Margaret, as you would expect, I have been glued to the news ever since the voting started in Iowa and now moves on to New Hampshire…up there near you, honey. I bet politicians are worse than the leaf peepers in fall. Being so close to Vermont, I am wondering if you can tell me why the youngsters are so excited about Senator Sanders? I thought all of us old fogeys were too square these days.
I saw a young woman on MSNBC talking about how Hillary’s feminism was not her feminism. Oh honey. If you only knew. When my mother was your age, she wasn’t allowed to vote. When I was your age, journalists wouldn’t have even bothered to ask for my opinion. They would have wanted my husband’s instead. Your opinion actually made news around the world. That’s just remarkable. Trust me when I tell you that my mother’s feminism became mine. And mine became Hillary’s which most definitely became yours. Feminism isn’t a vote. It’s a birthright.
If you will all humor me, I think I would like to talk to those young ladies who aren’t too concerned about seeing a woman in the White House this time around. Of course, you can always feel free to ignore me.
Eight years ago was invigorating. We saw a woman and a black man go farther than any before. Each were viable candidates for the most powerful position in the world. The old broad in me was selfish enough to want the woman to win, but the liberal in me was open-minded enough to celebrate the black man. Now let’s be clear before the comments start coming. I am old and maybe I don’t have a good grasp on political correctness. If I should be saying African-American or Person of Color or some other descriptor then I stand corrected. As I have said before, I used to have a good handle on life but lately that door’s been sticking.
My point is, sometimes elections are about big things. The day we elected Barack Obama, we changed the world for the better, forever. And no matter how hard the Republicans have tried to minimize that, we all now know it is possible and that possibility will change lives for generations to come. The day we elect a woman to the White House, we change the world for the better, forever. Unless that woman is Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorini – then we get a do over.
Now just settle yourself down. I’m not saying we should vote for Hillary just because she is a woman. I’m just saying that’s a good place to start. Read a book she’s written. Look up her biography and study her career without the political pundits like Andrea Mitchell telling you how to think. You might discover that she’s been fighting a revolution for years.
Hillary Clinton has a long list of accomplishments. She went to Yale, became a lawyer and instead of joining a big firm, she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund. Eventually she taught law and served as First Lady of Arkansas and then First Lady of the country. I remember how the press criticized her because she said she wanted to be more politically active as First Lady. In fact, years before Obamacare, Mrs. Clinton led the effort for universal healthcare. Oh my goodness but the Republicans raked her over the coals for that. But she didn’t give up. She worked with those same Republicans and was at least able to get the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which provided healthcare to millions of children. She also set up the Office on Violence Against Women and was an avid supporter of the Foster Care Independence Bill and championed the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 And that’s just the the short of it.
No doubt some of you young ones only remember her when she served as the U.S. Senator from New York and then as Secretary of State. And sadly, because she was so good at both, the Republican Party spent years trying to discredit her accomplishments. Ted Cruz suggested she should be spanked like the way he spanks his 5 year old daughter.
Well hell, give me five minutes alone with Ted and not only will he never hit a child again, but he’ll also know what it feels like to have a size nine SAS loafer up his ass. He nor any other of those bozos can hold a candle to Hillary Clinton.
Now that is just my opinion, of course, and I encourage you to have an opinion of your own.
I get the allure of Sanders. Revolutions are exciting, but sometimes the casualties are so high that only the young are willing to take on the fight. I do understand that. I’ve been there. We might look like something the dog hides under the porch now, but all us old feminists were young once too.
Before you go, let me tell you a little something about a revolution in this country that started generations ago and is still being fought today.
My great grandmother was born before a married woman could own property, enter into contracts, or earn a salary. In her life time much of that changed. She could own property and make a salary before she died, but she would not have been allowed to own her own business.
My grandmother was born before a woman had the right to vote. She died before gaining that right.
My mother was also born before women had the right to vote but luckily she saw that change in her lifetime. I bet you didn’t realize that was less than 100 years ago.
I was born when the only legal form of birth control was abstinence. Women went to jail if caught with devices such as condoms and diaphragms. Believe it or not, married couples didn’t gain the right to use birth control in all 50 states until 1965. Unmarried women didn’t gain that right until 1972. Of course, Palin and Fiorini would like to see it go away, but we finally gained the right to a safe and legal abortion in 1972. And you might not realize it, but most of those Republican candidates today would like to see all the laws on birth control reversed – not just that last one.
Women of my generation fought hard so that women of your generation could actually grow up believing anything was possible.
Listen, I ‘m so old I might crack in half tomorrow. It takes a lot of Bengay for me to feel the burn. I am still fighting for the right for women to control our own bodies and sadly I have yet to see a woman be elected President. Are you sure you can wait? Forgive me in advance if I am offending you, but I didn’t put on my big girl panties for over 60 years fighting for this day just to have you ignore its importance. You don’t have to vote for Hillary but you have to at least recognize how significant this all is.
People like Hillary Clinton helped to create a world where young women today can actually believe it will happen soon enough if it doesn’t have to happen this time. Fair enough. But please remember that my generation grew up in a world where that possibility was far from sure.
If it is a revolution you want, I can sympathize. I been fighting a revolution too. I just thought you should know that while a revolution might start in your lifetime, it doesn’t necessarily end before you die. I am ready for my revolution… no OUR revolution to come to an end if for no other reason than opening the way for yours to begin. I expect greatness from the women of your generation even if I won’t be around to experience it.
Personally, I don’t think the Democratic Party running so far to the left is helpful when the Republican Party has gone so far to the right. I might be wrong but I fear Bernie’s revolution won’t even make it to the White House much less through Congress. But if you insist on Sanders and he gets the nomination, I will join you in your revolution. And if Hillary gets the nomination, and I believe she will, I hope you will join me in finishing mine. You might be surprised, however, that Hillary could very well be the one you were looking for all along. She’s been fighting for the underdog all of her career.
Regardless of how you feel now, we all can agree on one thing: a Republican in the White House would be the end of both of our revolutions.
Feel free to ignore me. Vote for Bernie or vote for Hillary. I won’t get my feelings hurt. I haven’t the time. A woman of my age got over having her opinion ignored a long time ago. I hope you never do. I mean it. Really.
Helen, dear, feeling the burn at our age is never a good thing and that’s all I have to say about that.