#ImWithHer – And Here’s Why


By Jillian Stacia

Today I witnessed one of my personal heroes, Hillary Clinton, become the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. I am absolutely ecstatic to witness such an important moment in history.

But I’m also disappointed. And a little sad. 

Because even though I am 100% thrilled about this, many people, particularly in my generation, are not. Since election season began, I’ve been asked time and time again about why I support Hillary. I’ve been accused of “betraying my generation” and being “manipulated by the media” and having been “brainwashed by the establishment.”

I could go into detail about why I support Hillary as a politician. I could describe why I support her as a feminist. But mainly, my admiration for Hillary comes from my respect for her as a person.

When I first took an interest in Hillary, it was during Bill Clinton’s impeachment. While everyone was focused on the President, I was mesmerized by the First Lady. Imagine, I thought to myself, having to go through that kind of pain in front of the entire country. I watched in awe as she stood by her husband, head held high. She never flinched.

Even at nine, I was blown away. In that moment, I saw strength and dignity and grace.

Most of the public, however, disagreed. The media said horrible and unfair things. If I had been her, I would have been destroyed. I’d still be in my cave, hiding and avoiding all contact with the outside world.

Not Hillary.

Instead, she spent the next ten years fighting back. Fighting the media. Fighting her reputation. Fighting the very establishment she is now accused of embodying. She fought for years, relentlessly and gracefully, just to get a seat at the table.

I’ve often thought about why she does it. Why does a woman who is repeatedly mocked and criticized in the media continue to put herself in that kind of situation? I have to believe it is because she truly feels called to serve, that she loves this line of work, and that she is committed to helping others.

I watched in horror and disappointment and rage when she was, once again, the center of sexist remarks during the 2008 election. I couldn’t believe the rude and degrading comments, the way the media criticized her voice, her outfits, her hairstyle. The way reporters mocked her on air. The nutcracker doll with her face on it.

I remember thinking, what more can this woman possibly go through? How much more criticism can she possibly take?

And then she came back, eight years later, to run in this election. Except this time, she wasn’t the outsider, she was the establishment. She was “just another politician”. She was accused of not representing the people.

Well, I can’t speak for all of the people, but she sure represents me. She represents a woman who has been through hell and back, who has fought her way through personal, cultural, and institutional sexism. Who has been kicked and insulted and degraded time and time again. Who has never backed down.

She is resilient. She is strong. She is graceful. More than that, she has taught me to be resilient and strong and graceful in a culture where sexism still very much exists.

That’s the kind of leader I want. That’s the kind of person I want in the White House.

Regardless of your political affiliations, I hope you can challenge yourself to think of Hillary Clinton in a different light. Instead of focusing on her as a politician, take a moment and think about the woman behind it all: a brave, strong, fearless leader who never stopped fighting. If you can do nothing else, at least respect the fact that she never gave up.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. The views and opinions expressed in Contributing Writer articles reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site.

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{featured image via flickr / by jamelah e.}