Last night, I saw a woman accept the nomination to become the candidate for president for a major party for the first time in history. My heart swelled and I was teary eyed. I’ve always been a feminist, even before I knew what a feminist was. Women’s issues are extremely important to me. I was so uplifted to see this happening, finally happening!
At the beginning of the week I was nervous. Someone I knew from high school is a Bernie delegate and had flooded her facebook feed with how she was going to disrupt the nomination. I backed Obama in 2008, but I was baffled at how upset some of my friends who were black felt when Clinton stayed so late in the race. I understood when Sanders pulled the same stunt. Worse, unlike Clinton, Sanders viciously attacked the Democratic Party as being the party of corporate interests and corruption. I don’t have the luxury of living in a blue state and being “ideologically pure”. I live in a red state, where the Democratic party is the only party fighting for me. I’ve watched people suffer because our governor has not approved the Affordable Care Act expansions. I’ve watched women suffer because the local Planned Parenthood closed and they have no place to get birth control (because, without the medicaid expansions, that also means they aren’t on medicaid and can’t get medical care without paying an arm and a leg). The GOP doesn’t care about the environmental regulations. In Texas, we love our guns, and are going to fight gun control at every step (meanwhile, while doing nothing to expand mental health services, I work in mental health, trust me, it’s not that accessible here). Our schools are so bad that I had to pull my son with autism out, and right now our governor is wanting to prevent people who are transgendered from using the bathroom that conforms to their gender identity. I vote, boy do I vote. I was proud to have Wendy Davis represent me. Now I have a teaparty idiot as my representative.
All my life, the Democrats have been the only ones fighting for me. And it has been a hard, long fight with setback after setback. They keep saying Texas is going to turn blue, and I still keep saying I’ll believe it when I see it.
Further, the more I read about Clinton, the more excited I am about her. She started her career advocating for children with disabilities. She was advocating for children like me! Children like my husband! Children like my son! At the convention, she had people like us on the stage, giving speeches, giving us a voice to address our concerns and why we support her with the nation! I often feel like people with disabilities are this demographic that never gets any attention. For one thing it is a broad umbrella. The challenges I face with an auditory processing disorder and multiple learning differences but otherwise able bodied are different from someone who is typically functioning but uses a wheelchair, and then there are people like my husband, who have both. But it was nice to be acknowledged, to be heard, to be given the message that we have something to contribute to society.
And naturally, as a feminist, Clinton is the only candidate I trust to protect my reproductive rights and to make sure my daughter enjoys those same freedoms.
It is exciting to see issues that usually are not addressed on the national scale get attention. Children with different abilities having access to quality education. Quality pre-school. Paid family and medical leave. Abortion. These issues are vital to our nation, but they are also predominantly taken care of by women. And it looks like it takes a women getting this far to stand up and say that we need to pay attention to this, we need to address this! This is just as important as national security and raising the minimum wage! I am thrilled beyond imagining that Clinton is taking these issues on. In short, yes, I am excited about her candidacy, and I have valid reasons for it.
As we saw during the convention, Clinton has a long record of achievements. We heard from people who she helped. We heard from 911 victims, parents of foster kids, mothers who lost children due to gun violence, people with different abilities. I passionately believe Clinton can get things done.
So I was mad at the Bernie or Busters. Thing is, the DNC handled them beautifully. While I was extremely frustrated watching how rude and disrespectful they were on Monday night, logically I understand the importance of letting them get it out of their system (even if it was grating the think about just how far backwards the first female candidate has to bend to be accommodating to the losing candidate). And considering how terrifying Trump is as a candidate, I thought they were extremely short sighted and petty. And further, considering the GOP has destroyed themselves by catering to the far right wing of their party, I think it is dangerous that they are uncompromising with the Democrats and insisting on the same. I am progressive, I don’t see any conflict in being progressive and supporting Clinton, and considering I do live in such a red state I am very aware that a lot of people don’t agree with me and that compromise has to happen and I am not going to get everything I want.
I watched as my friend posted “outrageous” injustices. Such as having police outside of the DNC while they were protesting Tuesday night. She called it a police state. I scratched my head and wondered when police states allowed people to peacefully protest. In short, the DNC made it hard for the Bernie or Busters to confirm their beliefs that this was just as bad as a Trump candidacy. Trump doesn’t tolerate much protest, and the “injustices” she listed just got more and more piddling, petty and ridiculous that only the most diehard Bernie fan would get angry.
By the fourth night my spirits swelled as the chants from the Bernie or Busters were drowned out by Hillary supporters, a solid demonstration that yes, there are more Hillary supporters than Bernie ones. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why we tend to be so quiet about it, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that people passionate about Hillary don’t want to deal with the vitriol. This was also when I realized that I need to become vocal about being passionate for her.
When Hillary finally came on stage and accepted the nomination I was in tears. Happy tears. Seeing a woman on her way to finally breaking the highest, toughest glass ceiling was inspiring. I started the week fearful of the damage the Bernie or Bust people could do, but by the end of it, I was filled with hope. Hillary’s got this. She knows how to run a campaign. She will be an amazing president. I can’t wait to cast my ballot for her in October.