I just finished watching the HBO Miniseries, “John Adams,” and as the series ended, I was struck not only with sadness (all the main characters died at the end, not a shock, I know) but also by the lives the women of the time led. I’m not surprised that during and after the Revolution women were clearly treated as second-class citizens. I was a History major in college; I have read up on such things. But my biggest takeaway after watching 12 hours of bloody battles, severed limbs and a vaccination procedure (yuck!), is that because the women of the time didn’t have the opportunity to become President of the United States I feel that is my obligation to support the candidate that can really change the course of our nation’s history.
I watched what it was like to even be Abigail Adams, a woman of “power,” at the time. I’m embarrassed to say that I knew little of her before I watched the show. But what I learned what that she was a smart, well-educated woman, loved by her husband, but with little say in the most important matters of her household. She was forced to let her husband go abroad for many years to be an ambassador in Europe. She had to let her eldest son go with him. She had to mind her family farm alone, watch over the rest of her kids. All while protecting her land from a warring country.
She may have been one of our nation’s most powerful and admired First Ladies, but her political clout and opinions were only known through her male counterparts. Her knowledge of foreign affairs and her ability to challenge the politics of the time were immense and known, but she could only play a passive role in affecting them. She took the role of First Lady seriously and with grace, and who knows, if it weren’t a man’s world, perhaps she’d have been elected president one day.
Fast forward 230 years, and you could say we have come a long way, but have we? We’ve had many educated and great First Ladies in our country, but are we really ready to see one go from sidekick to star? From the start of her presidential candidacy, Hillary Clinton’s role as a First Lady has been lauded by her but questioned by others. Many people think that being First Lady isn’t “good enough” to be able to be President of the United States. Many people see Ms. Clinton as an opportunistic senator with little experience outside of meaningless trips abroad.
But I see Ms. Clinton as something more inspirational.
We are one of the only democratic nations to have never elected a female president. The tight race this year is historically significant for so many reasons, and it represents our chance to fulfill all the unfulfilled dreams of our foremothers. To finally change what we have not achieved yet: to make a woman the Commander in Chief.
Ms. Clinton has her flaws; we all do. But for so many reasons, and yes, because she’s a woman, I’ll continue to support her through the final days of the campaign. Because I believe she’s the closest thing we have now to fulfilling something that Ms. Adams never had a chance to.