On January 20th, 2009, many Americans wept with joy that we had elected our very first African American President.
And when Obama was actually inaugurated on that day, America’s ideals changed for the better, and history was made.
Thunderous applause exploded in the streets of our cities as we all looked at one another smiling and discussing how far we had come.
For every individual who is dedicated to equality and the teachings of the Civil Rights Movement, Obama’s presidency was more than gratification for electing a smart, center-left Democrat into office.
That moment also stood for the thousands of advocates who fought for liberty and democracy for all around the country.
This was for the legs that carried scores of brave Americans from Selma to Montgomery, for the students in Little Rock, and for all of us that grew up knowing the “I Have A Dream” speech backwards and forwards while having the privilege of never knowing what it felt like to dream of our own freedom and opportunity.
Now, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for President, and we are less enthused.
But failing to acknowledge this momentous piece of American history would be a disservice to the women who fought for suffrage and equal rights.
In a now famous DNC video montage of all the past male presidents, the glass shatters and Hillary appears, “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet”.
In 1919 women were granted the right to vote, second wave feminism fought for women’s sexual, familial, and economic freedom, and today, women’s rights fight for equal pay, respect, the right to choose, and racial and sexual liberty for all.
This is the time in history that America has been struggling towards, and we are taking it for granted.
To be a woman at this time in history means to be a woman who can vote, who can work, use birth control, and maybe even be president.
Hillary might not be the woman that we have all been waiting for, but she represents the moment that we have all been waiting for and that cannot be disregarded.
Her nomination is even more important and profound when you compare her to the Republican nominee.
While Donald Trump attempts to throw America back in history, to a time when fascists ruled with impunity around the world, when your race and religion separated you in your own country, when fear drove people to commit unforgivable acts of hatred and violence, Hillary represents something grander and more fundamentally American.
She is the first woman to be nominated as a major party nominee for President, but she is also a socially empathetic, driven, and passionate leader that cares about people.
The stark difference between her and Trump makes this election an important choice for the kind of America we want to be.
Are we the kind that allows such an unqualified and odious meathead of a man to become commander-in-chief, or are we the kind that is ready to Elect a woman?
This choice goes beyond four years of a single presidency. Like Obama, Hillary Clinton will become a historic model of America.
This is what our children will know about.
They too will learn the “I Have A Dream” speech, and now they will learn the story of the first Black President’s election, and maybe, they will even learn about the first female president.
This is big, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Of course, people have their complaints about Hillary, and that should be recognized, but this is about so much more than the individual candidate, and this is about avoiding our children learning about the rude and racist 45th president, Adolf- I mean Donald Hitler- sorry, Trump.
We might have our very first female president, and that in it of itself is something to extol.
Like Cory Booker said in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, “Generations of heroic Americans have made our nation more inclusive, more expansive, and more just”. Whatever your feelings of Hillary Clinton may be you cannot disagree that she is far more likely to uphold this ideal than Trump.
Martin Luther King Jr. once explained that, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.
There is controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton, but there is so much to appreciate and afford to this woman.
It may feel different than how we dreamt it would, but it is still so incredible, and we should feel proud.
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Cover Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull