Senator Hillary Clinton may not have won the Democratic party's nomination for president, but she won the hearts of many women, young and old, in her career and in her campaign to become the first female president.
Even after her speech on Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention and her role on Wednesday in formally nominating Barack Obama as the party's nominee, she clearly still has their hearts.
And we need only look at the stories of young women like Alexandra_Rudansky to see that she will always have their votes.
I have been a Hillary supporter for as long as I can remember. I even wrote her a letter when I was in first grade. I will never forget the day that I received a letter back from Hillary, my childhood hero. The envelope's return address was "The White House" and enclosed was a computer-generated thank you note with her signature stamped at the bottom and a picture of her in some kind of outdoors background.
My next Hillary experience occurred when I almost met her at an event in East Hampton, N.Y. A local family hosted a huge benefit for her at their mansion and somehow my dad, my sister and I were able to attend. I believe I was in third grade, the same year she announced that she would be running for N.Y. senator. The event is crystal clear in my mind: There is a crowd on a huge green lawn. Hillary exits the house with the family and gives a wave (I don't believe it's the same one as she uses now. That whole point and smile thing was recently perfected.). As she walks down the front steps to address the crowd and sign some autographs, what felt like swarms of people enveloped her and somehow I was pushed out of the crowd. I was depressed for days to come.
A few years ago, as presidential buzz started to surround her, Hillary re-entered my thoughts. Part of me (foolishly) was insanely jealous. I had always said that I wanted to be the first woman president (Don't take this away from me, Hil!)! At this point she was denying the notion, anyway. But as time went by and Hillary finally announced that she would be running for president, my heart seemed to swell with emotion. I was just so happy. I was so absolutely thrilled that my Hillary, my childhood hero, the woman who sent me a letter and who I had almost met, had a shot at the White House.
Which is why when Obama was given the Democratic ticket I was absolutely crushed. Nothing could've hurt me more than seeing my Hillary lose what she had worked so hard for and, in my opinion, deserved over Obama. I had never liked Obama but my bitterness at that moment expanded exponentially. I felt like Hillary had been robbed in the middle of the night. It just wasn't fair.
My latest Hillary interaction was last night, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I had been eagerly awaiting Hillary's speech and I was thrilled to know there would be multi-media accompaniment to Hillary's introduction (the video narrated by Chelsea). I know the point of the video and the speech was to end the bitterness toward Obama coming from die-hard Hillary supporters. And really, I tried my best to go along with the plan. But something inside of me would not allow me to let go of Hillary just yet. That video made me long for a President Hillary Clinton more than any other speech or commercial or SNL skit over the past two years had. Watching "The Hillary Story" (as I like to call it) flash before me almost brought tears to my eyes. "Why is this woman not the Democratic candidate?" I wondered.
And then Chelsea, looking as beautiful as ever, introduced her mother, her hero (as well as mine). Hillary, vibrant and glowing, took the stage by storm. Thousands of supporters cheered for what seemed like hours as they flailed "Hillary" signs around. The emotion and excitement in that convention was palpable through the TV waves. All I could think was, "Look at these people! They want her! This should be her convention!" It was sad, to say the least. Hillary stood there smiling and waving and pointing but inside I think we all knew that she must've been crying. Hell, I was crying (both on the inside and outside)! How hard it must have been for her to get out there and deliver a speech in support of her opponent.
Still, however hard it was for her, she did a fantastic job. Between the jokes (sisterhood of the traveling pansuit -- LOVED that one) and the actual message that was sent across, my love for Hillary grew more in those fifteen minutes than it had at any other point in my life. Not only my love grew, but my respect for her grew as well. It takes a strong person to stand up and root for the enemy in the name of the greater good. I will never stop believing in "Hillary for President" or in the Clinton dynasty for that matter (I love Bill. I love Chelsea. I even love their uniquely named animals, and I'm not afraid to admit it). But I will take Hillary's words to heart and seriously consider voting for Obama, however grudgingly so. Still, my alliance remains with my hero, my woman politician of choice, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
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