Presidential Politics for Elders
A Meditation on Making New Friends While Old

Weeping with Joy at Clinton's Nomination

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I sure did surprise myself when that happened yesterday evening. I had written something else for today but then I turned on television, the Democratic convention, and burst into tears – tears of joy - when Secretary Hillary Clinton's nomination became official.

It's not that I didn't know it was going to happen. I didn't forget. In fact, I wrote a post very similar to this one back in June when Clinton topped out the delegate count during the primaries and we knew then she would be the nominee.

But it is a different thing to hear the roll call and the official declaration that she represents the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. This makes it history and we should celebrate again.

There has been so much tsurus during our endless presidential campaign that it has been easy to overlook this amazing event: that one party has nominated a woman – a woman! - for president. In my lifetime.

Now, at last, we have a woman candidate. That's not the only or most important thing about Ms. Clinton. But it is an important milestone.

You and I, people our age, were there at the beginning of the second wave of feminism set off in the 1960s by Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and others and by god, things changed. We're not all the way there but what a different, better world women live in today than when I came of age in the late 1950s.

Back then, at the beginning, we met in consciousness raising groups and marched and signed petitions, attended conferences and organized in all kinds of ways. We made this possible, you and me and millions of others who wanted women to have the same rights, privileges and opportunities as men.

Maybe we're not all the way there yet but “we've come a long way, baby” - oh so far - and the nomination of Hillary Clinton is the culmination of what we yearned and worked for.

It is we, the old men and women of the United States, who know, who remember what it was like before. We are the last generation that does - or needs to.

A lot of young women have said that they will not vote for a candidate based on gender. That would be sexist, they say, and they are not wrong.

They are not wrong because ultimately, if great cultural and political movements succeed, the results become ordinary, customary, no longer an issue. And for young women today, that is now the case and that is our generation's achievement.

Comments

I was also wiping tears of joy. And when she broke the glass ceiling at the beginning of her short satellite appearance, I let out a squeal.

I've heard someone on NPR say that women under 40 couldn't understand why a female President was a big deal. I suppose if one hadn't live without women's lib, they can't understand. I bet their mothers could explain it to them.

"A lot of young women have said that they will not vote for a candidate based on gender. That would be sexist, they say, and they are not wrong.

They are not wrong because ultimately, if great cultural and political movements succeed, the results become ordinary, customary, no longer an issue. And for young women today, that is now the case and that is our generation's achievement."

What a wonderful quotable statement you made---- THANK YOU!!
We worked hard to get here.

Didn't think I'd live to see it. :):) Dee

Hillary is not my candidate of choice. However, I too was moved to tears last night. I hadn't even decided to watch! I tuned in to hear much of Pres. Clinton's speech, and I have to say he was doing a fine job. I can't explain it, but this is very like my feeling in 2008, when Barack Obama was nominated. It just feels exhilirating. I loved the video too. It made me laugh with delight.

However a lot can happen between now and November. Please--no more shocks! Secure your email people!

"what a different, better world women live in today than when I came of age in the late 1950s." W O R D.

I think the reason she is hated on the other side is BECAUSE she is a woman as there is nothing else of any significance to bring forward.

Right on, sister !

Seems to me we need to speak of this monumental success as "HERSTORY" as
it has nothing to do with "history".....

You are so right. It is only people our age who truly know how significant this is. It's in a way like remembering your grandmother - you can only tell your daughters what she was like, knowing they'll never really understand. For them, it's intellectual. For us, it's emotional.

I too wept. I call it "Cry for Happy", a phrase I remember from an old movie. I have tears in my eyes right now from your blog reminding me how emotional this event has made me!

I'm from the same era you are, Ronni, and I share your sentiments exactly. I'm so pleased that my daughter did not grow up having to settle for the humiliation of lower wages, sexual comments in the work place, and all the other degrading things we had to fight and suffer from!

But the fight's not over !!! We have to keep marching and carrying a great big sign until we are rid of trash like the P.T. Barnum wanna-be called Trump and others like him. The old, white, entrenched males are not going to without a fight and poor Hillary has volunteered to lead that fight. She will have scars ... sighhh

The contrasts between this week's and last week's conventions could hardly be sharper, but which America do we live in? Probably neither of the two that have been described, but an amalgam of both.

I am very happy to know that this ceiling has been broken and one more barrier to women has been removed, and hope that this means continued progress for everyone.

Intellectually I appreciate the significance of Hillary's nomination, but emotionally it does nothing for me. I, too, grew up in the '50s with Friedan and Steinem, but I was raised believing I could do anything I wanted, and I did (until ageism stopped me). I felt no need to burn my bra and I liked gentlemen opening doors for me. I confess that at that moment when Hillary broke through that digital glass ceiling last night, I cringed. How is that glass ceiling thing supposed to appeal to male voters? Will it alientate a lot of them even as it attracts a lot of women? I'd like to see a campaign based on what she intends to do as president rather than on her gender.

