Goodbye, glass ceiling.
That’s what I thought last Thursday night, as I watched the largest, most patriotic balloons I have ever seen tumble from the ceiling of the Wells Fargo Center.
Hillary Clinton may have shattered a ceiling, but there’s still a lot of work to do cleaning up all the shards of broken glass. Just consult the various editorials of why Clinton is disliked and attempts to understand her character.
It’s a degree of scrutiny that, as a woman, I also understand: the unfailing double standards of femaleness. When she goes on listening tours, she’s accused of not running a proper campaign. When she speaks up, she’s accused of screeching. She swapped her suit skirts for pantsuits, a subtle act of “power dressing.” Her most constant accusation is her dishonesty, despite being overwhelmingly more honest than her main political opponent.
Two years ago, I survived a stampede of UCLA students (no, I am not exaggerating) to win a ticket to a Hillary Clinton lecture. On the day of the lecture, protestors chanted in our courtyard. Someone handed me a “Ready for Hillary” sticker as I walked into Royce Hall. I applied the sticker to my sweater, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready.
That day, Clinton told me to “grow skin like a rhinoceros…learn how to take criticism seriously but not personally.” I know this because I was so inspired by her speech that I pulled my phone out of my backpack in order to frantically type misspelled quotations into an iPhone note.
There are certainly serious criticisms of Clinton to be made, and I try to pull apart the valid from the sexist. She is not the pinnacle of my most-admired-modern-women list; that honor goes to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Eleanor Roosevelt, or JK Rowling, dependent on my mood.
Hillary Clinton is not perfect, but she shouldn’t have to be.
Sometimes you try to do the right thing, and the right thing ends up not being right. Sometimes the right thing only seems right to you. More often, there is no one right thing, so you have to pick the best thing out of all available options.
I trust Hillary Clinton to do the best thing for our country. I trust her to grow that rhinoceros skin.
Two years ago, I wasn’t ready, but I’m ready now. I want to tell my children that the first president I elected was a black man and the second a woman. I want to hear my daughter say she wants to be president when she grows up—not the first woman president, just president—no qualifications, no adjectives, no patronizing laughter.
Let’s keep smashing those glass ceilings.