Her Loss, My Loss/ Her Victory, My Victory

At the beginning of the presidential campaign, I found myself identified with Hillary Clinton.  If the media reported something favorable, I was excited; if they panned her, I was down. After some of the early losses, I was scared. After Super Tuesday, I was elated. I attended fund-raisers, blogged, made phone calls. While I kept up with my business and my life, it became secondary to Hillary’s campaign. I felt myself on a roller-coaster that Hillary herself was too busy campaigning to feel.

Finally, I decided I had to take stock. While I am impressed with Hillary and her candidacy, and while I think she is the most qualified candidate, this identification with her campaign was over the top. I broke away, to my silent place to gain some clarity. What I realized is that “I am Hillary.”

While I thought I had “worked through” the issues of sexism in my family and while I thought I had “dealt with” the sexism in my professional life, the level of emotional discomfort with the campaign made me realize I had only scratched the surface. I wanted Hillary to win because a win for her would be a win for me as well as a win for our country.

I am of the same generation as Hillary, and I have had to break through many glass ceilings. At the time, I didn’t know they were glass ceilings. We didn’t have a name for them then. They were just lonely places—business administration classes where I was the only woman, feeling exposed, alone, hesitating to contribute. And then graduating and teaching school and being a secretary, both good professions but not the ones I wanted. Then finally breaking into management, only to be asked to train my new boss . .  a young recent college graduate (male); then being offered a sales position . . . again the only female. . . being watched to see if I would fail; then management at a new company, again the only female; then a consulting role at yet another company, with clients questioning why they were assigned to the woman; then starting a business . . . .with no mentor and no support and difficulty getting business loans.

I have never grieved for the woman who had to face all these difficulties alone, who was often ridiculed, set up for failure. I had not “noticed” the pain of those days. Only after facing that pain could I look at this election from a more neutral position.  Now, with the latest loss in Wisconsin, my reaction is to accept it, recognize that Hillary is still in the running, and get to work to help her win. The emotional baggage, which wasn’t very helpful, is gone.

Hillary Clinton is doing her best to present her credentials as a seasoned, qualified leader, while many of us are carrying emotional baggage and projecting it on to her. Whether we are for Hillary or against Hillary, we need to take a second look at the real reasons for our decision. We need to separate our stuff from her stuff.

I have been on the phones for the Hillary Clinton campaign and I have talked with many women who are supporting Hillary. I have also talked with many who are not. You can’t imagine the comments I have heard from women opposed to Hillary. The phone is anonymous, and people feel entitled to say what they wish. I know that most of these women are angry with someone other than Hillary. But Hillary is the one who they project it on to. Maybe they are angry because they didn’t have the opportunities that she has had. Maybe they are feeling a dead-end in their own lives. Maybe they chose a path that Hillary didn’t choose and they resent her for her choice. Maybe they were taught to “be nice” and do the “right” thing. Maybe they are trying to please their husbands or boy friends. Maybe they are angry with their mothers. Whatever the reason, most of these projections go unexamined.  She is too winey or too much like a man. She shouldn’t have stayed with Bill. . . . .and on and on.

We have an opportunity to make history. Hillary is the most qualified person to run for president during my lifetime. Hillary Clinton is a woman who has worked intensely at everything she has done, a woman who listens and has the ability to make policy that reflects the needs of her constituents. a woman not afraid of power but able to wield it fairly and appropriately.

Will women find the will to unite behind one of their own or will they do the easy thing, the popular thing, the hyped-up thing? Will women find their own center of power and their own voice in this primary election before it is too late? This is the question I keep asking myself. Women are more than half the population and there are still nearly 1200 electoral votes yet to be awarded, not counting super delegates. We are far from finished. Why do we represent ourselves so poorly? Why do we give up so easily? Why do we believe the media and the big mo?  We have a long way to go to make history. Hillary Clinton is our best opportunity

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11 Responses to Her Loss, My Loss/ Her Victory, My Victory

  1. suskin says:

    It is true that many women support Hillary because they identify with her and they find the unfair criticisms of her all too familiar in a male dominated world. But it’s more than that. Women on the whole are pragmatic – as are Hillary supporters on the whole, male and female alike. They are the families who need real change, not just some illusionary promise of utopia. Pragmatic people look behind the grandiose rhetoric and look at the candidate. And what they see a man who hasn’t proven himself; a man who skipped the training runs and went straight for the grand prize. A man who doesn’t grasp what is wrong with America.

