Tuesday, November 4, 2008

They May Have Lost The Battle, But All Of Us Won The War

One more post, and then I'll stop talking about politics for a good while, I swear.

(Has anyone wondered what we, collectively, as a world- and I say world because the Brits here were as obsessed with the election as any American- are going to talk about now?)

There has been a lot of justifiable pride that the United States has elected it's first African-American president. And I have to tell you, that the pure symbolism of this is overwhelming. As I watched Jesse Jackson cry on CNN, I couldn't help but tear up myself. Who would have believed in 1968, that a mere forty years later an African-American would hold the highest office in this land.

But the feminist in me couldn't help wanting to give some equal time to the other "historic-ness" of this race, that is, that the Democrats came close to nominating a woman as their nominee, and that the Republicans *did* nominate a woman as their Vice Presidential nominee.

Now, let's put aside our personal feelings towards Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. (Full disclosure, I adore Clinton and voted for her in the primary, and I'm not personally a huge fan of Governor Palin.) But love them or hate them, I do believe that what the two of them accomplished was nothing short of astonishing.

Never again will it be questioned whether a woman can have a viable shot at the White House. We know a woman can. Both women were able to elicit votes and support from Americans who wouldn't consider themselves feminists, but who, nonetheless found something attractive in these women.

I know Sarah Palin isn't the most popular person around liberals. I'm not going to comment on her qualifications or her positions on this blog, but I will say this: I think that in a symbolic way, the Republican Party's nomination of Sarah Palin was a huge leg-up for women. Because it was a sign that now, women transcend politics. A woman can be a viable candidate from the right and left side of the aisle.

I predict, that from now on, we will REGULARLY see women running for president, from both parties. Maybe in eight years we will see a President Kathleen Sebelius, or a President Kay Bailey Hutchison. We may not have completely smashed that highest glass ceiling, but we've come far, America. So thank you Senator Clinton and Governor Palin. Thank you for fighting the fight. You may have lost your personal quests, but because of you, we all have won.

And thank you America. For proving to us, this election cycle, that it does not matter if you are black or white. It doesn't matter if you are male or female. The promise of America is still within your reach. This was a long, and often bitter race, but I think, in the end, we came a long, long way.


Joyce said...

Yes! These are justice issues, and a lot of discussion occured, a lot of progress was made. That scene in Grant Park last night (and around the Alma Mater on the Illinois campus!) was exciting, not just because of the diversity of the crowd, but becasue of the peacefulness of it. That's the way Team America acts.

Stephanie said...

I know I've wondered what I'm going to watch on television next.

Yes. Yes, yes yes. We all won the war. But that doesn't mean to stop fighting, and I have been thinking about that today. We may have had our big celebration and feel like a load is off our backs, but we have to keep fighting for social justice. Here's hoping people don't forget that. And I can't wait to see women regularly running for President. Women, men, black men, white men, Jewish, Asian, Hispanic. Let's work for the American Dream.

ruchi said...

Joyce, I really wish I could have been in Grant Park just to witness the event! It did seem so exciting.

Stephanie, you are right that we can't get complacent. We must keep fighting for social justice. But for the first time in a long time, I can see the light. It's coming. We just have to keep on pushing. :)

Eliane said...

I'm one of those Brits obsessed with the election that you mentioned. It was very moving to see all those people queuing to vote. And very moving to hear Obama's speech in Grant Park. Well done America and thank you!

Anonymous said...

I still remember visiting the website We are Sorry World(something like that) after the 2004 election.

We have come a long long way. Last night, I wept and wept though I thought my emotional state was absolutely ridiculous.

Time to get a lot of work done.

Anonymous said...

I know what *we're* talking about - how to take this community feeling, and President-Elect Obama's call for service and sacrifice, and the organizations left over from the campaign, and get some green job/green development action going.

We had to wait til everyone stopped crying over the acceptance speech, though.

Farmer's Daughter said...

What a wonderful post.

Green Bean said...

What a wonderful election! So many changes made. So many more to come. "Anything is possible."

Anonymous said...

I agree that we all won. Thank goodness. And I'm very proud of the campaign run by Hillary Clinton. I do not, however, feel comfortable including Sarah Palin's selection as a VP running mate as one of our victories. She, happily, wasn't the first. That honor goes to Geraldine Ferraro.

Natalie said...

Way, waaaay, back when I was in High School, my mom said that she knew "in heart that America would elect a Black Man as president before they would elect a White Woman."

I'm proud of her for being so astute as to call that out 20+ years ago.

I'm a little sad that she was right.

I'm glad Hillary (re-)set the bar so high.

I'm happy that we've finally elected a Black Man.

I'm elated that we chose the right person for the job.

I'm hopeful that we will be so lucky in the furture to always have "the most qualified persons" running for office - regardless of their gender, color, sexual preference, religion/religious views, or social class. It's a big dream, I know!

Anonymous said...

My joy at Obama being elected was overshadowed somewhat at the probable passing of Prop 8 in California. It is a significant set back to human rights for gay and lesbian persons, and calls in to question recent marriages of some of my friends.

ruchi said...

Dorothy, my Wednesday was bittersweet as well. As thrilled as I was about Obama, I was also very sad that Prop 8 passed. We have much work left to do.