Why We Failed

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Why We Failed

I am part of a sisterhood.

It’s deep-rooted and at times painful; mostly it is a beautiful example of how common genetics can generate energy between like individuals.

Tuesday night, my sisterhood failed.

Failure is part of life; it’s part of growth.
In climbing, there are places called ‘no fall zones’, meaning a fall could be injury-ridden or deadly. This election felt like a ‘no fall zone’;
this election made failure seem perilous .

And today feels bleak.
Yesterday felt bleak: I can’t look any other woman in the eye because I will burst into tears.
Every little girl I see (some dressed in purple velvet while others wear sneakers and t-shirts) breaks my heart:
they will grow up in a world where our President has openly objectified and sexually harassed women.

Maybe I grew up in that world too.

Maybe I just didn’t know it at the time.

I woke up on Election Day and felt sick. I was nervous and my anxiety provided intense headaches all day. I started looking at the results the minute the polls closed, refreshing my politico window every few seconds. I had an aching feeling in my stomach.
I thought it might be the butterflies of broken glass.
Instead, it was a nightmare coming true.

I will give Trump the opportunity to lead this country because that is what this country wanted; the system succeeded him in the end. This is a democracy and democracy doesn’t always work in your favor. I am the minority; I am struggling with that fact more and more every second. 

I will give Trump the opportunity he earned because HRC told me I should.

I will also work to protect my rights and the rights of those who need my solidarity.
I will work to further the rights of marginalized groups.

I will work.  

Trump won. And we can talk about how frustrating the Electoral College is, and we can talk about the ridiculous email scandal, and we can talk about Bernie Sanders and all the other reasons Hillary Clinton was not elected president.

But I just don’t think any of those things really matter in the end.

I think we need to talk about why our sisterhood failed.


I hate polls. I try not to read them because they set expectations and I hate expectations. But I read some stuff. And I think we have to talk about that stuff because it’s hard but maybe it will help fix our obviously fracturing sisterhood that is so fucking crucial to my livelihood.

Donald Trump, the man who claims that pregnancy is and inconvenience to employers, the man who bullied and intimidated Rosie O’Donnell and Megan Kelly and Cher, the man who admitted to grabbing women by their pussy, the man who chalks all female emotion up to periods, is the man who is now in charge of our country.
And it is because white women voted for him.

This sisterhood is splitting because of differences.
That is, in fact, why most ‘splits’ happen; our differing levels of formal education and our economic classes that have begun to rip apart the seams of our suffragette white pant-suites and our blue overalls covered in oil.
Apparently, this tear, this division, has caused us to think differently concerning the importance of human right; concerning the importance of our rights. 

How can we repair this division? How we can help our sisters in Florida and Ohio and Michigan and Iowa? How can we see past the money and past the university degrees and land at our right to be equal and not have to worry about that right being taken away come every election?

I called my grandma on Wednesday, which I think is one of the most important things to do when the world seems to be ending. She’s 88 years old and reminded me that presidents accused of murder have been elected and our country has gotten through it (see: Andrew Jackson). She said when she heard the results, after turning on her TV at 2am, the floor fell out from underneath her. But, she said, she woke up Wednesday feeling better. She said it’s time to work. She said that we must continue to work, just as we have, for the past 100+ years.
And she’s right.

Today, Thursday, my yoga teacher, as she lead us into a hard transition, said,

“Our legs might shake but we will continue to stand firm and root into the earth".

My legs will shake but I am here, with my heart broken and my eyes puffy; I am here to listen and try to fix this obviously broken system.

I want to listen. I’ve been on a roller coaster of grief these past few days.
But now, I want to listen.

You didn’t like Hillary,

but why?


There’s this thing called ‘the beer test’.
Essentially it means that we elect people to the Presidential office, the most powerful position in the world, if we feel we could sit down and have a beer with them.
I don’t think many people felt that way about Clinton. She’s been called a robot; she’s intense and doesn’t always come across as warm or motherly.

So she doesn’t pass this beer test. I, for one, don’t really drink beer. I don’t know what that says about me or how much people like me.
Powerful, strong and career driven women do tend to give off this vibe: they don’t have time for us, they are too busy changing the world and being loud and causing problems.
And as a young woman who likes to think of herself as strong and independent and at least somewhat career-focused, I just want to say:
you are right. We don’t have time to go get a beer with you.

And there shouldn't be anything wrong with that. 

Clinton did not pass this inevitable beer test we put all our candidates through, subconsciously or otherwise. Women who have spent their entire lives working and struggling and fighting a system built to break them develop hard, thick skin.
Hillary would probably be an excellent rock climber. Her endurance is unending and she has a high tolerance for pain. 

Here's the thing: I I think we all would actually enjoy sitting down with Hill and having a beer.
I think, in the end, whether we realize or not, most of us feel like we don’t deserve to sit down with former First Lady, former Senator, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And I think that insecurity is tearing our sisterhood apart.

I don’t care how many books you’ve read or how many jobs you’ve had or if you had a baby when you’re 16 or if collect welfare or if you don’t trust our government in the slightest.
It’s time to talk; it’s time to really talk.

These talks will be uncomfortable and heated and yes, at times they will be painful and friendship-ending. But I don’t know how else to fix this. And even though I will probably cry every day for the next month or year or four years, I want to know why you wouldn’t want to have a beer with Hillary Clinton. I want to know why her resume wasn't good enough. I want to figure out how to fix our sisterhood. 

This isn’t an open invitation. This is for any white woman who voted for Donald Trump. This is for any white woman who feels excluded from the sisterhood. And I ask for white woman, because woman of color turned out in record numbers. And yet again, we white women let them down. We tried to stand on their shoulders and take all the glory of our sisterhood and yet again, we failed.

So it’s time to fix this. It’s time to move forward. I need to restore my own faith in this sisterhood I was so fortunately born into.
I also need to know what factor could ever make any woman feel the desire and need to sacrifice this beloved bond of women, waves and wolves.  

In the coming few years, the government will try to take our rights away and at times, they will succeed.
Donald Trump is ushering a new era of hate; the hate has always been there, I suppose, but now it's allowed and encourage.
Our sisterhood is more important than ever.
Our sisterhood is the moon, meant to light the darkest hours. 

In the end, we will not shatter the glass ceiling, as so many of us have hoped. We will smug then crack it. We will continually hit our fists against in. We will yell and scream and cry, staring at it, resting so close to our faces.
In the end, it will be like a piñata at a birthday party: all of us blindfolded, flailing through the air with bats, helping one another along the way with instructions and advice. We will hit it over and over again, just as our mothers and sisters did before us.
And one day, when we heave our heavy hips and strong legs and battered palms against it, we will break the glass together.

As a sisterhood.

 

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