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To the ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits’

I hope that at least some of you all got to watch Hillary Clinton’s speech Tuesday night. (If you did, you’ll get the reference in my title).

Whether you are Democrat or Republican, one cannot deny the power of Sen. Clinton’s words and her mastery at rhetoric.

I truly believe that Clinton’s words did a great deal to unify the party and get her supporters to back Obama, even if he was less than their first choice for president. She showed a lot of grace and class on her part in her backing of her former opponent without sarcasm or bitterness in her tone as she spoke. I thought it was even more classy of her to, even when criticizing McCain, to emphasize her respect and personal like of him as both a man and as a war hero, despite disagreeing with his policies and ideas as a politician.

I’ve always been a huge fan and admirer of Hillary Clinton, ever since I did a report on her in fourth grade, and have since wanted to meet her and her husband, whom I also admire and have always admired greatly - honestly, I believe that the whole Monica Lewinsky incident was blown out of proportion by the media. One can imagine my extreme disappointment when Hillary, after losing the nomination for the Democratic party, I just barely missed meeting her due to a lack of credentials for floor access when the Pepsi Center was a mere 15-minute bus drive away.

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Her speech, however, though perhaps not as emotional as Michelle Obama’s, was every bit as powerful and she continues to motivate and inspire me to reach for my dreams and I do so hope that she will run again come 2016.

She opened the door for more women and young ladies and her strength in the face of adversity and defeat is incredible and gives me faith in the female politicians of tomorrow.

On the subject of strong women, the faculty adviser for my pod, Monica Yancey, mentioned that her mother told her she came from a long line of strong women. As she spoke (and got a little emotional at the accomplishments of Clinton and women as a whole since the Seneca Falls Convention), I really felt that strength from her. But the best and strongest speaker today was actually a fill-in for a speaker who couldn’t make it to come talk to us.

She was an African American assemblywoman from New York, and she was amazing. I didn’t catch her name, but she was so bold and her words were so incredibly powerful. I might even go far as to say that she was even more powerful than Michelle Obama on opening day of the convention. She had such a refreshing sense of humor, and she didn’t mince words at all: she was bold, direct, and to the point the whole time, because as she said, “if I tell the truth now, then I won’t have to try remember what I said 10 years from now.”

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Not just that, but I found myself agreeing with every single point she made. There was one specific thing I remember above all in her speech was her caveat to all politicians and people in general: “Do not climb the ladder to the top on the hands of others, because if their fingers are bruised on the way up, they won’t be able to catch you on the way down.”

That really hit home for me because it was just so true on so many levels, and especially in today’s politics of mudslinging and negativity and digging out the skeletons in everyone’s closets. And it is SO true about the bruised fingers, because what some modern politicians don’t realize is that they won’t stay in office forever, and when the do retire, if they had scratched their way to the top, it will come back to bite them.

Today, August 26, 2008, is the 88th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which finally gave women the right to vote. Hillary Clinton has become the first female candidate who was actually taken seriously, having won 23 primaries. We have made so much progress in the years since the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.

History is taking place right here and right now. We are starting to get involved again with politics after a couple of decades of overall withdrawal, and whether you choose to vote for Obama or McCain, this will remain a historic election and will open the door in the future for more female and African American candidates in 2012 and beyond, not only in the Democratic party, but even among the more conservative Republican party.

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