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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

After Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race, there were a few days there when it looked as if a lot of women would be done with politics.

If we couldn’t elect the most qualified person ever to run for president, what was the point, right?

Being women, however, we quickly recalibrated. Many in our ranks are doing something rather extraordinary, historically speaking.

They are considering a run for office.

“We’ve been inundated,” Debbie Walsh told me Wednesday. “In a good way.”

Walsh said applications are up around the country for training, including at Rutgers. Normally, 150 or so sign up for a session. In March, CAWP had to change venues to accommodate 270 women — and still had to turn away some.

Emily’s List, which helps female candidates who support abortion rights, states on its website that more than 14,000 women have signed up to run since Election Day, and another 7,000 people have agreed to help them.

Those numbers aren’t the only thing that has changed since Election Day.

“What I’m seeing this year are women who aren’t waiting to be asked,” Walsh said. “You know that line, ‘If we aren’t at the table, we’re on the menu’? Well, a lot of women feel they’re on the chopping block. What they care about is in jeopardy, and they’re not sitting on the sidelines anymore.”

Walsh says history is instructive. “No movement happens overnight. Civil rights, same-sex marriage, women’s suffrage — even the tea party took time. We must be in this for the long haul. This change in our country — despite what we saw in the last election — takes time. We cannot expect that this will turn on a dime, and we can take satisfaction in victories along the way.”

Patience, in other words — as focused as it is willful.

Also, we must support one another across generations. I implore more of my fellow baby boomers to step up and support the next generation of female leaders. I’m not suggesting we step aside; rather, I’m saying we should make room.

As I write this, I am looking through the windows at the trees we have planted in our backyard in recent years. One for each grandchild. I see them as extensions of these children we love. Clayton’s Callery pear. Jackie’s serviceberry. Leo’s lilac. Milo’s Japanese maple. Carolyn’s white pine. We just planted a wisteria for the granddaughter on her way.

Already, the trees nurture other lives, as birds build nests in their branches and feast on the purple berries of our first granddaughter’s tree. Every winter, I stare at their bare branches and will them to survive. Every spring, I snap photos of the grandchildren standing next to their trees to track the growth of both, celebrating every inch of progress.

Had you told me in my ambitious thirties and forties that I could take such joy in a handful of fledgling trees, I would have laughed you out of my way. Like so many women my age, I still possess plenty of ambition, but I have reached that point in life when one must decide how to parcel it out.

If our success is our only legacy, it dies with us. If, on the other hand, we channel some of our ambition into the future of others, the best parts of us will never die.

Isn’t that a glorious way to go?

 

4 Responses to Run, Woman, Run

  1. Even though I am a life-long Democrat, I was totally disappointed by our nominee last year. Hillary’s year should have been 2008, but she blew it then by going into the Primaries believing herself to be the heir-presumptive, and run her primary based on the belief that this first-term Senator couldn’t possibly beat her. Guess what? She lost.
    Then, this year Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did everything in her power to kill any other potential candidate’s opportunity by effectively handing her the nomination before the first primary and first caucus.
    Hillary – go home and take Nancy Pelosi with you. The two of you have done more to damage our “brand” than anything Sarah Palin could have come up with. Allow younger people (men or women) with fresher ideas who can actually relate to the working class to take the lead. You both have lost touch with the base – middle class workers (race/ethnicity be damned) by promising status quo solutions. Where is the hope we once felt from Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. They actually made us believe we could make a better society. All the two of you have done is abandon those dreams and us dreamers.

    • Disagree FB,

      The RWMO will be able to demonize anyone they choose, male or female, White or Black. We need to accept and adapt to the fact that each and every Candidate we run will be the subject of lies and invented “scandals du jour”. The RWMO will “damage our brand” regardless of the individual.

      Hillary won the primaries because a large majority of Democrats, myself included, supported her over Sanders. It is moot why we rejected Sanders. But it’s hardly Debbie’s fault.

      Our Author, Ms. Schultz, seems quite eager for women to run for office and urges our support for them. I disagree here too. Women, like men, like minorities, need to be judged fit for election on their policies, positions, and programs. I will not support Sarah Palin or Ivanka Kushner in any attempt they may make to achieve office. One hopes that Ms. Schultz does not allow her desire to see women in office lead her to support such Candidates.

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  2. Although a life-long registered Republican, I decided, this past election cycle, to support the organization Emily’s List, who in turn supports the election of female candidates.

    I think I’m going to continue in this direction for the foreseeable future.

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