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Hillary Makes His ... er... Herstory!

June 7, 2016

ANOTHER CEILING SHATTERED! Nearly eight years to the day after she conceded to Barack Obama that even her 18 million cracks (votes) weren't enough to shatter the "highest, hardest glass ceiling," Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) has now made history, or I prefer, her-story! For the first time in my nation's 240 year history, a woman leader has clinched the magical 2,383 delegates needed to become the presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party.

Witnessing this unprecedented milestone by an America woman leader, brought back both sweet and bitter memories for me. Shaking Shirley Chisholm's hand during her 1972 presidential campaign. Recalling exactly where I was standing as I watched Geraldine Ferraro accept the vice presidential nomination in 1984. Tasting the tears that roll down my face every time I watch the movie, Iron-Jawed Angels depicting American Suffragettes imprisoned, beaten and force fed for daring to demand the right to vote. This is not just Hillary Clinton's journey; it has been one of the defining journeys of my lifetime. 

Most of you know that I supported HIllary Clinton in her 2008 presidential bid, and that I fully support her in 2016.  But many of you, particularly my global friends who are watching closely from afar, have asked me, "Anne, could Americans actually choose a brash billionaire and former reality TV star as President of the United States over a former U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and one of the most admired women in the world? That's the AGONIZING QUESTION OF THE MOMENT and one that is being debated ad nauseum by U.S. news media. 

For those of you who have asked me, "Are you worried?" My answer is: NO. For three major reasons.  

  • Her Credentials & Experience: Hillary Rodham Clinton may be the most qualified candidate ever to run for President of the United States. Of course, it should come as no surprise that the first woman to make the history she made today would have to be vastly superior to her male competition. In every professional arena and on every continent, women repeatedly need to be twice as qualified as their male peers to be considered half as good. If you are still unclear about Clinton's presidential credentials, experience and temperament, I urge you to take the time to listen to the defining speech she gave last week in San Diego before military families. Long-time political journalists are calling it, "Clinton's best speech ever."  
  • I have deep confidence in the wisdom of the American people. Yes, the next few months leading up to our November election will be ugly, beginning with the political conventions this summer where violent protests are likely. But once the presidential debates are over, the dust settles and American citizens enter the privacy of the voting booth, I believe they will entrust our country to the steadiest, most experienced and most knowledgeable hands. 
  • I'm Acting, not Agonizing. In the meantime, there is nothing worse than sitting around, wringing your hands and agonizing about something you fear might happen. The best remedy is action. I learned this lesson from reading research done after World War II with people who helped Jews escape the Nazis and those who didn't but wished they had. The powerful theme that came through loud and clean in the research was this: "Those who agonize don't act. Those who act, don't agonize." Whether you are worrying about the outcome of the upcoming election that has implications for the entire world or about a more personal challenge, don't waste time simply agonizing. I urge you to Stand Up. Find Your Courage. Act Upon Your Convictions. Do not be silent because others wish you would. But also make sure your actions are constructive to the solution, rather than simply adding to the problem at hand. 

Fellow Passengers on Spaceship Earth: I have just returned from the outstanding World Cornerstone Conference of the International Women's Forum.  Seek, Soar, Solve was the theme of the gathering, which attracted nearly 600 women leaders from 26 countries to Tel Aviv, Israel. The content for IWF Conferences is consistently cutting edge, with a focus on: idea exchange, inspiration and advancing better leadership. We learned from top Israeli and global experts about ground-breaking developments in artificial intelligence, space exploration, cybersecurity and drip irrigation (which is transforming Israel from a desert to an ever-greener oasis).

One of the highlights for me was getting to know U.S. astronaut Cady Coleman, a participant in the panel on space exploration. Cady spent six months orbiting the earth in the Space Station. You could hear a pin drop when she spoke eloquently about all of us being “fellow passengers on spaceship earth” and challenged everyone in the room to do more to encourage girls and young women to get excited about STEM fields. She made me proud to be an American. That's Cady in the center of this photo taken at the IWF Closing Gala in Tel Aviv.

Prior to this inspiring conference, several other friends/Michigan IWF members spent a little over a week travelling in Israel. We learned so much about this ancient and holy land, as well as about Israel, which celebrated its 68th birthday while we were there.   

It was also a thrill to meet and talk with Israeli female soldiers guarding the border along the Jordan River. All young people, female as well as male, serve in the Israeli army for three years, beginning at age 18. I'd love to see something similar in the United States, with our youth doing some type of national service (lots of possibilities in addition to military) before heading for college. Maturity could be one of the best solutions to the binge drinking and campus sexual assaults that are damaging so many young lives. 

Remember: Don't just agonize; act. Anne 

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