    Pragmatists understand the gravity of the situation facing America. They know America is in trouble, and they know if we don’t do something quickly, it will get worse. They look at Hillary and they see she understands that and she is committed to fixing it. They look at Obama and they see a man who is rambling on about idealism – a new kind of politics, a Washington that gets along with itself. Obama’s going to fix the partisanship of Washington, he’s going to end special interests, he’s going to rid the world of lobbyists. But those aren’t the problems America is facing. The real problems, the problems America is facing, are the ones Hillary wants to fix.

    That’s why we Hillary supporters keep on supporting her. Because this election is just too important not to.

  2. Yes, I agree with you, Suskin. Pragmatism is learned, and many women have learned the hard way. Yet, Hillary is having so much difficulty, even with women. Now, she is underfunded compared to Obama and that ups the anti. All we can do is to keep on keepin on and see if we can turn the tides again in her favor. Thank you for your comments. JoAnne

  3. “There are still nearly 1,200 electoral votes to be awarded, not counting super delegates”. I really didn’t have that number in mind. Do you know a place I can go to see a breakdown?

  4. Darrell

    On CNN they state that there are a total of 4049 delegates including Super Delegates.

    There’s about 1400 delegates yet to be awarded and that figure seems to include the Super Delegates as far as I can tell.

  5. Andy Witmyer says:

    “What I realized is that “I am Hillary.'”

    And people say Obama’s supporters are cult-like…

  6. Andy

    Wow. I’m sorry you went there.

    Clearly there are no men who can identify with what JoAnne said here but I certainly can and I know a lot of women who indentify with Hillary Clinton on many levels and with good reason.

    There’s nothing cult-like in JoAnne saying on a personal level that she identifies with Hillary. Women get what Hillary is about and what she has gone through to get to this place.

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  8. Re the 1200 remaining delegates, not counting super-delegates: I found an article in the Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, Feb 20 page A12. It braks down the remaining delegates by state:
    Here they are:
    March 4 Ohio 162
    Rhode Island 33
    Texas 228
    Vermont 23

    March 8
    Wyoming 18
    March 11
    Mississippi 40
    April 22
    Pennsylvania 187
    May 3
    Guam 9
    May 6
    Indiana 83
    North Carolina 134
    May 13 West Virginia 39
    May 20 Kentucky 60
    Oregon 65
    June 3 Montana 24
    South Dakota 23
    June 7 Puerto Rico 63

  9. A ton of votes left. It must be hard as hell to figure out how to campaign from behind in a proportional setting.

  10. Andy Witmyer says:

    Pamela – you seem to be subtly accusing me of sexism. I understand that you’re supporting Hillary because you’re a woman and you feel empowered by her – but let me set the record straight. I’m not against Hillary because she’s a female – I’m against Hillary because I’m burned out with the Clintons. I have Clinton Fatigue. I also have issues with the constitutionality of this – yeah, I know it’s perfectly legal for her to run – but I find the whole thing to be a little too close to a 3-4 term presidency for comfort.

    My reasons for supporting Obama have absolutely nothing to do with Hillary’s gender.

  11. Andy

    When you mock a writer here (not me but another writer) for saying she identifies with Clinton, it doesn’t look good in my eyes.

    Your earlier comment would not have gotten such a strong reaction if it had included your reasoning for supporting Obama, rather than just mocking JoAnne saying “I am Hillary.”

    The mock was a subtle dig at a women who identified with Hillary for valid reasons. Thanks for clarifying your thoughts on both Hillary and Obama.