An ode to Hilary

From day one, it seems like Clinton saw herself as president.

She worked harder than most of us could understand, she helped her less capable husband take on the role, she took on jobs that showcased her ability, she did more, for longer to prove that she had what it takes. She knew what she was up against.

She sucked up numerous personal and professional hits, and in turn she hit that glass ceiling every day, somehow finding the time in her unrelenting schedule.

To get here.

To be firmly put in her place by a country who, for numerous reasons were still unconvinced.

When people ask ‘why didn’t she come out and speak’ on election night, I think, because for just that one night, she couldn’t face us. For just that one night she couldn’t overcome the humiliating, frustrating reality that that the world rewards flair over hard work, allows myths to flourish until they become fact and that allows us to perceive the most qualified presidential candidate in history as a criminal.

But the very next day, she extends an olive branch and offers to get back to work.

Somewhere along the way, it was decided it’s acceptable to treat Clinton like a robot. We gave ourselves permission to simultaneously knock her down while expecting her to stand right back up and prove herself again to be a better sort of human than the rest of us.

Outside of everything else that happened during this election, the immensity of her personal disappointment must be crushing.

Early in her campaign, someone asked if I liked her because she was a woman. I’ve examined that question from every angle since then and realised the question is far more complex than intended. I support her because she is a woman, yes. Because I know that means she’s done this without a script, without anyone to look to for a playbook. She’s played in a man’s world while not acting like a man, she has had to figure out how to look the way people expect a woman to look, while furthering her agenda, while not betraying who she is. She has has to balance so many more factors in every action and reaction than a man in her position would have to do.

She’s had to do this in every role she has held, while acting like she’s not. The career she has chosen has been so much harder for her to succeed at than it would have been for a man. And yet she succeeded. She has been the first woman ever to get this close to the top. The fact that she even got here makes her a better candidate.

Yes, I want a world where there has been at least one female president and I want to see equal representation of women in all areas of society. But that’s irrelevant. Anyone who has ever experienced an iota of the things you experience being a woman trying to get stuff done has some indication of the immensity of what she has had to do every minute of every day. On top of that, she has to deal with the perception that it isn’t actually a thing, that there is ‘no reason’ why a woman couldn’t be at the top.

That’s what I mean when I say she was so much more qualified than any one else. That’s what I mean when I stand in awe of her ability. That’s what makes a lot of us more than a little heartbroken at the result.

This campaign wasn’t about the better of two bad candidates. There was always one shining example of progress, we just didn’t see her.

2 thoughts on “An ode to Hilary”

  1. I have to disagree with you.

    I have no problems with women leaders. I think we’ve had two great ones in Shipley and Helen Clark. Nearly three, with Ruth Richardson (who a surprising number of people seem to think was PM!). The UK has had two women PMs, one of whom I admire very much. Germany has a great woman chancellor.

    There have been a number of women who I’d have been happy to see as the US president: Condoleezza Rice, Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina spring immediately to mind. None of them has actually been a candidate by election time, but if things had gone a little differently they could have been. I’d take any of them over Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton is quite simply a terrible candidate, and it’s not sexism to point that out. She was a disaster with her healthcare reform in the 90s, she’s been a disaster as Secretary of State.

  2. Hey Nat; thanks for that, it has been a funny ‘ol week indeed, and a confusing time in the outfall of trying to make sense of it all.
    I too thought Hillary made a great candidate, has much more experience, is long on policy (even if you disagree with it) and actual experience in government, and was exposed to much more of a double standard when it came to defending allegations against prior actions.
    A disappointing result indeed.

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