weight of a moment - why #imwithher matters

When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
— Hillary Clinton

Last week, our nation experienced a historic moment. Much has been said about this moment, both positive and negative. Me being me, I would like to focus on the positive. The positive is simple.

96 years ago on August 18th the 19th amendment was ratified. This amendment gave women their unalienable right to vote in the United States of America.1

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SOURCE: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-07-28/ap-explains-long-history-of-women-running-for-president

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SOURCE: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-07-28/ap-explains-long-history-of-women-running-for-president

Less than 100 years ago, women like myself were unable to take a stand and vote in this, our progressive country that promises equality for all. Now, anyone who has a television, computer, phone or is just reading the good old fashioned newspaper knows that this country hasn’t exactly lived up to its “equality for all” promise. Those same media outlets I mentioned about will probably offer varying opinions on the validity of my statement and I am not here to start an argument or debate with any one.

I am here to say that many women have used their voice, intelligence and strength of character to get us to this moment. The excitement of the first women receiving the honor of being a major political party nominee for the office of the President of the United States is just that, exciting.

I realized the other day, however that the weight of this moment might not fully be understood by everyone because for some reason, the concept of representation isn't understood. 

representation matters

It matters because despite having faith, too often in a culture that has at your fingertips accessibility to just about everything, seeing is believing.

For much of the last two centuries, every sitting United States President has represented one basic group. Caucasian and privilege. While this does not automatically mean that they do not have the good of the people in mind as they enact laws and regulations for this country, it certainly does provide some distance from some of our countries most glaring problems and inconsistencies. 

When Barack Obama used the slogan "Yes We Can" as part of his platform for election, it resonated because it involved inclusion and an understanding of the plight of people beyond just the status quo.  Millions of citizens who had been denied the right to vote based on their race were able to not visualize change for themselves. They could see someone "just like them" rise to the highest office in this country. That means something. 

We have seen and heard it time and time again in the world of media, where people saw someone that looked like them and realized that there was possibility out there. So, why not in politics?

Well, that same concept was realized last week as Hillary Clinton accepted a major parties nomination to be their candidate for the United States of America. Young girls and women were able to see for the first time something amazing...

possibility

The possibility that change can indeed happen, even at the highest levels of bureaucracy.  This change is not without its challenges. Just look at the questions and media attention that surround this female candidate opposed to her male counterparts thought the entire run thus far. Look at the amount of free air time given to her opponent (understandably, this is for soundbites, just as much as gender bias). So much free air time in fact that her opponent, has needed to do little to know actual campaign ads, in contrast with record spending for Hillary to get her message out to the people.

But, as with any trailblazers, you get burned quite a bit setting a new path. With each ditch, burn and road block, you get up, you start again. Because of her, other women have this possibility. Because of women before Hillary, like Victoria WoodHull (1872), Gracie Allen (1940), Shirley Chisholm (1972), Linda Jenness (1972) and Jill Stein (2012) who all ran for president to varying degrees of success, Hillary saw the possibility. 

These images came from various sources on line and are not my own. For an article detailing the ladies who fought before this election, checkout this great article from Time Magazine: 5 Other Women Who Ran For President or checkout each of their names above to be redirected to some background info on each one of them

These images came from various sources on line and are not my own. For an article detailing the ladies who fought before this election, checkout this great article from Time Magazine: 5 Other Women Who Ran For President or checkout each of their names above to be redirected to some background info on each one of them

These were not the only women to blaze a trail towards the most coveted office of the land. Here is a list of others who also ran for the office of President of the United States and put a crack or two into the ceiling. (SOURCE:)

cracks in the ceiling

Victoria Woodhull (1872)

Belva Lockwood (1884, 1888)

Laura Clay (1920) 

Gracie Allen (1940) 

Margaret Chase Smith (1964)

Charlene Mitchell (1968)

Shirley Chisholm (1972)

Linda Jenness (1972)

Patsy Takemoto Mink (1972)

Evelyn Reed (1972)

Ellen McCormack (1976, 1980)

Margaret Wright (1976)

Deidre Griswold (1980)

Sonia Johnson (1984)

Gabrielle Holmes (1984)

Isabelle Masters (1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)

Patricia Schroeder (1988)

Lenora Fulani (1988, 1992)

Willa Kenoyer (1988)

Gloria E. LaRiva (1992)

Susan Block (1992)

Helen Halyard (1992)

Millie Howard (1992, 1996)

Monica Moorehead (1996, 2000)

Marsha Feinland (1996)

Mary Cal Hollis (1996)

Heather Anne Harder (`1996)

Elvena E. Lloyd-Deffie (1996)

Gerogina H. Doerschuck (1996)

Susan Gail Ducey (1996)

Ann Jennings (1996)

Diane Beall Templin (1996)

Joanne Jorgensen (1996)

Elizabeth Dole (2000)

Cathy Gordon Brown (2000)

Carol Moseley Braun (2004)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008, 2016)

Cynthia McKinney (2008)

Michelle Bachmann (2012)

Peta Lindsay (2012)

Jill Stein (2012)

Roseanne Barr (2012)

Carly Forinia (2016)


As I was researching items for this post and watching the Democratic National Convention I noticed an awesome hashtag #centenariansforclinton. It was awesome, because it was mainly being promoted by women over the age of 100. This mean that these women, born when it was illegal for them to vote can potential see the possibility of a woman in office before the end of their life. I dare anyone to tell these women that representation doesn't matter.

SOURCE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/meet-jerry-emmett-arizonas-102-year-old-honorary-delegate-to-the-democratic-national-convention-8472872

SOURCE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/meet-jerry-emmett-arizonas-102-year-old-honorary-delegate-to-the-democratic-national-convention-8472872

I surely didn’t plan to live past 100 years old,” she says. “When I did, and I saw all these things that were happening, it was like I had a shot in the arm.” She became even more enthusiastic about getting Democrats elected.
— Jerry Emmett, 102 year old Arizona Delegate
Ruline Steininger, 103 might have given my favorite quote (seen below) IMAGE SOURCE: 

Ruline Steininger, 103 might have given my favorite quote (seen below) IMAGE SOURCE: 

After giving this problem much serious thought and consideration, I have come to the decision that I must live to do my part November 2016, I can die later!”
— Ruline Steininger, 103 years old

As for me, I am recognizing the moment and reflecting on the possibility.