“Yeah, yeah, but…”: Why I Choose Hillary Clinton.
Though I have written several articles and posted multiple videos over the last nine months on my site proclaiming how unfit I see Donald Trump to be our commander-in-chief, I have neglected to list the reasons I do choose Hillary Clinton.
This past year, I had the great blessing of engaging in political discussions with people all around the world — from Japan, to India, to Germany, to Britain, to Turkey, to Australia — and all of them were baffled and amused at the United States’ choice to promote someone like Trump. I laughed along with them, because I believed our country knew better. I believed reason would win out.
When Trump accepted the nomination as Republican candidate, I cried.
Thankfully, the following week, I sat hopeful as I watched Bernie Sanders endorse Hillary for the Democratic Nomination and, to my utter surprise, I cried again as she accepted. In fact, I am crying now as I write this.
Never did I realize how important it was to me to see and to know that a woman was capable of being President of the United States. As an intelligent, strong, hardworking woman, of course I believed it in my heart. But as I watched the stream of white men from European descent flash across the screen, my heart pounded. Is this not what I had been teaching my students for years?
Bias is bred from exposure. We subconsciously encode and assimilate what we see, not what we know or believe to be true.
As I remembered this episode of Black-ish, where Dre recounted his fear at Barack and Michelle walking in open air toward the White House, the tears welled up again.
I know that feeling. The glorious feeling of joy tinged by fear. Disbelief that something so counter-biased could be true. Though you know in your heart something is possible, until it has happened, it remains partially shrouded in, “Yeah, yeah, but…” — partially unavailable, partially too good to be true.
Barack Obama was to African Americans what Hillary Clinton is to women — a counter-bias, a dream fulfilled, a bastion of hope.
So when the glass broke at the Democratic National Convention, and Hillary was standing there with children around her, specifically little girls, I started crying out loud. This was what I believed in. This is why this election was important, and what I am voting for. The proof that a woman can be President, and the removal of the “Yeah, yeah, but…” from our collective vocabulary when we talk about leaders.
It breaks my heart that Hillary had to accomplish this milestone opposite such an unworthy adversary. Trump’s experience, intellect, temperament, and decorum are a sad contrast to Hillary’s firm and steadfast presence. She could have — and in my opinion, should have — been held to the highest standards of competition.
Winning means beating out the best-of-the-best. Excelling above your opponent on merit, not by default. I hope when history rewrites herstory, she will be remembered for her skills and talents as a leader and a civil servant, not as the de facto anti-Trump.
Hillary has dedicated her entire adult life to service. She does not get the accolades, nor does she have the favorable review of white men from similar professional backgrounds with similar resumes. And I know why. Deep down, we all do. It is because she had to be the first. It was because she had to work within the confines of this long-standing system of bias in order to make a mark.
A system that a demagogue like Trump has no problem manipulating because he is a white male of European descent. Hillary had to be smarter, more patient, and more persistent than her peers because any misstep, misspeak, or mistake would be magnified 1000-fold in this white, male-dominated system. “See, she’s a silly woman. We all knew she couldn’t hack it.”
But here she was, hacking it!
Here she was, working it!
Here she is, winning it!
And my tears are tears of joy and disbelief that no matter what happens, the girls of the United States of America can never be told “Yeah, yeah, but…” when it comes to their leadership aspirations ever again.
Jennie Willoughby is a former-school-teacher-turned-mindfulness-warrior from Washington DC, whose passion is the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability for all students, young and old, to reach their highest potential despite adversity. After quitting her job and selling off her possessions to travel the world, Jennie began writing and speaking about the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, owning your choices and creating an intentional life. Her work facilitating an orgastic future can be found at Borne Back Ceaselessly.