Oh Captain! My Captain! what do we tell our girls?
So what do we tell our girls?
Me and my sister were talking about the American elections last night. We never even discussed the American elections prior to last night because it was too sensitive, too much was at stake.
I had deliberately avoided calling her when I heard the results because she was a diehard Clinton supporter. Even when Clinton stood against Obama in the primaries she supported her. Her reason being that she had felt more discrimination as a woman than a as black person.
I, on the other hand had felt both. But having had more terrible experiences with racism, I felt strongly that the race barriers should be broken first. Then surely the misogynistic glass ceiling will shatter next or so I hoped.
So, I finally called Adomaa late in the evening and we talked.
We both had had that terrible foreboding that Hillary Clinton would not win but we had hoped with all our might that we would be proven wrong. And as we discussed our reasons why we knew Hillary Clinton would lose (which of course were the same but I don’t care to go into it now) We realised how badly we wanted a win for Hillary.
For Adomaa, it was obvious. She is a girl’s girl. She loves the progress of women, champions women’s affairs, defends women and protects women. She has lots of girlfriends and she tries to keeps in touch with them. She loves to mentor younger women. Even the few friends I have like her more than me.
I am not at all like my sister. I am not a girl’s girl. To tell the truth. I have been betrayed by more women than I care to count and view other women wearily and suspiciously. And although I have faced discrimination as a woman, whenever it came to me achieving something, I have met more resistance and treachery from women than men.
But on the night of the 8th of November 2016, as I went to bed my heart beat with excitement. The prospect of hearing the words ‘Madam President’ in reference to the president of the most powerful nation on this earth was all too enticing.
I dared to hope.
I dared to hope because of the woman I hope my daughter will become.
Of course, I live in what one may argue is the most successful nation in Europe now, Germany and it is run by a strong woman, Angela Merkel is a great example for my daughter.
But America was the prize.
It was the jewel in all our eyes. We Africans have always been taught to look up to America. If America does it then it is scared, written in stone. America was our beacon of hope, democracy and equality.
I dared to hope for my daughter that in her generation, in her time and mine, especially in these formative years. She would see a woman break the highest glass ceiling in the world.
I wanted to say look Christina! Look at Madam President, Hillary Clinton! The president of the United States of America.
I wanted to say to her see what preparation, hard work, sacrifice and experience has wrought. And in my own perverse African parenting style use her Hillary Clinton’s name indiscriminately to motivate my child to excel.
‘You better go and read those books if you want to be the next Hillary Clinton’
I dared to hope that on the 9th of November, Americans will rise and prove my pessimistic heart wrong. So that I can say to my daughter, not only does your skin colour not matter but your gender is no barrier.
It was something that both me and my sister ached for and after this sad reflection that it was not to be. The question we had to ask ourselves now was;
What do we tell our girls now?
Can I say to my child that hard work and getting the necessary experience pays of?
Hillary had worked hard.
Academically she excelled, went to Yale and became a lawyer. Lectured at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She rose to the top of the prestigious firm she joined and became partner. She ran her own firm successfully even as the first lady of Arkansas.
Leadership and Political experience, she had it in spades. She was a student leader. She worked on various political campaigns both republican and democratic. She was wife of the governor of Arkansas. She was a first Lady of the United States during which she became the first first lady to win elective office and became a US Senator. She later became the Secretary of under President Obama. Donald Trump on the other hand, no political experience.
She won three political debates during this campaign laid out concise plans for the economy, immigration, health care and jobs. Donald Trump wants to build a fucking wall.
Can I honestly say to my daughter ‘Don’t be a bully, respect all people, be positive’
Really? What profit was in that for Hillary?
Hillary fought a clean positive campaign, Trump abused, bullied, insulted and tweeted false, racist and dishonest shit. He had the gall to call her a NASTY WOMAN during a political debate.
Can I honestly say, ‘people will judge you by your actions and the merit of your work, so do the right thing?’
Did the majority of the American people use that yardstick to measure Trump? I cringe when people claim, Trump is a shrewd business man and can provide jobs. The man filed for bankruptcy four times! Donald Trump has not declared his taxes! Don’t even start me on the Trump Foundation. Donald Trump sexually and inappropriately touches women, talks about doing anything to women and grabbing their pussy.
Hillary advocates and has always advocated for disadvantaged people, men, women and children all over the world.
So tell me, what more should Hillary Clinton have done, America? This woman has a resume that no MAN in America can stand up to.
The truth is she could do no more.
Our elders say when a child washes their hands, they can eat with elders. Hillary Rodham Clinton spent years washing her hands but cannot eat because she is a woman.
So now it looks like we have to tell our girls that there are people in this world who would actually prefer a dodgy looking, inexperienced, foul mouthed, racist, bullying bigot man to you because you are a woman. Did you even see the look on Donald Trump’s face as the results rolled in? He himself was absolutely shocked! He couldn’t believe that people could be so…… for lack of a better word, stupid.
After the most gracious concession speech I had ever heard in my life, I cried bitter tears. Like Funmi Iyanda put it ‘I cried the tears she held back’.
Go well Madam Hillary!
You did us proud!
And at that I can tell my daughter.