It seems like Hillary Clinton has faded into the background of our nation’s public dialogue since her defeat in the election. News cycles cannot accurately reflect the inner life of all Americans, and I know millions of people are still mourning her defeat, even though “life moves on” and President-Elect Trump certainly gives our nation and the world a lot to consider. In the spirit of recognizing extraordinary success, I want to share a few thoughts for the New Year.
It is hard to watch a trailblazer ascend, be hit from all sides, fail, and then be muddied anew in the press and social media afterwards. I am honored to have lived to witness Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. Believing, as I do, that sexism is more prevalent than racism in our nation, although not as fiery a headline, this election was particularly difficult. Black men could vote before women could. A black man was President of the United States before a woman was. I didn’t support Hillary Clinton just because she was a woman, but I think that gender (and its inherent stereotypes) was an aspect of her candidacy and a factor in her subsequent defeat that was under-appreciated and under-reported. Women are so often silenced, overlooked, or disregarded. And now, thanks to God knows what (Comey, Russia, about 80,000 people in the Midwest who disliked or distrusted Clinton, whatever), years will pass before any woman can try to be President of the United States again.
It’s sickening to me that success wasn’t easier, more straightforward, and more immediate on behalf of women everywhere. However, it is perhaps to be expected. The powerful influence of women in America is often covered up, buried, or treated as a footnote. Compare these recent headlines with the actual story. The headlines reference men, and a poll about which one is most admired:
Here is the AOL headline:
…and the headline on CNBC:
…and even the announcement, direct from Gallup, on Twitter:
Below all of those headlines, buried in the paragraphs of the story, there’s a brief mention that there was also a poll about admired women. And, as a matter of fact, in 2016 Hillary Clinton was voted the “Most Admired Woman” for the 21st year in a row-
The fact that Hillary Clinton was voted the “Most Admired Woman” for 21 years in a row far outstrips the success of her male counterparts in the poll. (That’s more than two decades, people!) She has been voted “Most Admired” more times than Obama. Far more than Trump. Interestingly, that fact wasn’t the lead on any news site that ran this story (that I saw), including Gallup, the company that took the polls.
Maybe discussing Hillary Clinton is a hot potato after the election, a bit taboo and unappealing for the tender-hearted, even if they sympathize with her in some way. Maybe it’s just assumed that she’ll be there on the list, as usual, and it’s no big deal. Maybe there’s an attitude – leftover from some kind of subconscious, primeval human instincts – that the loser of any contest should be shunned, ridiculed, and ostracized, that an expression of support for the loser carries a social risk of isolation and ridicule for the supporter. Maybe women just aren’t considered as newsworthy in general. I don’t know.
I know there are still fierce feelings about this election. I know Hillary Clinton is human and as flawed as the rest of us. I deeply admire her courage and fortitude in serving our country in general, and especially in campaigning as the Democratic candidate to be the President of the United States when no woman ever had. As we welcome in the New Year, I want to stand up for my choice: the defeated, iconic Hillary Clinton. Thank you.
Lastly, before I conclude, I want to recognize all of my fellow voters in the United States. Anyone who believed in our country enough to get out and put their ballot in. I have great friends who represent the spectrum of political opinion. They’re all wonderful, amazing Americans who have served our nation in the Armed Forces, in the Government, and in the private sector too. It’s the average, headline-less, good-hearted Americans who I know and meet, day-in and day-out, who give me real hope for the future. Thank you.
I wish everyone a year brimming with love, courage, happy learning, and a deeper understanding of God’s grace.
*HAPPY NEW YEAR!*