Nobody is going to steal my sunshine tonight
I’ve just watched something on television that I did not think would happen in my lifetime: a major party in the U.S. has nominated a woman as its presidential candidate.
Unity at last on floor of convention as Sanders moves to suspend rules and declare first woman nominee in history pic.twitter.com/sDLp41D2PG
— Dan Roberts (@RobertsDan) July 26, 2016
I admit that this convention has really annoyed me. Yesterday, it seemed like every time a woman got on stage, a group of white boys on the convention floor started some kind of protest chant. They did it to the convention chair, they did it to Elizabeth Warren, the only woman they didn’t do it to was Michelle Obama. I admit, watching this takes me back to the time a friend of mine, a fellow professor, asked me to come to her lecture (240 students) and tell me if her male students were pranking her or she was just dreaming. She was right. She was teaching U.S. history — a woman with a Ph.D. from a major university, herself teaching at a major university — and every time she referred to women or minorities, those eighteen-year-old guys started a low level of humming and whispering. When she confronted them it would stop for two minutes and then return again.
This happened in 2004. Yeah. For everyone who thinks discrimination against and harassment of women in universities is a “back in the day” thing.
I admit I watched this convention and remembered that. And it makes me furious, for all the workplace discrimination and harassment I have observed over the years, all the ways that I watched men block the careers of women so they could push their own male protegés through. It makes me think of my own situation with regard to harassment. And I thought of all of the years I have spent watching sexist attacks on this nominee, and all the years that I listened to mansplaining about how awful she is.
But you know, in the end, she stuck with it by hook or by crook. I won’t recite her CV, but on the basis of professional experiences she is probably the most qualified candidate to run for this office in several decades. She kept going. She must have the thickest skin of any human on the planet. She did the work for years to build a coalition, with the help of many others along the way, because that’s how politics works, and she earned the votes. And when they called the role, she topped 2,382. The opponents’ delegates lacked the generosity of spirit that she showed for Barack Obama in 2008, but the delegate himself showed he had it, despite the manners of those of his supporters who started to scream “walk out” when he moved for record of the vote cast, but a suspension of the procedure and a vote for Clinton by acclamation.
And I started to cry.
In the end, I thought, there’s always going to be some man somewhere screaming about things being unfair, trying to drown out a woman. But in the end, we shall overcome. As Michelle Obama said last night (paraphrasing here), she wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves and her children are playing on the lawn with their dogs, and now the possibility exists that a woman will inhabit the Oval Office.
I’m feeling a lot lighter tonight. Maybe the Dementor doesn’t always win. Maybe the glass ceiling really is made out of glass and maybe it will crack in November.
I am reading about Ft. Myers and Japan and Normandy and Baghdad, still. PBS is broadcasting a report on the deteriorating situation in Venezuela and a friend there just wrote to ask for donations of food for the children she’s teaching. The world is still horrible. But for today I can feel at least some hope that things will be different for my nieces. Just a little better, just a few fewer obstacles, just a little more opportunity. And I’ve gotten a bit of a kick in the ass, myself.