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This is a picture of my daughter Lydia and her pantsuit wearing feminist mother on our way to vote for Hillary Clinton. .
I wrote the following blog yesterday. It was ready to publish first thing this morning. I so yearned for this moment that I could feel my daughter's warm body in my arms, her earnest eyes looking at me, as I told her a woman was now our president. Now I must tell my daughter that sometimes a bully wins, and that when a male bully faces a woman in America he will win. I must prepare her for a deeply misogynistic culture.
And yes this is what it comes down to for me. Misogyny. The dislike of, contempt for, the ingrained prejudice against women. What other explanation is there? How else would an ill prepared, angry narcissist win the presidency against one of the most qualified, intelligent candidates in American history? I think the answer is simple: America is still a deeply misogynistic culture.
May this hopeful, premature blog be a lament. May it be a remind us of who we should be. May it propel us to continue the struggle:
This moment will forever mark our nation. Many powerful essays will claim this day in American history. But I only have one simple story to share, one simple name: Lydia.
Lydia is my seven year old daughter. She has come to political consciousness under a black president. This summer she watched her first political convention and saw two women own the podium: Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. This fall she watched snippets of the presidential debates and shouted with glee as Hillary Clinton gracefully and intelligently stood up to a bully. Over these past few months she has also been flexing her muscles and proclaiming, “I’m a strong woman!” We didn’t teach her to do this.
I have waited for this moment since I was 17 when I understood for the first time that my gender limited my opportunities. I have ached for more women in powerful positions since I began a profession dominated by men.
My daughter hasn’t waited, ached, or yearned for this historical moment. Instead, she will simply wake this morning and embrace this moment. Her sleepy pajamed body and blonde bedhead will shuffle down the stairs. As she curls into my lap, I will tell her that Hillary Clinton, a woman, has been elected president. I will tell her to seal this moment forever in her memory. I will tell her of all the women who struggled tirelessly for this day to happen. And I will remind her that all day long--and for the rest of her life--she should continue to flex her arms and declare, “I’m a strong woman!”
For this day I am deeply grateful.
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.