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.


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.

Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!

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.

~ by Servetus on July 27, 2016.

39 Responses to “Nobody is going to steal my sunshine tonight”

  1. Hear! Hear!

  2. Happy for you! As someone observing US politics from a long distance (so not the most informed, sorry in advance for any wrong assumptions!), I’ve been puzzled as to why discourse surrounding Hillary often makes her out to be the absolute worst, when she’s so far seemed to be pretty okay to me? There’s this terrible disconnect between what I see/hear her doing and what people say about her. But since I live a looooong way away, I could only assume I’m missing a great deal of what really goes on. Anyway, I really hope she wins! Good luck in November! 😀

    She’s also visited my country a few times, this 2011 interview in particular was pretty memorable for me, despite a few cringe-inducing questions (which she seemed to take with good humor).

    • There are people who are convinced she’s a crook, but you know, I’ve been watching her being investigated by someone or other my whole adult life — literally, since 1990 or so — and they never actually find anything. At this point, I’m surprised that most Americans can’t recite a timeline of events inside the US embassy in Benghazi. Someone should total up the amount of tax money spent investigating her and her husband for things there is never any evidence of. The director of the FBI (originally a Republican appointee) just essentially said “there’s nothing we can charge her for” over her email server, and now she’s being investigated over the same thing internally by the State Department. If she’s president, probably someone will insist on conducting some more hearings about her behavior.

      There are people who are convinced she’s a liar, but that’s also something that factcheckers have spent a lot of time on and she’s regularly found to lie the least of any major politician in the United States.

      There are a lot of people who are angry that she made her career together with Bill Clinton and then stayed with him after his adultery was exposed on a national stage, but I’ve never understand that critique. To me, feminism means we value women’s choices. They decided on a political program together and worked on it together and made him president and now they are making her president. Good for her, good for them. And lots of women stay with their partners after much worse things than adultery, and we don’t blame them for their choices.

      She is forceful, but that doesn’t differentiate her from a bunch of male politicians in this country.

      And most people who actually do work with her like her. They say she’s conscientious, prepared, intense, and does what she says she will.

      Is she perfect? No. Do I agree with her on everything? Definitely not. Does she deserve the level of hassle that she has lived with for the last forty years? No.

      • Thank you so much for clarifying, I think I have a larger picture of how things are for her. And you’re so right on the level of hassle, it seems so overblown whenever she’s the subject of conversation. People seem to forgive her husband of an awful lot, but not her for some reason.

        • He’s a guy. But even apart from that, there’s something oddly charming about him that is inexplicable. It was all over my RL FB while he was speaking — essentially people commenting, we know he’s a weasel and a chauvinist but he’s just a damn good speaker.

          Whereas, one has to admit — she’s not charming. (I find this sympathetic because I’m not charming either.) When he reported that she said “no one would vote for me” I found myself nodding. She just doesn’t have that vibe that attracts one to her in that particular way. She’s sooooo wonky. He’s just as good on the details as she is but he had some kind of special aura.

    • Much of it goes all the way back to President Clinton’s campaign and presidency. For lack of a better term, some of his enemies were even more hateful because of the fact that Hillary was an extremely well educated, brilliant scholar and lawyer in her own right. Bill had even referred to it as two for the price of one. Worse yet, when she was young, she had worked on “Watergate” as well. That she was involved, even in a small way in helping to bring down Nixon, and disgrace the Republicans was unforgivable. She had dedicated her life to being an activist, and working for those with no voice of their own. She believed in Women’s Rights, Civil Rights… In this country in the 1960’s + 70’s, these things were looked upon as radical by a large segment of society, not only by many republicans, but a fair amount of democrats as well. The division ran more along lines of age and region, than politics. Bill Clinton was the first young candidate from this turbulent time. He had not served in the military in The Vietnam War, making him an oddity in modern U.S. history, when we had been in four wars. Hillary was a modern baby boomer in every sense that she could have been. She was not a quiet, stay at home mom in the background. She had opinions during the campaign, and worked during his presidency in a pseudo official capacity. Many of the haters were just enraged with her, and everything about her. Then after his eight years were up, SHE DIDN’T GO AWAY. She started her own political career, and was very successful at it. So, her enemies made a point of finding anything they can use to create scandals, just as they had done with the president. They just don’t seem to have the outcome they’re looking for. As convoluted as this all is, and although it doesn’t really make a lot of sense, that’s the background. I hope that makes it a little more understandable. I used the word enemies rather than republicans because I am not referring to everyone in the party. I wouldn’t presume to make that generalization.

      • it’s an important distinction — about half of my GOP friends from universities are voting for her because Donald Trump’s foreign policy plans are considered by experts to be nonsensical.

        • Right, the enemies are a relentless, vocal minority. There’s a difference in not agreeing with a person’s views, and hating that person and doing anything to bring them down.

      • Hi Jane, thank you so much for the broader picture! I didn’t know that about Watergate even. And I’m really happy that she “didn’t go away” as you said! Such a strong figure right now in US politics. Thanks for the explanation!

  3. “She must have the thickest skin of any human on the planet.” Sooo true! I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime either.

    • I remember having a conversation with someone in 2007, when she was predicted to win in 2008 and Barack Obama was just getting going, and he said to me, mark my words, this country is still more sexist than it is racist, and we will elect a black man before we’ll elect a white woman. And when that proved to be correct, I kind of gave up. I was happy to see Barack Obama in office for a variety of reasons, but he was the much less qualified candidate than she was at the time.

