I have a friend who is working on the Clinton campaign. She's actually working, not just volunteering, as it's part of her regular job (she works for a small, Emily's List type place). We have had a few diplomatic conversations about the campaign and I respect the reasons she's supporting Clinton (basically it seems to boil down to the "Day One" experience argument, plus feminism). One thing we talked about this morning, in the middle of her Election Day madness (she is on the ground in Pittsburgh this week), was how, win or lose, what we'd like to take from this election is this idea that we are the next powerful women in this country. As she put it: "what I realized last night was that if Hillary doesn't get this I think that as a young woman and a feminist this is our wakeup call, this is our launching ground. It will be up to our generation to produce the next Hillary."
I'm not supporting Clinton, but that is not to say I don't incredibly sympathize with her. I do agree that she is in a tough spot, and a lot of the reasons she is disliked and forced into corners and coming out to "twist the knife" as Obama put it is because things are not easy for her as a powerful woman in a male-dominated field, or even a male-dominated world. She is damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't. And I don't like the way that makes her behave (and I also don't think that her personality is entirely a product of the way our society treats women, but it's a significant part of it), and I want Obama to win because I want fresh blood and I believe in his movement and I think it's amazing that someone has gotten the whole country excited, and for a lot of reasons. But I do want a woman president someday, sooner rather than later, and I think that my friend is right about this being a wake-up call. We have to be able to find another way to be a woman in this country, to embrace our femininity and our strength, to be powerful without being or being called bitchy or shrewish, to show weakness from time to time without losing our footing and the respect of others. I hope we can do that, and I believe we can. (Yes, we can!)
On that note, I've got my fingers crossed for Obama in Pennsylvania today. Polls are all over the place and there's no way to predict, I'm just hoping for something good.