In 2008, my mother argued with me, ever so subtly, about my choice to back Obama. She said Hillary had proven herself and was more experienced. Barack Obama had only been in the Senate for 3 years at that point and Hillary had been for seven. My mom thought that made her more qualified, especially when added to her time in the White House as First Lady. I argued that being First Lady is no way to earn one's way into the Presidency. I argued that voting for Hillary that year sent the message to young girls that all you have to do is marry the right man, and you, too, can become President. Ultimately, I felt that Hillary Clinton couldn't beat John McCain. I may have been very wrong on that front since McCain's campaign seems to have gone belly up of its own accord. I told my mom, "Let Clinton wait 'til 2016, 'til after Obama sets the groundwork for fixing the mess Dubya created. Let her be President then."
My mom didn't listen to me. But a lot of Democratic voters across swing states did listen when I did the phone banking for Obama back in 2008. I know I was playing into some kind of sexist mantra. But I honestly felt that electing Hillary Clinton in 2008 would have sent the wrong message to my daughter. "So, if your husband gets to be President, then you get your turn?" I could hear my daughter asking. I did not want to have this conversation.
Now this is 2016. Hillary Clinton has served four years as Secretary of State. She has built an even greater, broader global profile. She is the presumptive nominee for the Dems and I couldn't be happier. Because, yes, this time it is about gender. Last time it was about race, this time it's about gender. And it is now time for a woman President.
When the words "Clinton becomes first female Presidential nominee" flashed across the CNN screen while she gave her victory speech, I started to cry. I imagined her sitting in the desk chair behind the desk in the oval office. And the image of that - a woman - a hard working woman - sitting at that desk behind which I have seen only men for 40 years...that moved me to tears. Relief. Elation. Excitement. Thrill. I may get to see a woman President within the next seven and a half months. This. Is. Amazing.
Now, as many of you know, I am not thrilled by Hillary Clinton's politics. Her policies are lacking. Her seeming changeability in what she believes is concerning. But, what career politician's record doesn't give me pause? There is none. And how is it possible to even get to the point of being President without making a few dozen major gaffs? I believe in giving her the same leeway we've given every male candidate to date: we may not like her, but we'll vote for her.
And in doing so, we will also make history. And that, my friends, is significant. She may not be the perfect woman President for these United States, but she's the one that we got. And she'll do a damn fine job continuing and building on the status quo that Obama has created.
As most Presidential nominees are, Hillary Clinton is a metaphor. Women can be President. Women can be knocked down and get back up. Women can lead. Women are strong. Some might say, she's a metaphor for the dirtier you play, the more likely you'll win. But then again, isn't that what our political system is about? And too much is at stake -- I know we say this every Presidential cycle - - but really, too much is at stake to vote idealism and values over practicalities and experience. Trump is a 6 cylinder engine without enough oil ready to pop. Sanders is an eco-friendly bicycle. Clinton is the V2 Rocket.
I'm voting for the rocket.