    • It’s a relief to see her moving forward in the run for president.
      With everything that’s been thrown her way, she must have a thick skin. I kinda envy her that. (As much as I’m curious to understand why she stayed with him, at the end of the day, it is a private matter and the public doesn’t need to know what is going on in their marriage.) I’ll liked the part of M. Obama’s speech “When they go low, we go high” or something along those lines.

      For me feminism isn’t about “burning bras” anymore like maybe in the 70s (think Alice Schwarzer for Germany as an example). I worked on D&I in the area of corporate responsibility not that long ago. And I believe that even in 2016 we still have a lot of sexism going on around us – pretty much everywhere. Some of it has to do with our socialisation and perception of gender stereotypes. It’s worrying that just admitting you’re a feminist still gets you into hot water, and even men would do well to consider themselves feminists in my opinion, because emancipation and empowerment go both ways. I try to picture this: May, Merkel and Clinton leading western countries. Three then really powerful women in charge. What will the press and public make of that? Doom & gloom or a celebration of gender equality? Will it improve diversity etc.?

      What will happen next? Will Clinton and Trump now go on their (new?) campaigns and get to face each other in debate?

      • To add – I would welcome it if press and public for once were to focus on May’s, Merkel’s, Clinton’s (…) leadership, accomplishments and policies rather than only their clothes, gender or whatever. I would hope that they inspire us as society and help improve lives on many levels. Forward looking and able to offer acceptable solutions to today’s (global) challenges.

        • Women do have a very different view of the world than men do. Not that that men don’t have compassion, or want the best future for their children or grandchildren, they just react differently. Women are both emotional and analytical. Women are more agreeable to compromise and finding peaceful resolutions to issues. I truly am hopeful of three of the superpowers, and the three main western powers, being run by women. I think they could make a major difference in the future for us all.

          • Not sure. Female heads of state who have been IMO discompassionate and warlike have included Margaret Thatcher. We can all think of many examples of women who have been horrible as heads of government / state. The point for me has never been that women are better at it. It’s rather than we are half the population and so we should be able to do it just as well.

        • There was a funny article I saw yesterday about Bill Clinton’s clothes for the speech he gave Tuesday night.

      • Yeah. Final step is the individual campaigns of the nominees. It probably won’t pick up speed until the Olympics are over, though.

  4. All I can say is “Go, Hillary!” Also something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I think, if elected, she will be a great President. They need to get off her and get on with it.

  5. Amen to all of the above!

  6. It was a big moment for me as well.

    I’ve always felt that she was attacked because she was a powerful woman, and in some ways an easier target than her husband. I think I would find her likable in person, but she has put up a defensive shield that makes her seem a bit unapproachable and probably has something to do with the “untrustworthy” label. It makes sense given the 25 years of attacks.

    • yeah. I was reading a list of everything she / they have been accused of over the years today. Congress once spent 10 days investigating her use of the White House Christmas card list. And I read yesterday that the IRS is now going to investigate the Clinton Foundation. Would tend to make one a bit defensive, if everything one did was investigated immediately.

  7. I never thought that in my lifetime would see African American president elected, let alone woman being nominated to run for White House. Go, Hillary!

    • I know — it makes me think of Michelle Obama’s remark so much about how the US is great right now. Not that we don’t have plenty of things to fix but these are truly progressive steps.

  8. Beautifully written!

  9. Ich freue mich mit euch. 🙂
    Gestern morgen gab es auf meinem Radiosender einen ausführlichen Bericht darüber, warum es für die USA ein so wichtiges, ja historisches Ereignis ist, dass nun zum ersten Mal eine Frau Präsidentin werden kann. Es wurde auch gesagt, dass das für deutsche Ohren merkwürdig klingt, da wir nach 10 Jahren Angela Merkel nun überhaupt nichts Außergewöhnliches an Frauen in verantwortungsvollen Positionen mehr finden. Da stimmt natürlich auch nur zum Teil, denn auch bei uns gibt es noch viel zu wenige weibliche Führungskräfte.
    Dennoch bin ich sehr zufrieden, dass hierzulande der Gedanke an eine Kanzlerin oder Bundespräsidentin zu keinerlei Aufregung mehr führt. So sollte das sein.

  10. This is so exciting about Hilary receiving the nomination! I just hope that if elected, she is not subjected to the same level of naked vitriolic sexism and misogyny from certain sections of the media that Julia Gillard received when Prime Minister here in Australia.

    • It is exciting! She gave her acceptance speech tonight. But my friends and I are more or less resolved to accept that the sexist bombardment is going to accelerate now. The most reasonable of the PBS conservative commentators was off tonight about how she didn’t show her humanity (the whole convention has painted her as “mother Hillary”) and one of the more respected centrist commentators mansplained afterwards about how she should talk to be more pleasing. It’s just so exhausting.

  11. Thank you Serv and all the people who comment on these posts! It is great to gain insight in the political process and dynamics of another country. I wish you all were around when I was a sixth former and could have discussed this with my brilliant history and ethics teacher

  12. I am so looking forward to finally having a woman in the White house but I am not surprised at the male reaction. Nothing bothers them more than a women who is highly intelligent, and this woman is definitely intelligent. I look at the other countries who have had women in position of power and been very successful. I think it is about time it has happened to us. So far our men have not done anything spectacular for our country, now turn it over to a women who have different ways of looking at thing and see what her intelligence and strength can see her accomplish.Touch skin she has and Intelligence with a capital I. Go for it!

    • I dunno, we’ve had many great presidents (and many not so great ones). But here’s someone who’s very qualified, and happens to be a woman, and she’s more qualified than the other person currently running, that’s for sure.

  13. […] U.S. seems to have lost sight of the historic nature of this election, but I haven’t! Yeah, I’m with her! Happily so. Not “just because she’s a woman,” although that would be a valid […]

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