Pixelated shards of that digital glass ceiling showered over the national audience last night as South Dakota’s delegation put Hillary Clinton over the top and shortly thereafter none other than Bernie Sanders moved to declare her nomination by acclamation as the official presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Whatever your political persuasion, this moment certainly must stand out for all Americans as historic. Secretary Clinton has done what no woman has ever been able to do before; she is the first woman to be the official nominee for the presidency of any major political party.
Hillary made history last night, and her story is also our story — the story of women across the generations who have always strived to do more, to achieve much, to move up the ladder of influence and success. Last night Hillary truly stood on the shoulders of giants, the women whose relentless pursuit of equal opportunity blazed trails across some daunting terrains — from women’s rights pioneers like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to the legions of women who fought for the right to vote in the early years of the 20th Century, to the feminists of the 1960’s like Gloria Steinem, to the trailblazers in politics like Shirley Chisolm and Trinity’s own Nancy Pelosi ’62 who was the first and still only woman elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
As Leader Pelosi said last night, in a phrase she has often proclaimed, “When women succeed, America succeeds.”
Hillary’s nomination surely is a signal that women have greater opportunities than ever before to participate and to lead in our political system. The number of women, and especially women of color like Donna Brazile and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake among others, evident in leadership positions at the Democratic Convention has been encouraging. But that promise can only be fulfilled if women everywhere — all of us! — live up to our civic duties and responsibilities by being actively engaged in the political process. Our first and most important civic duty is to vote. VOTE!
Winning the Democratic nomination is certainly a pinnacle of achievement, but a much steeper and tougher campaign looms. Will the United States at long last have a woman president? Our nation lags badly behind other countries in the advancement of women in high political office. Right now, women are the presidents and prime ministers of more than 20 nations; Angela Merkel of Germany is widely regarded as the most powerful woman in the world, and Great Britain now has that nation’s second woman Prime Minister Theresa May. Will Clinton join them? We’ll know on November 9 whether the United States will, at long last, embrace wholeheartedly the idea that a woman can and should be president of the United States.
What are your thoughts on Hillary’s historic nomination? How do you feel about a woman’s opportunity to be president of the United States? Share your thoughts by clicking the “comment” link below.
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