And why can’t we be inspired by her? Clinton famously declared “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights” when she spoke at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, in 1995. In 1997, as First Lady, she worked with Republicans and Democrats to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health care to more than eight million children and has reduced the number of uninsured children by half. After September 11th, as a New York senator, Clinton helped to secure funding to track the health of first responders, and she has worked to expand health benefits for members of the National Guard, the Reserves, and their families. As Secretary of State, she helped open the United States’ relations with Cuba and negotiate sanctions against Iran. She also oversaw the diplomatic response to the Arab Spring. Clinton has championed children’s causes since she was the First Lady of Arkansas, and she has a long history with the Children’s Defense Fund.
Our culture is stubborn; it changes at a glacial pace. If we look at Hillary Clinton from another angle, the enthusiasm gap is less remarkable than we thought. Perhaps it is the expected response to a complex woman who has a long and tangled history in politics. Perhaps the ambivalence toward Hillary Clinton is evidence that we still have a long way to go before we openly accept a woman who spills over the strict parameters and rigid boundaries that our culture constructs. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will become the first woman President, and her victory will be a transformative moment in our nation’s history. There will be tears, hugs, and prayers.