Words by Susan McMillan
Brooklyn, New York
I am honored to have joined the millions of women at the inaugural Women’s March in Washington D.C., on January 21, 2017. Luckily, I got to do it again at the anniversary march in New York City in January 2018, in solidarity with some of the same dedicated Americans, standing up for our democracy. I am not at all surprised at the chaos attended on American life since the outcome of the 2016 election, given the regressive socioeconomic policies of the current administration. I am disconcerted by the prolonged unease that gives rise to events such as these protests, which command millions of ordinary Americans to take to the streets in every state, in every town, and in countries all over the world. Through it all, I remain hopeful as I continue to be inspired by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s resolve. I am comforted that, even today, despite the shadowy circumstances that snatched victory from her capable and deserving hands, she persists.
As the first woman nominated as the presidential candidate of a major political party in a U.S. general election, Hillary has cleared a path for women everywhere to move forward, unafraid and unbowed. Incredibly, most of these women, owing to their economic standing and the fact they are female in male-dominated industries, had never imagined running for office. While I am not amongst the courageous new political office seekers, I have felt the need to unwaveringly support these women following the outcome of the election. I have also stayed highly engaged with the people I was fortunate to meet during Hillary’s rise to prominence on the campaign trail. Some of these women (and a few men, too) have become my friends, colleagues, and intellectual guideposts with whom to plan events, scheme, and cry. We celebrate every new victory, and we rebuild from every failure. Together, we support each other in the fight for equity and equality.
Every day, I am fueled by the passion of the millions of conscientious, inspiring Hillary supporters who, like me, have lived through #MeToo, and who work tirelessly for equal rights and social justice for women, immigrants, LGBTQ and the poor. As women continue to stand strong together, we are now experiencing a moment when many high-profile men are being outed and ousted from their positions of power, due to their own sordid aggressive sexual behavior. We (women/feminists/decent men) appreciate that finally, women are being listened to and are forcing meaningful action to address the sexual violence, abuse, and harassment that women have sustained, often in silence, for millennia. Unfortunately, women who speak out may not survive unscathed. Case in point: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand came under fire for calling on Senator Al Franken to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct, some to which he admitted. Although men are failing in their leadership, women are being blamed for not cleaning up their mess quietly and perfectly. We still have much work to do to combat sexism.
Like Col. Jessep in A Few Good Men, most powerful men wielding their big sticks honestly believe we need them on that wall. I think the #MeToo movement is proving them wrong. We’ve always known that women can stand in the breach together and fill those vacated boardrooms, courtrooms, senate seats, tech jobs, studio heads, Head of State…So, let’s continue to speak out, act up, hold hands and run for something! Thank you Hillary for standing with us and always reminding us that we are stronger together.
This essay appears on pages 68-69 of The Revolution Is Female.