Sunday, June 8, 2008

Letter to my Daughters

Dear Jadyn and Liana:

I'm glad you were sleeping Saturday afternoon. I'm glad your little eyes were closed shut and your breathing was slow and deep and restful. I'm glad.

Because just one floor below, I couldn't keep it together. As Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke about being a woman, who ran for president, and lost the bid and cracking the glass ceiling, I was a blubbering mess.

Because of you.

It stopped being about me long ago.

All too soon you will learn what it is like to walk around this country -- this earth -- as a young woman. This is no small endeavor. There will be obstacles. You will find yourself in predicaments. You must be smart.

We must stick together. We must stand up for each other. We must try and stick together. We must cheer for each other.

And, strong women, my girls, stand alone. You must know this. You must be prepared. You must stand strong. And never falter. Ever.

Mrs. Clinton said it best:

Now, on a personal note, when I was asked what it means to be a woman running for president, I always gave the same answer, that I was proud to be running as a woman, but I was running because I thought I'd be the best president. But...

But I am a woman and, like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious, and I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us.

I ran as a daughter who benefited from opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother who worries about my daughter's future and a mother who wants to leave all children brighter tomorrows.

To build that future I see, we must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and their mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay, and equal respect.

Let us ... Let us resolve and work toward achieving very simple propositions: There are no acceptable limits, and there are no acceptable prejudices in the 21st century in our country.

You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories ... unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States. And that is truly remarkable, my friends.

To those who are disappointed that we couldn't go all of the way, especially the young people who put so much into this campaign, it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours.

Always aim high, work hard and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you're knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on.

As we gather here today in this historic, magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.

Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it ... and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

This is not the scrapbook I wanted to keep for you, dear daughters. But, nonetheless, you will have a scrapbook from this very historic election. Just be sure that it will include a little more than his-story. Her-story will be equally covered.

And, I hope it all leads to your own stories to cherish forever.

Thank you for visiting today.

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Carey said...

It is a very sad moment in history.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I've said for years that we'd see a person of color in the White House before a woman, and this is something I hate being right about.

The same words made me a blubbering mess too -- shortly after being an angry, bitter mess. I can't even write about it yet.

Hugs, Shawn.

Threeundertwo said...

Beautifully written. We are living in an amazing moment in history. I gave you a digg.

Shannon said...

She's so right, though...she has paved the way, made the road smoother for the next woman to rule the world. :-)

I love the part about the light shining through the 18 million cracks. That's such a beautiful image, it gives me chills.

Karen said...

Perhaps it will be easier, perhaps not. They never respected her more than when she quit. When she went back to doing what they expected, the way they expected it.

marta said...

It never ceases to amaze me how dreadful so much of the world see us because we are women. I'm worn out from it.

LauraC said...

I am very proud that she led the way for us. The revolution may not happen overnight but it is happening. I think of how far our society has come in just my lifetime and I know my kids will carry on that tradition.

The year I was born was the first year they allowed women at Caltech and MIT. When I graduated, it was 25% women. This year's freshman class will have 40% women. There are little pieces of hope everywhere.

writermeeg said...

I'm blubbering again reading your words and the comments. Well said, all. All I could manage to do was post every word Hillary said!