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As you may know, I am (still) an enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporter, but I have also, somewhat reluctantly, accepted the fact that he will not be President.

Clinton Clinton Sexism

Does Hillary Mean Women Have Arrived?—Rosemary Jenkins

Yet, I surprised myself when I listened to Hillary’s victory speech last week when I began to cry—not because Sanders would not be the candidate but because of the flashes of history that crossed my internal vision.

Yet, I surprised myself when I listened to Hillary’s victory speech last week when I began to cry—not because Sanders would not be the candidate but because of the flashes of history that crossed my internal vision.

I think about the suffragettes in England and America in the 1800s (who fought hard and suffered so much), finally gaining the vote in the States in 1920 with the Nineteenth Amendment (the territory of Wyoming was first to give women the right to vote in 1869—hard to believe when Wyoming is such a red state today). The United Kingdom beat us by approving women’s suffrage in 1918 (I think of the mum engaged in this fight in 1964s Mary Poppins, becoming such a wonderful role model for her children).

I reflect on my early post-graduate years when it was so hard for women like me to get hired for a professional job. Single? You are going to get married and have children and will not want to work. Young woman? We prefer an older one whose children have grown up. Husband changing jobs? You’ll want to move where he goes. Heading a male-dominated division (for me, the LA Fire Department’s investigative unit—how the fire started and what is the best way to handle the situation in the future)—men will not want to work with you. Pay? Your salary is only supplementary so you do not need to earn as much (we are still working on that). I remember when women teachers actually made less than their male counterparts—particularly seen in elementary school salaries because most teachers at that level were women. That job? Too strenuous for a woman.

Tears ran down my face with each thought.

I think about the 18 million chinks in the glass ceiling to which Hillary referred only 8 years ago. Her promising and yet seemingly defiant statement (at that rally) also made me think of how the role of women has dramatically changed. Who would have thought when Bobby Kennedy was running for President that only about 50 years later a woman would be a viable candidate for that office (he would have been so proud)? Well, that day has come!

Ironic that despite the principles upon which our country was founded, it is other nations that recognized (well before America did) that a woman could and can be a strong and dynamic leader for an entire nation. There are countless examples of women across the centuries who have led their nations. Yes, not all have necessarily been good leaders but, then, how many men have fallen short?

Let us remember, with some satisfaction, leaders like Queen Nefertiti and Pharoah Cleopatra of Egypt, let alone Queen Bathsheba, mother of King Solomon (of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah)? And let’s not forget the roles of Tamar, Zipporah, and Miriam, let alone Mary, mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, his partner.

Has it escaped our memory that about 1700 years ago women in the early Church often held prominent roles. . .until men managed to usurp women’s rights and turn the tables? We women have been struggling ever since to regain our rightful place.

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Think of Queen Elizabeth I of England and later Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. What about Golda Meir of Israel and Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan? Corzaon Aquino of the Philippines. Angela Merkel of Germany. Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands (so inspiring during World War II). Isabel Perón of Argentina. Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (the world’s first elected Black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state).

Furthermore, only a few decades ago who could have imagined that women would serve on the United States Supreme Court—people like Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan? And what a difference they are making to the jurisprudence of our country!

Women’s higher-level leadership roles have been a long time coming, so we can never again let our roles be appropriated by men who (perhaps) suffer from inferiority complexes and/or feel their long-held, theoretically unchallenged positions are threatened.

Bernie has moved Hillary to the left and that is where she needs to be. How excited we should all be at the mere thought of having a highly qualified woman with broad and abundant skills and credentials to be our next President (in our lifetime, no less)! We cannot afford sour grapes. Too much is at stake. No PUMAs (People United Means Action—die-hard Hillary supporters) this time. It’s Hillary or go home!

We must enthusiastically support her unless we want to turn our government over to Trump and his ilk. For all too many of us, he is a potentially dangerous man. Listen to how he doubles down on racist and anti-religious sentiments; against higher wages for the working poor but for lower taxes for the rich; wishy-washy on women’s reproductive rights; strongly opposing a workable pathway to citizenship and supporting mass deportations along with a wall that will not just separate nations but will create cultural and economic barriers. He wants to overturn the Affordable Care Act which has already resulted in more than 20 million people having healthcare coverage for the first time (which also means a lesser burden on the average taxpayer). He wants to consider nuclear attacks and supports more of our allies developing their own such weapons. He wants to tear up the Iran agreement that is intended to produce a better partnership and a more peaceful region. Sadly, the list goes on, exposing more of his abominable policy views.

Perhaps most important of all, however, Trump as President would have the opportunity to nominate at least one Supreme Court Justice whose decisions can change the moral and ethical direction as well as the sense of justice and fair-play for our country for decades to come--we absolutely cannot let that happen!

This country, our country as we know it or want it to be will never be the same if a Hillary win does not supplant the Trump threat.

We can’t afford to stay home or cast a protest vote. As a Bernie person, I nevertheless beseech each of you to vote for Hillary in the fall (and vote the down-ballot whose outcome will make such a difference at the local, state, national, and international levels). Additionally, a Hillary vote (because of the demographics) will likely give the Senate a Democratic majority and the House a representation that will be easier with which to work.

A Hillary win will give Hillary and Bernie supporters (and others) the opportunity to hold her feet to the fire in order to get progressive measures passed and to retain those which have already become law.

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Yes, Vote Hillary!

Rosemary Jenkins