It's official. She's running.
The campaign office is open, the bumper stickers are on sale, the promises and position papers and invitations to meet-and-greets and fundraisers will begin to flood the mailbox and the inbox and the airwaves.
There will be a familiar female face on everything - and that certainly will be different.
FlapJilly will never know that a woman cannot run for President, as I knew it when I was a child. When my grandpa told me that I would grow up to be President, I laughed at him. "I'm poor, I'm Jewish, and I'm female," I said. "Those are three permanent strikes against me."
Not so much, any more, it seems. At least as far as gender is concerned.
Girls who grew up with all the accessibility Title IX provided have no frame of reference for the magnitude of this announcement. They were never faced with the closed doors their mothers bumped into whenever a promotion or an opportunity arose.
Little Cuter begged me to "stop with the Title IX already" as we sat in the Rose Bowl, watching the 1999 Women's World Cup. The women sitting around us shared my smile. We knew that those girls on the field had benefited from chances unavailable to us. It was a beautiful moment in time. I felt as if I were participating in a seismic shift in the universe.
And now Mrs. Clinton is seeking the Presidency. Her husband is absent from the video clips I've seen. Her time in the White House as First Lady is a footnote to her tenure as Secretary of State and Senator from New York. Just typing those jobs gives me goose bumps. If there were female governors when I was growing up they were unknown to me; a cabinet position beyond Health, Education and Welfare was unthinkable. HEW was women's work; diplomacy and statecraft belonged to the men.
I am trying to stay away from comparing Hillary to Claire Underwood. Mrs. Clinton was not a Dallas debutante, and her failure to reinvent health care in America can hardly be considered completely her own fault. Everyone talks about her clothes, even if the comments are more likely to be nastier than the compliments Claire's couture conjures up.
The fact that I'm talking about her clothes at all is a reminder that change is gradual, and that not all the pieces have fallen into place. So, I will move on to what I think is the major issue plaguing Mrs. Clinton's candidacy - her character.
She hitched her wagon to a rising star, at a time when women were just beginning to make major headway in the political arena. I can't fault her for that. Nor can I judge her decision to remain married to a philanderer. I saw her, with Chelsea, at a rally in Tucson, and the love between them was palpable. One of the attendees in the front row fainted, and Mrs. Clinton refused to continue her speech until the woman was cared for. She bent down, kneeling at the edge of the stage, until she was certain everything was all right. I have no doubt that she is a good person, in the way that good mothers and friends are good people.
But, there's a larger piece that must be considered, because she's not campaigning to become my best friend or my babysitter. I have to look at her character when the issues are beyond caretaking and loving. What has her track record been when politics is involved? When I look through that lens, I'm less enthusiastic.
How did the envelope land on a table in the Open To Visitors' section of the White House? Travelgate seems like pique gone wild.
Her huge profit on Frank Perdue's chickens has no reasonable explanation. TBG was in the business at the time; without inside information, he says, no one could have expected that kind of return.
The rumors about her relationship with Vincent Foster never gained much traction with me; without a note, how can anyone presume to understand the demons behind suicide. Secret boxes in White House closets don't do much for me, either. The stories are there, but I'm unconvinced. Having been in the public eye, having seen untruths reported as verified facts, I'm skeptical without more data.
I'm not touching Benghazi, either. Had the Republican dominated Congress authorized the funding, there might have been more guards surrounding the Ambassador, who chose to go there despite warnings about his safety. After nearly twenty hearings on Capitol Hill, I've heard nothing to make me believe that she is culpable.
But I don't trust her. I don't think she has a strong moral compass. I think she is Hillary-centric, and that scares me.
On the other hand, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio frighten me even more. And, as usual, they are all men.
Is voting for a candidate based on gender pandering to an agenda? For sure. It's an agenda of inclusion, of possibilities for FlapJilly and Little Cuter and all the other little girls growing up with grandpas who think they can rise to occupy the highest office in the land.
I'm sorry, Grandpa. Maybe you were right.