My daughter loves Hillary Clinton. I would like to be able to profess the same, but I cannot. Without question, Clinton has my vote because I believe she is beyond qualified and capable, and frankly, envisioning her presidency does not fill me with the same sense of terror as envisioning a Trump presidency. Although I am not opposed to voting third party, I find the current round of third party candidates underwhelming, at best. That said, I do feel there are substantive areas of concern when it comes to Clinton (and I am not talking about the ridiculous claims about her health), and these things are enough to keep me from declaring enthusiastically, “I’M WITH HER!” For me, it’s more of a resigned “I’m with her, I guess.”
My kid, though? Mention Hillary Clinton to her and she becomes the real-life version of the smiley face emoji that has hearts for eyes. She reserves this reaction for precisely two other people: 1) a certain male celebrity whom I cannot name because it would embarrass her, and 2) Elizabeth Warren. When it was announced that Clinton and Warren would be appearing together in New Hampshire earlier this week, I knew I had to take her to see them. Even though the line was ridiculously long, and the crowd so large we were lucky just to be able to see the tops of their heads, I was really grateful to be there, to be sharing that moment with my daughter.
Not to trivialize the importance of the event, but being at the rally felt akin to when I took my daughter to see the new Ghostbusters movie a few months ago. I left the movie theater that day feeling nothing short of giddy that finally, finally! there was a movie that allowed women to be adventurous, smart, and ambitious, and it did not focus on their bodies or the idea that any of these characters were in need of a boyfriend/husband. No one can claim this film is some cinematic masterpiece, but I believe the arrival of a movie like this was necessary and long overdue, not unlike having a woman as POTUS.
Almost eight years ago now, I watched President Obama give his victory speech on TV. I was completely overcome with emotion and could not stop myself from weeping. Aside from crying over the historical weight of the moment, I know part of me was also crying for myself, for a childhood where I never, not once, saw myself represented in the world. I couldn’t help but think of all the kids in this country who looked like me and were now learning this about themselves: you belong here too. And this is what I was thinking of when I was at the rally, listening to the person who is likely to become our first female president. If Clinton is elected, my daughter will only remember her and Obama as the presidents during her childhood, two people whose race and gender would have automatically prevented my nine-year-old self from even being able to imagine them in those roles.
My daughter is still too young to completely understand what it’s like to move about the world as a woman (thankfully), and I harbor no illusions that a female president will somehow make misogyny disappear. To the contrary, I think we are likely to learn exactly how misogynistic our culture really is, just like Obama’s presidency reminded us how rampant racism is. Watching my daughter’s face, though, when she saw Clinton arrive and wave to the crowd, seeing her smiling and clapping when Warren was calling out Trump’s vicious behavior, well, it was pretty hard for me not to feel hopeful. We were part of a crowd of thousands, all there to support a woman who is trying to achieve what has so far remained unachievable. Although I still have my reservations about Clinton, the significance of what we were a part of was not on lost on me. To my daughter, a Clinton presidency is not just about the results of an election, it’s a symbol of what a girl can accomplish, a powerful reminder that she, and all girls, have so much to offer; it’s a clear message: you belong here too. How could I ever vote against that?