What boggles my mind about this election is that we had a candidate who had no qualifications, no experience, could not explain any ideologies or plans in detail, had a brash, uncontrollable disposition, openly mocked a disabled person, and crassly spoke of women as objects.
We had another candidate who was qualified, experienced, understood international diplomacy and domestic economics, and who ran a campaign that gave value to people with disabilities, women and children, immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ individuals.
And who won?
And what was the glaring difference between the two?
It was a loss for Hillary Clinton, but it was also a loss for all women in America. Once again, America said, “We will take an unqualified, crass man over a qualified, distinguished woman.”
It was a personal blow, and it was a blow to my daughter, who now has to wonder if a woman can be president or not, and it was a blow to my son, who is being taught that a man can get away with being unqualified and uninformed, while a woman can do all the work it takes to prove oneself and still come away untrusted and unbelieved in.
Women in this country still do not have the same opportunities as men. The playing field is not level. Women face more obstacles in the workplace. One in three women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. According to this Pew Research Study, the #1 reason why less women hold positions of leadership is that that women are held to higher standards than men.
One of the most fascinating articles I read during the entire election season, America Loves Women Like Hillary Clinton – As Long As They’re Not Asking for a Promotion – looked at Hillary’s approval ratings and found that when she is in office, her approval ratings are high. The only time her ratings are low are when she is running for something. The article said, “the predictable swings of public opinion reveal Americans’ continued prejudice against women caught in the act of asking for power.”
Hillary was centimeters from the glass ceiling. But it wasn’t enough.
(Side Note – Please don’t tell me that you’d love a woman president, but just not that woman. Hillary had so many haters, and there is actually very little actual evidence of her corruption. In fact, Politfact rated her truth-telling record as #1 of all politicians running in 2016. Debra Abramson, in this article, says, “As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.” Personally I think people hate her either because 1) they hate her husband or 2) she’s a woman. Yes, I know there is evidence for the emails and pro-choice values and Benghazi. She’s not perfect. But what else? I haven’t found evidence for all the other crazy stories people are telling. And what about all the good she has done for our country?)
I have often wondered how Trump would have been accepted if he had been a woman. I suspect he would have been called words like emotional, temperamental, and unintelligent. Or maybe even rogue, off the chain, or uncouth. I doubt she would have won the nomination. I am conjecturing. I could certainly be wrong. But I wonder if Trump had been a woman if he would have been taken seriously. It is a question we should at least ponder.
I cannot change the results of this election. I will have to come to terms with Donald Trump as my president. It is very, very difficult for me to respect a man who has been so disrespectful towards women, immigrants, refugees, and the disabled. I cannot find any Trump quote about a woman that does not point back to woman as object. To woman as a visual delight. To woman as a sexual delight. I do not see respect there. If you have a quote that proves me wrong, please share (but make sure it’s from a legitimate source) in the comments.
What can I do? I can only think of small things right now. I can assure my children of their worth. I can praise my daughter for things like her effort and her teamwork and her determination instead of her looks. I can encourage confidence and respect in my students. I can read the Magnificat and pray to Mary. I can write. I can encourage the women in my life. Somehow, I want to fight both the dread inside of me and the injustices toward women in this country. For now, I attempt to quiet my heart and make tiny little cracks in that glass ceiling.