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If the polls are to be believed, Hillary Clinton will become the first female President of the United States. This election has been so ugly and divisive, and tensions have been so high, that I don’t think that fact has gotten enough attention. Historically speaking, America isn’t that old, but a couple of hundred years and some change with all men steering this ship is still a long time. This is the first President that my niece is going to remember. I’m bringing a picture of my grandmother with me to the polling place today, and you better believe I’m going to be crying in the booth. She was born before women even had the right to vote, and she so wanted to see a woman be President in her lifetime. The only bittersweet moment for me tonight will be the fact that she’s not here to see it happen, and I’m sure many of you will be thinking of women you wish could be sitting next to you watching the results come in for this historic landmark. But I still have my other grandmother, my mother, my sisters, my niece, and my friends, and it’s going to be a good day.
There are far, far too many examples of feminism and rebellion that women have taken part in throughout the history of this country to get into here. I don’t have to tell you that. So instead I’ve decided to pick a few small snapshots that have made me emotional in the past few days that I’ve really been thinking about the choice America is about to make.
240 years ago, in a letter dated March 31st, 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John urging him, along with the rest of the Continental Congress, to get their shit together. Let’s look at an excerpt, shall we?
I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.
As we all know, not only did they not remember the ladies, they didn’t remember anyone who wasn’t a white, landowning male. To Abigail, and all of the women of bygone eras who never got what they deserved, this one’s for you.
In 1995, a shirt that featured Dennis the Menace character Margaret proclaiming that “Someday a woman will be PRESIDENT!” hit the shelves of a Walmart in Florida.
Some people complained, and the shirts were pulled because “the message went against their philosophy of family values.” BARF. There was pretty widespread outrage, and the shirts were put back (you can buy it here), but still…it happened. That simple statement offended people. Well, “someday” is this day. To every woman who has had to fight ridiculous fights because of those who are threatened by the smallest shift in the status quo, this one’s for you.
The results of this election will be important for everyone, but they’ll be important in a different way for the children of America. Hillary Clinton is someone for little girls to look up to, but it goes beyond that as well. For boys, it will normalize the idea of women in positions of leadership and power. It’s important to learn this stuff early. Take a look at a segment from Sesame Street that I love:
If the children of today take an idea like the fact that women can do anything with them into adulthood, the females of that generation may have it a bit easier than we have it now. And so on and so on and so on. That’s the dream, isn’t it? To the girls and boys who will soon not be phased by the fact that a woman can have one of the most important jobs in the world, this one’s for you.
Get out there and vote today. Let’s make it happen ladies!
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