I too am pleased a woman cracked the ceiling. Interesting to note tho, millennials "felt the Burn" message more than hers. "They" are the future voices....will be interesting as time passes in the political realm.

I so hope this comes true.

I wept too, especially as Bill stacked up story after story about Hillary's accomplishments on behalf of children and women. She is so NOT running because she is a woman, but because of a lifetime of passion to help families and the downtrodden.

And just a reminder: no bras were burned in the making of the feminist movement. They weren't able to get a burning permit, so they tossed them in a trash can.

I, also not a big Hillary fan, shed a tear or two every time I think of her historic win. I only wish my Aunt Adele were still alive to see this- after Obama's win last election, she said she wished a woman would win. Unfortunately, she died last year just a couple of months before her 100th birthday. She would have been ecstatic.

Yes tears! I am so happy and overwhelmed. I agree with Victoria about that wonderful statement you made -that the results become "customary, ordinary, no longer an issue." Children in third grade and younger have only known a Black president. For them it is usual. How fine is that? Now we can have the same for women.

Regarding the DNC, The New York Times has a great editorial saying, "This is what democracy looks like" with "a tolerance of dissenting views, a willingness to compromise, the eternal search for common ground."

To piedtype and others who think of this as a women's issue or special interest (burn the bra!), I would ask you to look at wider implications. Like Secretary Clinton's non-stop efforts to close the wage gap. I again refer to The NYT and an Op-Ed piece "Hillary Clinton's Radical Promise" calling the gap "a disease infecting all corners of our economy." I highly recommend it.

This will be a tough fight. For every person who can't vote for Trump but won't vote for Secretary Clinton, that is one less vote that he needs. It ensures a small turnout. We must do all we can to get out every vote!

Thank you Ronni!

PS: It has EVERYTHING to do with history.

Very, very happy this morning too. Excellent remarks in your post. I think Bill's speech elaborated on just exactly how hard she has worked, how dedicated Hillary has been over the years of her life. She never quits, she finds a way to get things done and is a powerful advocate for the poor, women and children. Perhaps that is why the other party has tried to go after her for years. It was wonderful to hear her many accomplishments, and finally see the recognition she so well deserves.

I too am thrilled by Hillary's nomination. I have supported her all along, not because she is a woman, but because I believe she is super qualified to be president. Bill Clinton, that ol' fox, did her proud last night, and I can't help thinking about those Republican men who so hate her. It remains to be seen which is more powerful, a deep seated national misogyny or racism. She is everything the old order fears, bless her. And I fear for her.

We watched the DNC last night.

WORD, WORD, HELLA WORD!!!

Also what Miki Davis said.

Years ago, a neighbour *who had been fired from his sales job*overheard me say I was returning to university as a mature student so I could achieve my dream of becoming a teacher.

He shot me a pitying look..

"You're too old to get a teaching job."

Three years later:

"Kiss my teaching award, pinhead."

Hillary has not only punched through the glass ceiling, she's paved the way for anyone to actualize a dream.

Right on, sister!

Here's one old white man who cheered. What wonderful progress our country has made in my lifetime. There's still a ways to go in making America greater, but a giant step was taken last night.

Hillary has made a few bad calls and sometimes her judgment has been questionable, but there is NO DOUBT that she is far and away the most qualified candidate--oh, and by the way, she's a woman! I never thought I'd live to see a woman nominated for President either, and it IS thrilling. Few candidates in the history of the nation have been as well qualified for the Presidency as she is. Still, she is not "entitled" to the office as some feel she has always assumed she is. I worry that there are a lot of voters out there who remain unconvinced.

I SO hope that those who supported Bernie Sanders from an ideological standpoint (as I did) will get on board with Hillary. We simply cannot--CANNOT!--elect her opponent. He is a narcissistic bigot--an adult locker room bully--whose "qualifications" are nonexistent. He would treat the Presidency like a TV reality show, except that he can't just say "you're fired" when the leaders of other nations don't see things his way!

Made me weep happily as well. When I got married eons ago, I couldn't have credit in my name, my husband could sell our cars, house, whatever, without so much as a by your leave for me, and he did too in spite of my requests. Many things have changed for the better and still need to change. I'm excited and at 74 and I am trying to teach my 7 grand-girls and two grand-sons that there are many things, reproductive independence for instance & affordable daycare for families headed by men, women or both, that need to continue to change. The thought that this country could elect the T-word leaves me astonished and sad. What a nasty piece of work he is.

We shall over come -- barbara

My head is delighted with Hillary's achievement and what it means for women, and men (less pressure to be all?), and children. She earned and deserves it. It will be a bumpy ride for her, and in 2020, we'll probably be hearing about Bengazi all over again. However, we might also be seeing a very altered field of political parties at that point.

