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I Suppose I Could Have Stayed Home
Author: Raine    Date: 11/05/2016 13:04:28

Last night Beyonce and Jay-z held a get-out-the-vote concert in Cleveland, Ohio. While Beyonce was performing, this flashed on the screen:


For people of a certain age, this was significant. For younger people, those born around 1992 when this happened, it was a teachable moment:

In 1992 things were a lot different.
To appreciate the significance of this, it helps to remember what a ruckus that quote caused at the time ― and what that ruckus said about the politics of gender back then. Hillary Clinton was a controversial figure in 1992, but not for the reasons she is today. She was controversial because she was a woman ― and, more specifically, a woman who had decided to have both a family and a career. As Rebecca Traister of New York magazine put it, Clinton was widely seen as “too radical, too feminist, too independent, too influential.”

The trouble had actually started years before ― with Bill Clinton’s first term as governor, when the Arkansas public had no idea what to make of Hillary Clinton, who not only had a law degree from Yale, but also seemed intent on getting involved with policy. She went by Hillary Rodham then, keeping her family’s name ― a point Bill Clinton’s opponent in his first gubernatorial race had made a campaign issue.

The political trouble only intensified when Bill Clinton ran for president. She had long since changed her name to “Hillary Rodham Clinton,” in order to win over those skittish Arkansas voters. But she was still a working mother ― an idea that many Americans continued to view with suspicion and antipathy. And as the presidential campaign wore on, her opponents used her professional life against her, making her out to be a radical who wanted to upend the American family.


By and large, the public has grown accustomed to the idea of women who work outside the home. And within a few days, they might even get to see one elected president.
Things have changed, but we aren't there yet.

I want to pivot to her running mate, Tim Kane. This week he was interviewed by radio host Stephanie Miller. When she asked if he knew who her father was, he said yes. William Miller was Barry Goldwater's running mate. He told her that her father had made interesting history and went on the mention that John F Kennedy broke the barrier of being elected as the first Catholic president was really controversial. Four years later, Bill Miller would be a vice presidential candidate and it was a non-issue. He then went on to mention something that he's previously said on David Axlerod's podcast. Vox picked it up and ran this story. From the podcast:
When Hillary asked me to be her running mate, what flashed through my mind was I’ve been in politics for 22 years; this is my ninth race. In all the previous eight races, I’ve been the guy with my name on the ballot, my name on the bumper sticker and the yard sign. And I’ve had all these strong women supporting me: campaign managers, Cabinet secretaries, agency heads; the voters that we get are more women than men.

And I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m going to have the chance now to not be the top of the ticket. I’m going to be a strong man supporting the first strong woman to be president of the United States.” And as important as it is to normalize that a woman can be president, it’s also important to normalize that strong men can support a woman as president.

I found that so outstanding, and so wonderful. I had not thought about it from that point of view, but Kaine is spot-on.

It's time to break the glass ceiling. Let's try to normalize this -- in spite of all that is going on. I'll bring the cookies if you make some tea.



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