What if Hillary had won?

November 8, 2016 – As the country sat in front of their TVs and computer screens, we watched in real-time as Politics as Usual was turned on its head by a man promising to “Drain the swamp.” But this isn’t about him…

This is about earlier that day when a mother brought her 10-year-old daughter with her to the neighborhood church serving as the area polling station. As the mother picked up her voting ballot, she turned to her daughter and asked her to remember that moment, because in all likelihood, they would both be witnessing the first woman becoming President of the United States. While the daughter shifted her feet in boredom, the young mother smiled as she filled in the oval next to Hillary Clinton’s name. This was a defining moment for many women who were excited to being a part of history.

That was four years ago. As television anchors and news pundits reported the voting numbers rolling in as the map behind them turned red, a large segment of the female population across the nation slowly realized that they would have to wait yet another four years, if not much longer before they could show their daughters that they really can be anything they want to be, even President of the United States.

But, what if Hillary had won?

Politics aside (Yes, I know I’m reaching here), what would it have meant for the college-aged woman to be able to point to President Hillary Clinton as the reason for going into law or politics? Women have crashed through the glass ceiling in virtually every single profession. They are running companies, traveling through space, and serving on the Supreme Court. They just haven’t cracked the ceiling of the Oval Office.

Locally, we have achieved a greater balance of a diverse government, with several women having served as Mayor of Kalamazoo, and Karianne Thomas is currently Kalamazoo’s first Public Safety Chief. One only has to look at Michigan’s current governor to see that, overall, women have attained recognition for having leadership skills. These women can serve as inspiration to ALL young people wondering if they have what it takes to serve in the police force, for our city and state’s government, and beyond.

So, what if Hillary had won? The earth wouldn’t have fallen off its axis as many were predicting. No, life would have gone on as normal, but I would like to think that she would have straightened it out just a bit. Girls deserve to have a role model in every facet of life. They can be firefighters, football coaches and farmers. In 2020, there should be no shards of glass on anyone’s shoulders, yet, here we are. While she didn’t win, Hillary Clinton was a trailblazer, smoothing the road for the next generation of women daring enough to travel down it.       

Here’s a thought… let’s hold out hope that we will see a woman become President of the United States in our lifetime. Not because she’s a woman. Because she deserves to be there.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Women’s LifeStyle. Look for her debut novel, Chasing North Star in the fall of 2020. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

Finding our Voice Again

With attendance numbers topping three million, the inaugural Women’s March held in January of 2017 was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Celebrating the power of women, this peaceful movement grew quickly to advocate legislation and policies for all human rights. This year, the marches took place again throughout the world and closer to home in Kalamazoo.  Friends, sisters, grandmothers and daughters; all ages of women finding their voice again after too long.

Most young women today have little understanding of the battles their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers fought throughout history in an attempt for equal footing, or even just a step in the right direction for equal rights. While quite young, I had the pleasure of seeing feminism explode wide open with the actions of activists like Gloria Steinem. But somewhere along the way, the movement lost its way—pushed aside to make room for Barbie dolls and castles in the girls’ toy aisle at the department store.

And then our country became politically polarized to an extreme not seen in decades.

If nothing else, the rise of extremist viewpoints also gave a voice to a segment of the population that thought status quo was good enough. Women are again standing up and finding their voice.

H and SAnd girl, this time the world is listening.

Change often comes when the voice of many find a common cause. The #MeToo movement started with the courageous stand taken by a group of women in Hollywood—a change that has grown to include all occupations and situations involving sexual harassment. While the Time’s Up movement has resulted in career casualties and will no doubt bring more, it is the unavoidable consequence of a swinging pendulum that will bring real change for young women today and tomorrow.

During the telecast of this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the annual Cecil B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement. She gave a powerful acceptance speech, and wrapped up with the following…

…I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”

~~ Heidi McCrary

 

 

 

 

Run Like a Girl

Hilary run like a girlScene #1 – A Bowling Alley

As a natural athlete, a teenage girl goes bowling with her boyfriend who is new to the world of bowling shoes and this popular Michigan social activity. As the two played against each other, the distance between their scores grew wider as the girl consistently threw strikes and spares. But just when you thought that the girl was going to leave her boyfriend in the dust, a strange thing happened…

Suddenly, this over-achieving natural athlete started throwing gutter balls – laughing it off to having an off-day. It didn’t take long for her boyfriend to catch up to his girlfriend, and pass her by on his way to a winning day at the bowling alley. He, after all, had no problem with the notion of beating a girl at bowling.

Next is a similar scenario, but with a very different outcome…

Scene #2 – The Golf Course

With the encouragement of her boyfriend, a young lady decides to take up golf. After hitting the links with a borrowed driver and a 7 iron, this recent college grad not only kept up with her golf-crazy boyfriend, she actually had fun. Who has fun their first time out on a golf course?!

As she packed up her clubs after 12 holes on a 9-hole course, her boyfriend reassured her that she had it in her to be as great as any female golfer. To which she replied, “What do you mean, ‘female golfer?’ I can be as good as ANY man.”

With that declaration, I could not be more relieved to hear that not only is feminism ‘Not Dead’ with the next generation, but appears to be thriving. As the mother of two boys, I missed out on being part of a young girl’s growth into learning who she is, and what she can become, but I was able to view it from a distance through my children’s friends – and it wasn’t always positive, but it was definitely enlightening.

Today, as young girls grow up in a world that still throws gender bias around like a Frisbee, I want to believe that we adults are teaching our children (girls AND boys) to realize the capability of everyone. This year, the voting public will have the opportunity to elect the first woman ever for President of the United States. Whether you consider yourself Republican, Democrat, Independent or other, hopefully we can all realize the historical significance of this moment, and embrace the celebration of not only having a woman on a major party ticket, but having her win! Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton has faced a serious backlash from many women who find her unlikeable, perhaps forgetting that these same characteristics would be seen as signs of strength in a man.

Here’s a thought… As we go to the polls this November, let’s hope that the next generation is paying attention, and that more girls will say, “That’s what I want to be!”

Be like Hillary, and run like a girl!

Heidi McCrary

Writer & Advertising Goddess