But Bernie captured my spirit and heart's desires, so it was when his brother spoke that I soaked my face with tears. What a generous, lovely gesture and the feeling between them was palpable.

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
'Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(strong)
I am invincible
(invincible)
I am woman
You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul
Oh, yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything....

Helen Reddy

Fantastic, Classof65. Thanks for posting that lyric.

Though my heart is heavy at Bernie not getting the nomination, my head can be held high with pride that the party to which I have been a member all my life, once again had the courage to select a candidate whose values reflect what America is all about.
We have always been a nation of inclusion and acceptance and, with the nomination (and election) of Hillary as President, we can once again get back to the business of what has always made America great.

I agree with many comments above mine. And, also the very obvious fact that she is the most qualified candidate. She is not perfect, she has made mistakes, but she is qualified. I was not a Bernie supporter, but I did tear up when his brother spoke and when he gave Hillary the nomination. He created a movement that I hope will only continue to grow if the younger ones stick with it and not give up easily as they take the reigns.

On the other hand there is a sadness in me. The forces that support Mr. Trump stun and astonish me. When I think about what appears to be a mean-spirited, small-minded, empty-hearted group of citizens, I could just cry. Really. Cry. I am not naive. I know there is a dark side to humanity but seeing it played out in incredulous ways this election cycle is heart-breaking. The comments I see on my Facebook page baffle and shock me. People I've known all my life - family and friends - have shown me "true colors" that leave me speechless. Intelligence, facts, steady-handedness, even tempered do not seem to matter.

And one final thought - given that there are those who have been gunning for her for YEARS...I often wonder if she were a man...if their mission would be so passionate and long-lasting.

I am in my 70s and living overseas for many years. I grew up in India. We had a woman Prime Minister (daughter of an earlier PM, dynasty politics). So I confess I tend to be for merit-based rather than gender-based selection. Reading of comments above from women relating how they were discriminated against as women, makes me realise that BECAUSE of their work, I can feel that selection should be merit-based.

I have nothing but contempt for Mr T's GOP supporters - the spineless men who have nominated him. To GOP: no point in running like scared rabbits now when he makes inflammatory and stupid statements - save your running when he's elected President.

Disgusted-with-GOP

And I'm another weeper-for-joy! Throughout last nights coverages different speakers and images would have me burst into tears all over again.

What was most powerful for me was seeing Obama and Clinton embrace and walk the stage. Our first black president passing the baton to our first woman presidential candidate. Talk about a moment in history! I know I'm late to this conversation but had to comment anyway! 😍

Yes, Susan, I saved all of last night for my 1-year-old granddaughter. In 15 years or so, she'll probably not look it up on her own, but she will capture this magnificent moment in time thru the saved videos of her first year of existence.

I do understand the tears of joy. But as a non-American, I also feel a bit bemused by the depth of the ecstatic response. Women leaders aren't a new thing after all; democratic societies have been electing women leaders for many years now. And whether or not we happened to agree with their politics, there's no doubt they've been strong, capable, intelligent, influential, even formidable. Angela Merkel anyone?

Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Julia Gillard, Theresa May...just a few of the better known female leaders of our lifetime. It's a long list! It seems a wee bit insulting to these other towering examples of female leadership to act as though Hillary Clinton is the first woman to ever break through the glass ceiling leading to the top job. I DO totally admire her intelligence and commitment and courage and incredible determination. And yeah okay, it IS the United States of America, I get that. But still, she's not the first and many other western democracies have broken through that particular glass ceiling a long time ago.

I think the more crucial issue for women in politics (and women in many other fields as well), beyond breaking through glass ceilings, is the relentless sexism that often dogs them even after they have achieved the pinnacle of power (see Julia Gillard). But that's a subject for another day.

Probably if this election wasn't such a nail-biter, it would seem more exciting that the USA has a woman in contention for the White House. But this time around, with the stakes so frighteningly high, whether the candidate is male or female seems like the least of our worries. Again, as a non-American who can only watch from the sidelines while chewing my fingernails off, I'm just hoping for a "good" outcome, not only for Americans, but for the rest of the world as well. As our former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said, living next to the United States is "like sleeping with an elephant". Nerve-wracking as hell...even when we love the elephant :-)

It is two days after this was posted, and I have just finished listening to every word—you heard it, every word— of Hillary's speech at the convention. Great speech by a great woman. But listening to the pundits around the table afterwards, it's disappointing. They are still criticizing her!

I was teary and laughing with joy. I encouraged my grand children to watch, especially my granddaughters so they can someday say "i remember when..."

I was also laughing because Hillary is criticized for wearing pants suits. Give us a break! I can remember when I was not allowed to wear slacks to high school and couldn't wear pants working as a nursing student! AND those skirts had to be below the knee! Yeah for pants and a for woman who makes them her working uniform!

yes to weep, yes to joy

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