Monday, October 31, 2016

Girls Last

2015 spring, I was visiting a friend at the beach. We were talking about the upcoming presidential election, both of us incredulous about the vitriol directed toward Hillary. Were they talking about the woman we knew? The woman who tried to give us national health care twenty-years earlier, who was a constant advocate for women and children, who was a consensus-building senator for NY state. Many bitched that in a 40+-year career, in both public and private life, she’d changed her opinion on several key issues including trade and gay marriage. But isn’t that what thinking human beings do—learn, grow, change? People who don’t change are the ones who frighten me.
I watched from the sidelines as the election approached. Listened as Trump speeches continued to be peppered with lies and half-truths. Prominent newspapers—The NY and LA Times, The Washington Post—exposed him. Still Americans generally considered him more truthful than Hillary Clinton. Why did Hillary generate this loathing? I didn’t get it until I did. It was so simple I couldn’t see it. Hillary was a woman who was unapologetic about her quest for power. She wasn’t perfectly coiffed with expensively highlighted tresses, wasn’t flashing leg or a hint of cleavage to make her mission more palatable.
The discrimination I encountered growing up was because I was Black not because I was female. Consequently I thought Blacks of either gender were lower than women on the American totem pole. I was wrong. Women and girls are last.