Last night’s presidential debate on CNN was some of the best theater I’ve seen (watch clips). It had everything–a room packed with celebrities there to see our hottest political performers, snappy scripts well delivered, a spectacle much like top flight tennis players volleying at the height of their game, lights-camera-action.
Finally! Wolf Blitzer opened with the question that I’ve been giving the answer to since the campaign begain when he observed that Obama and Clinton look like the American dream team. It wouldn’t have been too seemly to ask who’d be on top, but the implication was obvious. They both gave the only answers they could, which was to say how much they respected one another and “here’s why I should be president”.
Obama is better with facile phrasemaking and people love that; nevertheless, Clinton got the best line–and biggest laugh–of the evening when asked whether the Bush-Clinton sequence should continue, she said “It might take a Clinton to clean up after a Bush again.”
Talk about finding her voice! That was the kind of remark only a mother and a woman who’s had to clean up after all kinds of messes personal and political could have uttered so convincingly. Clinton’s candidacy has changed everything for women in political life; no matter where they stand on the party spectrum, women are becoming more engaged in politics as a result.
Which brings me to the “So what” for today: an example of a woman who thought women should be more engaged in politics and decided to speak up about it.
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What’s more, I ran across her dandy website called Citizen Jane Politics while reading a newsletter from EmergeCalifornia, which is an amazing organization dedicated to recruiting and advancing pro-choice Democratic women for political office all up and down the ticket in their state, and now has sister affiliates burgeoning around the country.
Patricia Murphy, Citizen Jane’s 36-year-old founder and former communications director for Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., launched the site in November to add a new voice to online political reporting. She’s not pushing any candidate or party – just involvement.
“I wanted to see something not only fun and engaging, but aimed at women,” she said. “I didn’t see it, so I started it,” she told Media General News Service in an article called “Women Seeking Women–for Politics”.
Hillary didn’t grow up thinking she might be president. In her young adulthood, she was a pretty ordinary Citizen Jane, doing comunity service work but with an active interest in politics that has obviously grown over time until finally she began to see herself as a presidential candidate.
My fondest hope is to see exponentially more Citizen Janes getting involved, speaking up, running, and winning in the years to come. Now that would be the most dramatic event of all in American politics.
GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. People has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”
As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a leading women’s leadership nonprofit, her mission is to achieve gender parity by 2025 through innovative training programs, workshops, a groundbreaking 50 Women Can Change The World immersive, online courses, a free weekly newsletter, and events including a monthly Virtual Happy Hour program and a Take The Lead Day symposium that reached over 400,000 women globally in 2017.