Friday, June 10, 2016

Do You Have to Be Old to Appreciate It?

I got goose bumps when she came on stage after the voting ended. 
Oh, so did I.  

When I read Maryellen Bess's comment on today's post, I realized that no one else had said that to me all day. TBG opined that Barack Obama stole some of Hillary's thunder by getting there first, but the sight of a viable female candidate for the Presidency smiling on the screen had all the little hairs on my arms standing at attention Tuesday night. 

 I was struck by the moment.  I'm not a big Hillary fan, but that didn't matter.  Watching her smile and send love and receive love and noticing that the reporters were letting the moment speak for itself all combined to fill my heart.  It was history, and I was watching it.  I found myself placing the image in my permanent memory bank.
She was so radiant.
I took that image with me as I left the house, but no one was talking about it.  Not at the Happy Ladies' Club luncheon, not at my massage, not on the phone with Seret - no one.  I didn't overhear any conversations about it while standing in line at the grocery store.  Facebook was filled with Hurray for Hillary posts, but the few comments about the historicity of the event only appeared on the pages of women of a certain age.

To the young women behind her in Brooklyn, to the young women crying for Bernie in California and on his rope line in Vermont, Hillary must seem like Mom .... and Mom can do anything.  There is nothing surprising in seeing her as powerful; Sarah Palin would have been one heart attack away from the Oval Office within their recent lifetimes, and they probably heard their mothers' terrified ravings on the subject over dinner.

Glass ceiling?  You have to be in the work force for a while before it becomes obvious, before it happens to you.  Hillary's been Secretary of State and a Senator and the Speaker of the House was a woman and what is all the excitement about, anyway?

Those young women in the audience were never refused a credit card because they weren't married, were never told that they couldn't teach kindergarten while pregnant (my Mom, carrying me), never denied a job because women didn't do that (Sandra Day O'Connor after finishing law school), never asked for a parent or as a co-signatory on a loan (buying a Sentra in Chicago in 1978).

Little Cuter told me to put a sock in it at the 1999 Women's World Cup when my Title IX rants threatened her sanity.  I kept still, but the other moms in Row 65 of the Rose Bowl smiled and nodded agreement.  We knew we were making history, even if our girls did not.  We felt it in our bones.

How many of us might have been out on the field ourselves, in our day?  How many of us chose teaching over administration, nursing over medicine, social work over psychiatry, because society wasn't ready for us?  This is a big deal for me, for my daughter and my granddaughter and my nieces (and yes, for my son, too, but not in the same way).  This is a big deal for America (finally catching up to the rest of the world), and I was beginning to feel very old, very 20th Century, very living in the past, very disconnected from everyone without grey hair and arthritis until I read a post on Facebook.

 I don't know Kiehl Sundt, but he graciously allowed me to share the opening of his post with you:
My gut, that part of me that feels but doesn't think, doesn't feel it's a very big deal that a woman is a major party's presidential nominee. My gut also feels that most women my age don't think it's a very big deal either. 
But I was listening to a bunch of older women last night, and they think this is, as Biden would say, a big f**ing deal. I think that's because they see their own struggles in her story. There's a lot of talk about breaking "glass ceilings." But Hillary's generation didn't just face ceilings that were made of glass; they faced ceilings that were concrete.
This young man restored just a little bit of my faith in those coming behind us, and I'm glad.  I want to share this moment with everyone.


(About those **'s: Mr. Sundt spelled it all out, but my ad deal with BlogHer precludes certain words.)

3 comments:

  1. Well, I have to thank you again today for sharing that Facebook post. And your post nails it perfectly once again. I don't write about politics, but I was a George McGovern delegate at our state's democratic convention and a Jesse Jackson delegate the year Bill Clinton won the nomination. My philosophy in more aligned with Bernie, I support Obama over her last time around, but I knew in my heart I would be voting for her in this next election.
    The woman in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi3r3GqVM5U) may come across as a wingnut, but she does make some excellent points all the same.

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  2. I didn't vote for Obama because he was half black. I didn't think Hillary's sex should be a reason to vote for her or against her but clearly to many people it was a big factor-- pro or con. To me it's about issues, character, trust, and ability. I didn't feel she had those but a lot of other people believed she did. There is no alternative to her but I am not looking forward to having to hear her for the next five years or more. I also just hope she doesn't get us into more wars and mistakes in who we back as her foreign policy history is one of the areas I most dislike her.

    The other day I read someone who said he'd only once voted for someone for President. All the rest of the times, it'd been against someone. That pretty well covers it for me this year.

    Women though should not get jobs just because they are women-- or lose them for the same reason. That's what I hope for someday. We're still a long way from it as even in corporations sometimes women are promoted when they really aren't the most qualified but only because they are female.

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  3. thank you for this post. Hillary's smile on that stage is still glowing in my heart.

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