By the time you read this, you likely would have watched the latest Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee. Or at least watched some clips, or heard some reviews. The consensus seems to be that the debate is unlikely to change many voters’ minds on which candidate they support.
Lately, I’ve been getting questions about where I stand with Hillary vs. Bernie. Mostly because I have been pretty quiet about this. It’s a sensitive topic for me, as I know it is for many women.
In 2008, while I wanted to stand with Hillary, I could not. I felt that she was running her campaign “like a man,” and therefore I felt betrayed, unhopeful and uninspired by her. While I would have loved to support a Democratic woman candidate with a strong record on supporting women’s rights, like Hillary, I felt that the dilution of her feminine voice and her decision to try and emulate a masculine “Commander in Chief” was an insult to us as women. Therefore, I could not support her candidacy.
I voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
I felt that his vision for change and his message of hope were inspiring, and that he embodied the kind of leadership I was looking for. Authentic leadership — honoring the masculine and the feminine, and the civil rights of all people.
He didn’t feel “old school” to me, like Hillary did at at the time.
He felt fresh. A new paradigm leader.
Last year, just before Hillary announced her candidacy for U.S. President, I went up to Silicon Valley to hear her speak at a women’s leadership conference. Admittedly, I went with the motivation to be “won over” by her so that I could support her this time around.
I was very pleased and inspired by her as Secretary of State and the stance she took for the advancement of women and girls the world over. I figured we had evolved so much since 2008 in terms of bringing the conversation of women’s and girls’ rights to the forefront, and allowing women to be women in leadership, as opposed to women trying to imitate and “be accepted” by men.
Because of this, I assumed that Hillary would be at ease and outspoken about things like gender income inequality, violence against women, the ridiculous absence of paid family leave in the workplace, lack of quality, affordable daycare, women’s reproductive rights, and the overall rampant gender discrimination in our culture.
While she spoke on these things to a degree, it still felt like she was holding back. There was a passion missing. An authenticity missing. Her speech felt “vanilla” to me.
I was disappointed, to say the least.
In fact, this entire experience threw me for a loop for quite some time.
To process it, I wrote about it on The Huffington Post.
That helped. Writing always helps.
But there was still something deeper I needed to dig into.
And so I did.
What I discovered is that instead of shaming Hillary for not being who I want her to be, I found a deeper layer of compassion for her.
I found myself feeling her struggle of trying to make it in a “man’s world” to be where she is today. I found myself seeing her as the archetypal woman of her generation rising into leadership in a male paradigm. I felt the pain of that. I felt the struggle. And I felt the sacrifices she has made.
In many ways, she had to give up her authentic self.
Although a lifelong feminist, Hillary had to bury “the feminine” within her.
And it was at that point that I made a vow that I would stand with her in this election — no matter the ambiguity she presents at times, no matter the seeming lack of authenticity, no matter the frustration this brings me. I would stand with her.
Why, you may ask?
Because I believe that electing Hillary Clinton president of the United States will have a global impact like we have never seen before. It will start slowly. But there will be a ripple effect.
Women and girls will start to remember themselves as leaders.
Women and girls will no longer measure themselves against a male norm that they will never live up to, because, to put it simply, they are not men.
With a woman (who stands for women) at the helm of our country, women and girls will feel more confident and entitled to be in leadership, no matter whether it’s in the classroom, in the boardroom, or on Capitol Hill.
You might think this is all a bit of magical thinking, and I’ll give you that — maybe it is. It is, however, how I feel about the situation.
Do I think a woman leader can save the world?
I think many women leaders can save the world.
As I have often shared, I believe that when we balance the masculine with the feminine both within ourselves, and within our worldly leadership, many of the world’s ills will be resolved.
This includes income inequality, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, violence (esp. violence against women women and girls), gun control, global warming, pollution of our food chain, corruption in the criminal justice system, lack of access to education, war, poverty, and basic civil rights abuses — to name a few.
And why do I think Hillary Clinton is so important to this formula?
Hillary Clinton holds the projection of so many of our issues around “women” and “women in leadership,” and she’s had the endurance to take this on. It’s a huge job.
I believe she is clearing the karma for all of us.
She is helping to un-lodge the shadow material around the feminine and bring it into the light of day for healing.
As vitriolic as it can be out there for her, she’s still standing, and she’s still going for it!
This is a woman I admire.
Hillary Clinton has my vote.
And while I admire Bernie too, and agree with much of his platform, I’ve already committed to my candidate.
And so it is.
(If you’d like to see my Letter to Hillary published yesterday in The Huffington Post about how I think she can gain trust among women voters, read here.)
Tabby Biddle is a women’s rights advocate, writer, and leadership coach, specializing in helping women find their voice. She is the author of the bestselling book, Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action. She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband, son and kitty cat. Learn more at tabbybiddle.com.
*The blog was first published on The Huffington Post.