Hillary, My Heroine
The year was 2008, and I was eight years old.
Politics was a grown-up term that I didn’t know much about, other than a few names: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain. Although the real meaning of the election was lost on me, my parents encouraged my brother and me to formulate opinions about the world. However, there was something standing in my way of deciding who to cheer on. Being a young child, I idolized my parents and pretty much went along with whatever they said. This time, though, my mom supported Hillary, and my dad supported Obama. What to do?
Totally unaware of political viewpoints, credentials, or endorsements, I decided to throw my support fully behind Hillary. While my dad and younger brother cheered for Obama on Super Tuesday, I meticulously Magic-Markered a sign reading “Go Clinton For President.” When Hillary lost the primaries, I was heartbroken. Why did my eight-year-old self support her so ardently? There was really only one thing shaping my choice: the fact that Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president. I couldn’t help myself; I fell in love with that idea.
Earlier that same year, my father took me to Washington DC for my eighth birthday. With my tiny self’s love for history (and a budding appreciation for politics), I was awestruck by historical sites celebrating the leaders of our country—George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. While I excitedly toured these landmarks, however, I was hit by a recurring theme (and, for the most part, a reoccurring skin tone): the political leaders of our country—specifically, our presidents—had always been men.
Until this moment, the “famous” women who had dominated my life had mainly been Disney princesses and the like, clad in sweet smiles and swishy gowns. Hillary Clinton wasn’t sugary royalty. She was a strong, powerful woman who cared about the country. With every word she spoke, and every vote she won, Hillary Clinton was making history.
Of course, I now know that gender is not the only factor to consider when it comes to choosing a politician. As I grew older and began to pay attention to the substance of political discussions, I began to formulate my opinions based on other criteria. At the same time as my interest in politics grew, I also cultivated a love for feminism and female empowerment.
2015 rolled around, and Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy. I educated myself on her viewpoints, achievements, and beliefs, and subsequently dove headfirst into her campaign. Being older, I was able to fully appreciate the significance of her new run. I outspokenly supported her, willing and ready to debate anyone who disagreed. I wrote an article for JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship about it, and worked hard to create my own website, www.teens4hillary.com.
For me, supporting Hillary is different than praising Obama or other male Democrats. This election, I’m able to confidently say my political beliefs mostly align with hers. On a more personal level, I feel proud to support a female candidate for president. My political sensibilities, combined with my feminist ideals, make me one of the most fervent Hillary supporters.
That’s why, on the evening of July 28, as I watched Hillary accept the Democratic Party’s formal nomination to be the President of the United States, I couldn’t help but get a little verklempt. For the first time in our country’s two hundred and forty years, a woman is within reach of the presidency. As Hillary so eloquently said that night, “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
Hillary Clinton’s name will go down in history books as the woman who shattered our political culture’s highest glass ceiling. My eight-year-old self, sixteen-year-old self, and future self will always be grateful to her for opening up the sky up for American girls.
How to cite this page
Richmond, Abby. "Hillary, My Heroine." 18 August 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 17, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/hillary-my-heroine>.