebrate what being a woman means today, in June 2008. We live in exciting times. As Hillary Clinton said, we can be so proud that now "it will be unremarkable to have a woman as President of the United States." Yes, Hillary, we are so proud. And I feel confident that those suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 are proud, too. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for your guts and determination. Thank you for having a voice and for not being afraid to use it. Thank you for making me feel alive. And I can't wait to see what mountains you conquer next!

Below are my favorite moments from Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech. For the full speech go here.

" the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in their ears, See, you can be anything you want to be."

"We all want an America defined by deep and meaningful equality, from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization, to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. And we all want to restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, and once again lead by the power of our values, and to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming."

" Now, on a personal note, when I was asked what it means to be a woman running for president, I always gave the same answer, that I was proud to be running as a woman, but I was running because I thought I'd be the best president.

But I am a woman and, like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious, and I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us.

I ran as a daughter who benefited from opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother who worries about my daughter's future and a mother who wants to leave all children brighter tomorrows.

To build that future I see, we must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and their mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay, and equal respect.

Let us resolve and work toward achieving very simple propositions.

There are no acceptable limits, and there are no acceptable prejudices in the twenty first century in our country.

You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories, unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States. And that is truly remarkable, my friends."

To those who are disappointed that we couldn't go all of the way, especially the young people who put so much into this campaign, it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours.

Always aim high, work hard and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you're knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on.

As we gather here today in this historic, magnificent building, the fiftieth woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast fifty women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.

Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it - and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

That has always been the history of progress in America.

Think of the suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women could cast their votes.

Think of the abolitionists who struggled and died to see the end of slavery. Think of the civil rights heroes and foot soldiers who marched, protested and risked their lives to bring about the end of segregation and Jim Crow.

Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote and, because of them, my daughter grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could go to school together.

Because of them, Barack Obama and I could wage a hard-fought campaign for the Democratic nomination. Because of them and because of you, children today will grow up taking for granted that an African-American or a woman can, yes, become the president of the United States.

And so, when that day arrives, and a woman takes the oath of office as our president, we will all stand taller, proud of the values of our nation, proud that every little girl can dream big and that her dreams can come true in America.

And all of you will know that, because of your passion and hard work, you helped pave the way for that day.

So I want to say to my supporters: When you hear people saying or think to yourself, If only, or, What if, I say, please, don't go there.

Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.

Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president.

And I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort. "

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  1. I didn't like her at all at first; but I am so impressed at how well she took all the crap that was thrown out her. What gumption!

  2. Thanks for the post. Even though I am a person who tends to vote Republican, as a woman and as the mom of a mixed-race child, my heart was drawn towards the race for the Democratic nomination, because of what it represented for me and for my son.

  3. I've also been sad (and cried a few tears, too.

    The world has changed a bit in the last year, and we can be glad of that, at least.

    Thanks for posting this.

  4. Thank you for posting this. ONe of the few times I have regretted not having television.

  5. I also was very disappointed that she lost the nomination. She's the only candidate that gave me any hope for the future. I know a lot of people feel good about Obama, but he scares me almost as much as McCain.

  6. She did a great job and it made me sad to have to have to concede. These were all great quotes.

    Have a good day - Kellan

  7. Just reading the quotes makes my eyes sting.

    I look forward to the day it really is unremarkable.

  8. It was a historic race in so many ways. I know Hillary Clinton as a lot to offer this country, and I hope she is given a chance.

  9. Amazing that she didn't win through the race with Obama. I would have thought her the stronger candidate, with insight into the job, like no other person could have.

  10. "A path has been hacked through the jungle, and now it is our job to keep the path free of choking vines."

    I love this. I'm really disappointed that she didn't get the nomination. Like you, I voted for her because I thought she was the best candidate, but I was also thrilled that she happens to be a woman. I really wish she had gotten it.

  11. What Rima said. Isn't it amazing a woman came so close? She may have just touched the glass ceiling!

  12. It was an amazing speech. I don't think any future female candidate will take take the number of unfair and sexist punches Hillary Clinton did. She took one for the team. I have to say I was astounded by the sexism in the media...astounded. I can barely watch MSNBC anymore.

  13. I too was a Hillary fan. Yes, I'm happily taking up Obama's flag, but I think she's an amazing person, woman and politician. Big echo to the sexism.

  14. I love the statement about it being "unremarkable."
    We've already had a female Prime Minister and while she wasn't terribly good, it does seem commonplace now.
    It will be fabulous to have a woman run next time and the focus less on the fact that a "she" is running and more on what she is running for.

  15. Thanks for writing the post I had wanted to write. You made so many eloquent and heartfelt points. I too shed a few stinging tears, during and after her amazing speech. She sure put egg in the face of skeptics who made such unflattering predictions.

    So yes, mostly sad to have hopes dashed of "FINALLY a woman in the oval office". I've been rooting for HRC since she took on (and lost)the health insurance industry (my husb & I are both self-employed, so we pay out of the nose for bare bones coverage). I was so very hopeful she would be given the opportunity to take it on again and WIN this time.

    But.. onward to Denver and Obama in 2008 !!!

  16. What a nice tribute. I can hardly believe all that she has accomplished sometimes. We are all better for it.

  17. Great post! I'm an Obama girl, but the thought of a woman making it that far is awesome. It tore at me that I wasn't backing her, only because she's a woman and I felt some sense to responsibility to support her because of that, but in the end, Obama won me over. And I'd hate for a man to vote for a man simply because they both have a penis.

    Not that I'm saying that that's why you voted for Hilary, simply because she's a woman. Do you know what I mean?

  18. I haven't always been a Hilary fan, but I was really impressed by her during this campaign. She was beset by a lot of unfair, scathing media coverage.

  19. I usually vote Republican but Hillary just about had me changing my mind!!

  20. Yes, women have come so far. I feel we have a lot farther to go, however. I could go into all my gripes, but I won't. I'll just say that I applaud you for posting this, for talking about women's roles in society, and for being a strong woman raising a daughter to be strong, and a son that will respect women.

  21. Hillary showed remarkable grace and wisdom in this speech, it will certainly be the crowning moment of her campaign.

    Historically, I am a Republican, but my imagination in this cycle has been captured by the inspiration offered by what our country might look like to the world with Obama as president.

    That said, Hillary has paved the way for a woman to take the mantle of the president someday, and she will be honored for that.

  22. Yay! This was the best post I've read in a long time. I voted for Hillary, too, but I hadn't sat back to think about these points that you brought out here. Heartwarming!

  23. Thanks for posting this. As a mother of boys, I try to instill in them a sense of 'sameness' that of course there is nothing remarkable. I think they get it now. Here's hoping they will later.

    And here's to Hillary for a hell of a fight. And to all the women that follow.


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