…rather, it’s more a statement of our slowness in the realm of social and culture life and justice in comparison to the rest of the world. We may have been pioneering and cutting edge in the realm of human liberty and self-governance in 1776, but we’ve been surpassed since. If you want to find things we’re #1 at, look to the economic and innovation realms.
It’s true that Hillary Clinton will be the first nominee of a major party for President of the United States. Yes, this is historic. However, it’s not nearly as historic as some liberals would lead you to believe.
The real progress is that now by popular acclamation, women can be democratically elected as the preferred choice of a majority of voters as the Presidential nominee for a major political party in this country. But it should have happened years ago.
Not only were women qualified to be President before Hillary Clinton, but they proved they were.
The first female President was Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, who essentially ran the executive branch of Government after her husband Woodrow Wilson’s stroke, and served in that capacity for the remainder of his second term in office. The fact that the overall business as usual in the affairs of the country continued proved that women can be President 100 years ago, even before the 19th Amendment was passed and then ratified by the states.
Before Edith, I would imagine Abigail Adams, who argued so eloquently in the late 1700’s during the revolution and constitutional convention for a country where “all men and women” are created equal, would have been a fine President or public leader as well. This November Hillary Clinton will become the first woman elected to the office of President. But there are elected female Heads of State or Government in Germany, Liberia, Argentina, Bangledesh, Lithuania, Brazil, Kosovo, Denmark, Jamaica, South Korea, Slovenia, Norway, Latvia, Chile, Malta, Poland, Croatia, etc. We should pause for a moment to remember all of the talent we squandered before we pat ourselves on the back too much.
For instance, considering the landslide victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 over Adlai Stevenson, and the exact same landslide result happening again in their 1956 rematch, wouldn’t it have made sense for the Democratic Party to nominate Eleanor Roosevelt in 1956, who was a big Stevenson supporter herself for their close alignment on the issues already, and who was beloved by many Americans, especially those left behind through racial and gender injustice. It’s likely that no one was going to be “I Like Ike”, Eleanor would have likely lost by a large margin too, but we’ll never know. Eleanor was arguably a bigger supporter of New Deal policies than her late husband, who is today considered one of the best Presidents in U.S. History.
This is not meant to diminish what Hillary has accomplished, but rather it is written to all those who consider this progress, when it’s actually a needed reminder that we’re kind of slow as a nation to arrive at progress compared to the rest of the world.
As Winston Churchill once said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Sometimes it takes a foreign perspective (looking at you John Oliver) to describe your own country.
In the campaign ahead, we should talk about the issues rather than focus on the personalities. Donald Trump wants this to be about his personality and wants to talk about Hillary’s personality and we should not let him.
Hillary is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, and she is well positioned to argue for equal pay for equal work policies.
Her lifetime advocacy and work for children in an era when nearly one in four children in the U.S. are in poverty will bring to the forefront something we talk about a lot (kind of…), but rarely act on effectively.
Hillary has the coolness under pressure needed to hold this office, in steep contrast to Donald Trump, who is temperamentally unsuited for this office.
Most of all, the argument should be that this incredibly qualified and competent person, who has spent her life in public service in a variety of roles, both elected and otherwise, is the ideal candidate to contrast with Donald Trump, a man who has not spent even one day of his life in public service, elected or otherwise.