photo from the Hillary Clinton Facebook Page
November 9th, 2016. I went to bed last night when hope was dwindling, and woke up to find that hope was lost. America embraced its crazy and elected Donald Trump as its President. This is not a drill. This is not a reality show. This is actual reality.
Like many educated, open minded and apparently naïve people (except Michael Moore), I never thought this day would come. I mean sure, the Bush Jr. thing happened (twice), but he at least had some experience in politics. I lived through the Rob Ford years here in Toronto so I knew it was possible for people to willingly elect a racist, misogynistic, and ignorant bully to a public office. But this is the highest office in the land, some may say in the world. So the shock is still very real. As is the disbelief and sadness. But the most real feeling I have today is empathy. Empathy for Hillary Clinton, because girl, I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
Disclaimer: My understanding of American politics is limited; I’m curious, I read, I learn, but I’ll be leaving the deep analysis and statistics making and explaining to the experts. What I do understand is what it’s like to be a woman, working in a man’s world. I can hear the groans echoing across the internet now, but today, more than any day, I couldn’t care less about what men, and those who blindly support them, think. Because they don’t know what she’s feeling, and I, and we, do.
I’ve worked in multiple male dominated industries. If I wasn’t one of the few women in the room, I was the only woman in the room. I’ve sat and watched men banter on about sports or some other random subject, eating up time in meetings, and never actually getting anything done. I’ve sat, politely and quietly, waiting for my turn to speak, only to be spoken over.
I’ve watched men stare at women, and felt them stare at me, eyes lingering here and there, in the workplace where we, as women, as humans, are supposed to feel safe and respected. Women who’ve worked hard and earned their seat at that table, in that office, in that company, reduced to nothing but the superficial.
I also know what it’s like to feel passed over, for jobs, for projects, even just for support by men, for men, and by women who would rather support men, or who are so concerned over what men think of them, that they take the safe, usually male option.
I also know what it’s like to be a woman viewed with scorn and derision by other women. I know what it’s like to be viewed as competition, as an enemy, and as an obstacle. I’ve seen and felt what that can drive some women to do.
I, like so many other women out there, understand to some degree what Hillary Clinton must be feeling right now.
For most of her life and career, Hillary was the only woman in the room. In her law career, and now in her political career, she fought her way through the ranks of men and earned her place among them and above them. But no matter how hard she fought, or how high she rose, just like the rest of us, she had to stand by, politely, quietly, and calmly as a man bantered and brayed, speaking more of the sake of hearing his own voice than to say anything of actual value. Unlike the rest of us however, she had to stand politely by with a media magnifying glass aimed directly at her while the bullshit raged around her.
When she was First Lady, she stood by the husband that betrayed her so publicly, because she had to. And the world held it against her, judged her, belittled her.
Meanwhile a man who brags about his own infidelities is forgiven.
When she was Secretary of State, making difficult, sometimes impossible decisions (that aren’t up for debate here), no matter what she did, it was held against her.
Meanwhile a man whose past questionable decisions could be compiled into encyclopedic volumes, is celebrated.
She worked her entire life towards this goal, to be President, only to see that goal snatched away when it was so close.
Meanwhile a man, who by all accounts ran for that same office as a joke, is the man America elects as its President.
I think about what Hillary must be feeling right now, and I feel my stomach sink.
I think about what it must have felt like, to stand by, silent and with a straight face, while her buffoon of an opponent made a mockery of the presidential race, of her life’s work.
I think about what it must have been like to watch the numbers climb in the wrong direction, heart sinking at every moment.
I think about what it must be like to know that the men of the country she served her whole life hated the idea of a woman running so much. To know that they distrusted that illustrious position to a woman to such a degree that he, any he, seemed like the better option.
I think about what it must have been like to see the statistics that proved how her fellow women betrayed her, how they leaned so far into that hate of other women, a hate that was all too apparent throughout this entire race, that voting for an actual rapist seemed like the better choice. My heart breaks for her, because I know that feeling.
I think about what it must feel like to know she won the popular vote, but the system worked against her.
There was always no winning for Hillary, and that’s what it came down to on November 9th, 2016.
I can imagine, and feel a fraction of what Hillary must be feeling this morning, how she must have felt all night last night, all hope that the world is different completely extinguished. The world wasn’t ready for yet another woman to try to do a man’s job.
More than anything, I feel for Hillary. I mourn the hope she felt, the hope all women felt that this time things would be different.
To witness grace in the face of defeat, watch Hillary’s concession speech below.
If there’s a shining light that has come out of this darkness, it’s the millions of women, and those that support them, that are rallying together in the face of this insanity. The outpouring of love, of empathy, of commiseration has been amazing to see and feel. But most of all, it’s the need for change, and the energy rising to drive it, that’s the most incredible to behold. Calls for better education, re-examination of the electoral process, and a cry out for future leaders that people can rally behind proudly; among the many actions that will come out of all of this, it’s these positive and proactive steps that will bring about the change we so greatly need.
In Hillary’s own words; “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
This battle may have been lost, but there’s still a war to be won, and it will definitely be worth it. I’m with her.