Time for a wo­man, just not Hil­lary

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - Ruben Navarette Jr.

— The Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion re­minded me that I’m a sucker for “firsts.” The first this, the first that. Bro­ken bar­ri­ers. Pi­o­neers who take the ar­rows be­cause they’re brave enough to lead the way.

Let’s hear it for the first Latino to break into the top tier of the Cab­i­net and serve as at­tor­ney gen­eral, Al­berto Gon­za­les. Let’s have a round of ap­plause for the first African-Amer­i­can on the Supreme Court, Thur­good Mar­shall. Let’s pay our re­spects to the first Amer­i­can wo­man in space, Sally Ride.

The first per­son through the door never has it easy. Peo­ple don’t know what to make of you, be­cause they’re used to some­thing dif­fer­ent. And so they tend to show their ig­no­rance fre­quently. But bar­ri­ers need to be knocked down, and there is noth­ing wrong with show­ing pride when they crum­ble and hon­or­ing those who swung the ham­mer and sent the pieces fly­ing.

And when we’re talk­ing about elec­tive of­fice or gov­ern­ment ap­point­ments, it’s also ap­pro­pri­ate to heap a lit­tle scorn on those across the aisle who played it safe and missed the chance to make his­tory.

For in­stance, when I think about the fact that Pres­i­dent Rea­gan made his­tory when he nom­i­nated San­dra Day O’Con­nor to sit on the Supreme Court, I can’t help but feel some con­tempt to­ward Jimmy Carter, Ger­ald Ford and Richard Nixon for not break­ing that bar­rier first. What stopped them?

And now that Democrats have made his­tory by nom­i­nat­ing the first wo­man from a ma­jor party to be pres­i­dent, it’s fair to ask why the GOP didn’t get there first. Repub­li­can El­iz­a­beth Dole ran for pres­i­dent in 2000, Michele Bach­mann in 2012, and Carly Fio­r­ina in 2016. None of th­ese women could get any real trac­tion in her own party.

So, on one level, I give the Democrats a lot of credit for what they’ve done. Their hearts are in the right place. I’m just not sure, at the mo­ment, where their heads are.

Be­cause in ad­di­tion to be­ing “Never Trump,” I’m also “Never Hil­lary.” I think the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee can’t be trusted to tell the truth any more than she could be trusted with top se­cret ma­te­rial in emails trans­mit­ted through her pri­vate server.

Still, the four-day event in Philadelphia pro­duced some re­ally ter­rific mo­ments. I es­pe­cially liked the part where Don­ald Trump was put in his place by both Pres­i­dent Obama and first lady Michelle Obama when they re­minded him that Amer­ica doesn’t need to be made great — be­cause it al­ready is great. I also en­joyed former Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton’s charm­ing ad­mis­sion that his life “re­ally took off when I met and fell in love with that girl.”

Yet, for me, as the fa­ther of two young girls who I want to see go as far as their gifts and grit will take them, the best part was Tues­day night’s theme of shat­ter­ing the glass ceil­ing — and what it would mean for Clin­ton to be­come the first fe­male pres­i­dent in the 240-year his­tory of this coun­try.

At the risk of rain­ing on what the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee in­tended to be a coro­na­tion, it’s worth tak­ing a minute to ac­knowl­edge what it doesn’t mean.

It doesn’t mean that, mag­i­cally, girls won’t have to put up with be­ing tracked in our pub­lic schools away from math and science and to­ward lan­guage arts. It doesn’t mean that young women will be any safer on col­lege cam­puses where sex­ual as­sault has be­come much too preva­lent. It doesn’t mean that women en­ter­ing the work­force will no longer have to put up with sex­ual ha­rass­ment or salary dis­par­i­ties or job dis­crim­i­na­tion. And it doesn’t mean that there will be a truce in the “mommy wars” and that pro­fes­sional women will stop feel­ing as though they’re be­ing torn apart by try­ing to have it all both at home and in the work­place.

Elect­ing Clin­ton will spare the coun­try from the calamity of a Don­ald Trump pres­i­dency, and per­haps that is enough. But it won’t spare mil­lions of Amer­i­can women from the chal­lenges they face, the in­dig­ni­ties they en­dure, and the ob­sta­cles they must over­come. For most women in this coun­try, even with a wo­man serv­ing as pres­i­dent, life won’t change.

Hav­ing said that, it’s time for this bar­rier to be bro­ken. Look at Amer­i­can his­tory, and the state of the world. Men have done enough dam­age, don’t you think? It’s why I’m ea­ger to vote for a wo­man for pres­i­dent. Just not this wo­man.

Ruben Navarette Jr. is a syn­di­cated colum­nist from the Wash­ing­ton Post. His email is reuben@ruben­navarette.com.


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