I am a lifelong Democrat. A Democrat taken for granted by my party, and I never even knew it. I am a 40-something professional woman, who started this campaign season as a John Edwards supporter. I did not become a Clinton supporter until New Hampshire, when I suddenly recognized quite clearly what I was seeing. I was seeing my own experiences as a working woman playing out on the national stage.
I am seeing the endless barrage of negativity, the intentionally unflattering photos, the thinly veiled (if veiled at all) glee of the political pundits at every less-than-perfect step. As every working woman knows, an actual misstep is not required--simply short of perfect will do fine as an opportunity to be insulted and diminished. I am seeing the delight of the press in knocking her down to size.
I am seeing the painful double standard that I live every day in my work life, and ironically, it hurts more to see clearly that it has nothing to do with me, or with her, and has everything to do with our gender.
So here is my message for her, for the party, and for the Republican nominee. Run, Hillary, and please don't stop. For every woman who has been asked to leave the room and leave the real decisions to the men, for every woman who has suffered the humiliation of the disdainful glances, the condescending words, or the sharp sting of resentment of her accomplishments, please keep running. Show up every day, Hillary, and show that we won't be ignored, we won't be belittled, and we won't be marginalized any more.
Run for me, Hillary. Run hard and don't back down. Run for far more than the mere hope of winning, and make us proud.
And for those who worry that I might not vote for the eventual Democratic nominee, and worry that Hillary is polarizing the party, I say, look in the mirror. By not honoring her and her candidacy, you are telling me that you don't honor me. I have voted for this party my entire life, and have done so proudly, but if the party joins in the effort to diminish Hillary Clinton and cut her effort short, then the party sends me a signal that I will not ignore in November. If she is not the Democratic standardbearer, then I will vote for the candidate that most honors my experience in this country, and more and more, I am seeing that candidate is of another party.