This Week In Women: Ladies Are Front and Center at the DNC
We may be a little biased, but the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was much better for women than the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Maybe it was due to the abundance of female speakers, the fact that the Democratic VP doesn’t want to regulate the hell out of women’s uteruses, or the simple fact that Hillary Clinton is, you know, a woman. More likely, it’s a combination of all three. We’ve made it to the promised land, folks: here’s a nice, pleasant edition of this week in women.
A History Lesson From Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama may be the most graceful human being in existence. Not only has she handled eight years in the spotlight as First Lady—she’s done so despite being incessantly denigrated by conservatives. That’s enough to destroy any mere mortal’s self-esteem, but Obama has dealt with it incredibly well.
Her 14-minute-long speech at the DNC hit every point: the vitriol the Obamas have endured while in office; the difficulties of raising children while in the White House; the difficulties of raising children, period; Hillary Clinton’s public record; the Pulse attack in Orlando and other mass shootings; and the constant battle against racism the Obama family has had to fight firsthand.
The best part? Obama’s subtle takedown of Donald Trump’s infamous slogan (you know the one).
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” she said. “And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States. So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again.”
Unsurprisingly, some people didn’t take too well to that comment. Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh said the Obamas needed to “get over” the fact that slavery happened.
“They love to wax eloquent about the early days and how they were 3/5 of a person, even though they never have been 3/5 of a person,” Limbaugh said. “He doesn’t even have any slave blood. She does, but he doesn’t, but they will admit they’re never going to let it go.”
Meanwhile, Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly argued that although slaves built the White House, those slaves were “well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.”
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) July 28, 2016
It was a typical Michelle Obama moment: an eloquent, beautiful speech by an eloquent, beautiful black woman, that was mocked and picked apart by people who have spent the last four years publicly disparaging the Obamas.
Mothers of the Movement Remind Us: Black Lives Matter
“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine,” began Geneva Reed-Veal’s DNC speech. “I watched as my daughter was lowered into the ground in a coffin. She was my fourth of five daughters, and she was gone.”
Sandra Bland died in a jail cell after being pulled over and arrested during an illegal traffic stop. According to the police, she hanged herself; however, many activists believe she was killed by police and that her death was covered up. The officers involved in her death were not initially indicted—but one was later indicted for perjury and fired for mishandling a case.
“I even warned [my son] that because he was a young, black man, he would meet people who didn’t value his life. That is a conversation no parent should ever have to have,” Jordan Davis’ mom, Lucia McBath, said. “Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say black lives matter.”
While people on the Trump team are claiming “all lives matter” and calling for the arrest of black lives matter protesters, the Clinton campaign’s decision to include these grieving mothers during the convention suggests a commitment to police reform, to end to gun violence, and most importantly, to end systemic racism—which is exactly what we need.
Hillary Clinton Shatters the Glass Ceiling
Whether or not you agree with her policies, you have to admit that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be historic. Not only would she be the first woman president in the history of the United States, she would also be the most qualified on paper.
That’s why, regardless of any sort of bias, it was so fulfilling to watch Hillary Clinton literally shatter the glass ceiling on the first night of the convention.
On the final night of the convention, following an introduction from her daughter, Chelsea, Hillary finally spoke, hitting many of the points brought up by others over the course of the convention.
“Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president,” she declared. “Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come. Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.”
This was an incredible moment for all women: black women, immigrant women, working women, and everyone in between—not just for Hillary Clinton.
The only person this wasn’t a victory for? Elizabeth Banks, whose “fight song” will be stuck in my head for the rest of my life. But maybe that’s what she wanted.
Stay tuned to Milk for more This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.