Our nation was founded by forefathers.
There were no foremothers.
There was no feminine fortitude present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence or at the drafting of the Constitution.
Or, perhaps, there was, but we are certainly not taught about it in mainstream history courses. I cannot recall a female politician ever being truly revered in any American History class throughout my time in the American education system.
Women have done amazing things in the political spectrum, successfully holding countless important bureaucratic positions, and supporting the men that have made significant contributions to American history. The masculine strength, and the female strength that has supported it, has shaped this nation into something to celebrate, something to admire, something to nod our heads proudly towards.
Enter Hillary Rodham-Clinton, whose presence on the debate stage was progress for everyone.
Watching this woman stand proudly and boldly, I felt as though Hillary was a reverberation of a collective female voice that has been silenced for so long. It was not so much what she said, although many of her sentiments were significant, it was the fact that she stood boldly and said something.
However, the multitude of issues Hillary Clinton has spoken out about throughout her life are usually overshadowed by her infamous e-mail scandal. Many people discount Hillary’s biography in its entirety, choosing to overlook that she has spent most of her time on this earth as a public servant.
Hillary Clinton was one of 27 women to graduate from her class at Yale Law School in 1973. After graduating, she went to work under children’s rights activist, Marian Wright Edelman, for the Children’s Defense Fund. When working for the Children’s Defense Fund, Hillary campaigned and fought for schooling for at-risk children and children with disabilities.
In 1977, she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, one of Arkansas’ first ever child advocacy groups. Her dedication to improving the lives and education of American children is admirable.
Clinton deserves more credit than she receives. She is a woman who has spent her life fighting, learning, advocating and setting an example.
She is not perfect.
She has undoubtedly made mistakes—as any man in a political position has.
She also is not a divine being who I believe we all ought to worship simply because she is a female who has succeeded.
However, I think we can all sit back and look at Clinton and learn something. We can grasp what it means to take steps forward, even in the midst of failure. We can also understand what it means to persevere with dignity, even after making what some would call a grave mistake—as she continued her presidential campaign even as countless Americans hated her.
As we look at Hillary’s life, we can attempt to comprehend what it means to be a woman at the forefront of what is typically a men’s game. We can identify with the feelings that Clinton likely had to face like doubt because of her womanhood. Maybe she felt like if she were a man, it would have all been different.
The reason many Americans hate Hillary Clinton is because we forget—as we so often do with politicians and people—that she is human. We forget that the woman on the debate stage is not simply a mechanized advocate for Democratic legislation, but an individual with a soul who has fought for what she has believed in most.
Hillary Clinton made progress because she was a woman of courage, and regardless of how we each personally identify with her political beliefs, we must admire the tenacious spirit of a woman who dared.
– Bridgett Reneau is a psychology junior