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Friday, June 5, 2020

Who needs Wonder Woman when there’s Hillary Clinton?

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I love that her superhero costume was bridal white, the eternal symbol of her gender; recalling both the fight for women’s suffrage and the institution of marriage, that for too long was the only way to lift women out of obscurity and into society.

I love that white wears ironic on her, because her marriage has both helped and hurt her. And because, when she spoke at the convention, Hillary Clinton was no man’s bride: She was a woman of history, a promise to the passionate that even if you’ve been beaten down, you can still triumph. And she dressed fittingly – fresh, luminous, new — for her wedding to our country.

I love that she began her speech as a mother, with gratitude and acknowledgment, starting with the most important person in her life — her child. I love that she’s the kind of leader who honors others for their role in her success. And that she’s the kind of person who can say of her onetime rival, President Barack Obama, “I’m better because of his friendship.” And I love that she chose to validate her latest rival, Bernie Sanders, with powerful words of promise: “You put economic and social justice issues front and center where they belong,” she said, telling his supporters, “I’ve heard you: Your cause is our cause.”

I love that despite what anyone says, she is still — by law — a wife. And she understands her complicated relationship to her complicated husband as a “conversation.” One that started in a law library 45 years ago and which, she said, has lasted “through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.” It doesn’t get more honest or transparent than that.

I love that when the crowd cheered for her, she held her hand to her heart and that her smile was as wide as the cheers were wild.

I love that as a candidate she offers substance, experience and intelligence in abundance; that her policy positions are so studied and meticulous, I am confident that she can handle any worldly challenge and any world leader. Hillary doesn’t just say what she’ll do; she tells you how she’ll do it.

I love that when the House Select Committee grilled her during an 11-hour marathon hearing on Benghazi last October, she turned a pressure cooker into a political parley, and was so well prepared, answering question after question with wit and wisdom, she changed the hearing intended to destroy her into a prime-time presidential platform.

I love that her scandals have become meaningless to me. I don’t care that she had a private email server or that the Clinton Foundation has received donations from Gulf States, or that she earned money from Wall Street speeches. I don’t believe her commitment to public service and working class families is tempered in any way by self-interest and ambition. People are more than one thing, and I trust her moral commitment to the underserved, overlooked and ill-treated. I love how absurd it is that no matter how much measurable good she does — whether getting healthcare to children, recourse to sexual assault survivors, or support for 9/11 responders — conspiracy theories regarding her motives abound unabated by facts.

I love how she’s accused of flip-flopping positions out of political expediency when really it demonstrates her ability to change and grow and compromise. I love that her mistakes stem from her commitment to a 40-year career that has only increased in responsibility, prestige and influence. And that the people who criticize her for every little thing fail to see that her life of public service has demanded more of her as a person and citizen than most of us would ever want or allow.   

I love that she went undercover in a segregated school to study the role of race in education – 30 years ago. And that she advocated for universal healthcare a decade before Obama was even elected to the Senate.

I love that she is fiercely smart, ultra savvy, and hyper-qualified to run for president of the United States.

I love that loving her puts me into a club with Meryl Streep and Lena Dunham.

I love that when I tried to take notes during her speech, I couldn’t stop crying. Because I know what this means to my 93-year-old grandmother, who carved her own set of cracks in that stubborn ceiling. And I know what it would have meant to my mother, who worked hard and sacrificed, but knew too well the disadvantages dealt to women, to finally see her role model and idol accept the nomination for president. I cried because I know that this nomination means – for every woman in America and around the world who has been told, “No,” who has been paid less, who has been passed over, ignored, belittled, ridiculed, humiliated, raped, shoved aside, manipulated, exploited, cheated on, disbelieved and discounted – that a woman can rise to the world’s most powerful position. That the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards equal opportunity for all.

I love that a woman has what it takes to lead our country. I love that our next president might be blonde, wear mascara and drape jewels around her neck.

I love the hope, possibility and wonder Hillary’s story inspires: “When there is no ceiling, the sky is the limit.”


Danielle Berrin is a senior writer and columnist at the Jewish Journal.

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