I resisted that slogan at first, because I thought, isn’t she with us?
But at the deepest levels of my bones, after watching the amazingly inspirational DNC last night, I’m feeling #imwither.
Many of you might not be. Some of you don’t live in the U.S. Some of you still want Bernie. Some of you might be voting for Trump or Gary Johnson. Or not vote at all.
But I want to lay out for you the import of electing Hillary from a #quirkyalone perspective. And why I hope you will vote in this important election in November. And even get involved in local, one-on-one campaigning. That’s how campaigns are still one. One-on-one talking to get out the vote.
Quirkyalone is inherently a feminist philosophy that presupposes that women are full human beings who don’t need a man to complete us or to live a full life, even if we do want to be in close or committed relationships with men for some or all of our lives. Quirkyalone as a mass phenomenon is only possible historically since women en masse have gotten access to education and the opportunity to have economic equality.
The truth is it’s still often hard for a single woman or mother to make it on her own, or for a woman emerging from divorce to make it, in a world where women are still paid less than men (let’s change that) but we have vastly more freedom than we did before because we don’t need to be married just to survive.
Where does Hillary’s campaign for president fall in this narrative of the arc toward full choice in relationship and full female participation in life? It can’t be overstated the importance of seeing a woman take the reins as a leader in the U.S. There is nothing more delicious than this Quartz headline: “Hillary Clinton’s husband wore a fetching pantsuit to honor her nomination for president.” Last week we saw a trophy wife speak for her two-decades-older husband (sorry, but that’s absolutely what I see in Trump and Melania, with their 24-year age difference), this week we see a former president celebrating his woman’s career and looking pretty sharp to boot. We see dozens of others saluting her on the stage, saying there’s no one who has more experience or is better prepared for the presidency. Sorry Bill. Even you.
When Hillary was 15, she wanted to be an astronaut and she was told no on account of her gender. It cannot be overstated the subtle profound value of us finally seeing a woman in the driver’s seat of our country. Many other countries have or have had female presidents (Germany, Chile, Iceland, Brazil, Argentina). The US has been a powerful force for women’s equality but we also have vast amounts of sexism left in our country. The sexism gets exposed all the time with Hillary showing us how people react to a female candidacy (there are even plenty of “liberal” people calling her a “dog” and other dehumanizing terms on social media). Some of the media heralding the historic nomination of a woman president didn’t even feature a photo of Hillary, they featured Bill. That’s how uncomfortable people still are with a woman being in power.
Hillary’s presidency is a powerful show that women are equal. I don’t think we will even fully feel that until well after she is elected. How profound and sweet that is to really say and believe in a world that sort of believes it but indicates otherwise all the time.
#imwithher. Hope you’ll join us.
PPPS My younger brother Dan Cagen wrote this on Facebook today, and I thought it was spot-on, so I will add this here:
“Obama ended his speech with a ‘Yes, We Can,’ his slogan from 2008. It was a message of hope and change and that better days are ahead of us if we all work together towards our goals. I’ve been deeply troubled over the last week since watching Trump’s RNC speech—part of me wishes I hadn’t subjected myself to that—and the vision of America he sees. Trump sees an America where you will be killed and your murderer will be a non-white person. It’s hard for me to reconcile that so many people in this country are supporting someone who feels that way. Hearing Obama bring back ‘Yes, We Can,’ and seeing the response in Philadelphia, was a reminder that there are still plenty who have hope and want a better future.”