I had an unexpected reaction last week to President Obama’s “coronation” of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic contender for president. It was unexpected, because this whole election has been so distasteful and ugly. Frankly, I have watched in such horror as a racist and xenophobe inches closer and closer to the White House that I haven’t even really weighed in on a Democrat.
I have felt, in the past and in this election, that our latent sexism and misogyny is on full display in both men and women as Hillary Clinton repeatedly has been held to different standards than her male counterparts. I have cringed at my own sexism as I’ve wished she looked more attractive and dressed younger. As I wished she were more charming.
And then last week happened, and Obama said there is no one more uniquely qualified for this job, and I felt such excitement.
There are teams of people who have made it their life’s work to hold her solely responsible for Benghazi or to make hay out of personal e-mails. She has warts, and I don’t care. We all do. Nor have I agreed with all of her voting as a senator.
She isn’t charming or particularly charismatic, but she is tough — tough as nails. She has survived 30 years of relentless criticism and a husband who humiliated her in the most public way possible, and she has done it with her head held high. And during that time, she has served as first lady, as U.S. senator from New York and as secretary of state. And I believe she has served in all of those capacities with honor.
I feel as though she is me, and you, and every other smart-as-hell woman who had to scrape for what men take for granted. She should be the next president of the United States not because she is the most uniquely qualified woman, but because she is the most uniquely qualified person, period.
I see something now that has eluded me this entire election cycle. I don’t need the charisma and cool of Obama to be replicated. I don’t need the idealism of Bernie Sanders. I want the doggedness, determination, integrity and crushing work ethic that Clinton will bring to her administration.
I feel joy in my heart today.
Sheila Moriarty is assistant professor of social work at St. Cloud State University.