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Hillary!
Norma Smith Olson, left, and Kathy Magnuson

"A Hillary Clinton presidency would not get rid of sexism, but it would change the conversation, raise awareness and acknowledge the value of women's leadership in a new and powerful way."

by Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson


This year's national political discourse is a blatant example of us and them, insiders and outsiders, haves and have-nots, Democrats and Republicans. In this issue, where we share stories on the theme of being "together and apart," we also make our endorsement for president.

For the 2016 election we are endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States - but not for just the obvious reason (that she's a woman). We appreciate her experience. She has more domestic and foreign policy experience than any other candidate. We admire her progressive values, especially on women's equality, gun violence prevention, immigration and reproductive and mental health issues. We would encourage her to be even more progressive!

Some people have expressed concerns that a woman as president may not be tough enough. Clinton knows hard work. She has made mistakes and learned and recovered from them. She has faced public betrayal by her husband and attacks from Congress as the first lady and as secretary of state.

We think she is tough - and she is not afraid to show her kinder, gentler side - which we sorely need in our country. In a recent speech Clinton said, "We need more love and kindness in America... We have to stand with each other, hold each other up, lift each other up, move together into the future."

And yes, we think her gender does matter. We also support Clinton because she is a woman. In this issue with a "together and apart" theme, we are well aware that women have been political outsiders for far too long.

How far would a female candidate get if she had grey, messy hair; frumpy clothes; were a self-proclaimed Socialist; a former mayor of a college town and a senator from Vermont?

How far would a female candidate get if she were rich and flashy, on her third husband, a reality TV star and had a passion for kicking people out of the room?

How far would a male candidate get if he were Ivy League-educated, Democratic, a former secretary of state and senator from New York with years of experience in the White House?

It seems that even when the woman plays by all the rules, she is demonized for playing by the rules.

We appreciate Bernie Sanders' progressive, liberal ideas - and we think that if he were a woman he would have been out of the campaign long ago.

We live in a culture where our ideas of what it means to be a good leader and what it means to be a good woman can be mutually exclusive.

Obama's historic presidency did not get rid of racism but it moved that agenda ahead. A Hillary Clinton presidency would not get rid of sexism, but it would change the conversation, raise awareness and acknowledge the value of women's leadership in a new and powerful way.

In this issue we share stories about being apart and together. As we move toward the November elections, we're aware of the challenges the next president will face to unite the deep factions in our country. We believe Clinton - who is both tough and thoughtful - is the right candidate to bring our fractured nation together.

In the end she doesn't need our adoration or our appreciation for her hair or clothing. She doesn't need recognition of this political history in the making. She needs us to consider her through a lens that does not include gender discrimination. She needs us to call out bias when we hear it. She needs women and men to appreciate strong women in a new way. She needs our votes.

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