Meanwhile, a female American president

June 9, 2016 Originally published on SFGate

This just in: A major American political party just (tacitly) nominated an exceptionally qualified, deeply intelligent, extremely popular/enormously unpopular woman to be President of the United States.

Do you find this annoying? Insignificant? Infuriating? Glorious in a thousand ways? Yawningly obvious?

Do you think the whole process was flawed, the system rigged and the other guy got just little bit shafted, not to mention that the woman in question is all kinds of imperfect and toxically status-quo, and her policies are in bed with [your most-hated capitalist institution here]?

You might be right. You are also, probably, in many ways, wrong.

But it doesn’t really matter, because we are now in a bizarro world where a bloviated, racist, orange-faced charlatan reality-TV thug is running for president against a shockingly steadfast, intelligent powerhouse of woman who has been a lawyer, wife, senator, first lady, secretary of state and about a dozen other things, most of them very successfully, who has been voted the “most admired woman in America” a record 20 times, who’s probably accomplished more in her lifetime than any woman in American political history, who, no matter your opinion of her, her husband or her Wall Street pals, is soon to shatter, in her own words, “the highest, hardest glass ceiling” there is.

History, made.

History, made.

But that’s not what’s most impressive. The one trait Hillary possesses that no one else has – not the pampered males in congress, certainly not the shrieking, thin-skinned bully to her far right and not a single female presidential nominee before her – because there haven’t been any – is an almost inhuman tenacity, resolve, an enviable iron will that can apparently withstand, well, just about anything, and come out even stronger.

This is not to be taken lightly. Bernie doesn’t seem to have it. Trump has exactly whatever the opposite of it is. Bush couldn’t even spell it. Obama has it, but never put much of it to the test. Bill Clinton never needed it (most entitled males don’t).

Yet in the absence of obvious charisma, potent oratory skills or a Zen-like calm, it’s exactly Hillary’s steely confidence and determination, her ability to not merely endure but fully overcome decades of entrenched resistance that will make her a hugely effective president.

History, made

It’s sort of astonishing, really. After all, no single politician of any party has been so vilified, trolled, spit upon, dismissed, mocked, caricatured and personally disrespected, sometimes justifiably but also horribly unfairly, in the history of America. She’s a one-woman troll magnet. The right’s decades-long campaign of hate against her has often been so vicious, it creates its own weather patterns.

And still she stands. And smiles. And laughs easily. And is truly grateful. Despite attacks of acidic odium that would make most humans wither, she seems almost impossibly intact, headstrong, full of good humor and also a deeply felt appreciation of her uneven, but irrefutably revolutionary, place in history. Bernie could take a lesson.

Wait! I love Bernie Sanders. He’s a marvel. But Bernie’s had the luxury of hiding in the back-halls of congress his entire career (not to mention simply being a white male). Is it still worth wondering what Bernie’s more radical supporters – many of whom are new to the modern electoral system and rightfully infuriated by its innumerable shortcomings – would think of him if he’d been raked over the GOP coals for as long as Hillary, his every utterance, vote, sexual predilection, outfit, wrinkle, wife, hairstyle and tone of voice ruthlessly savaged since forever? Probably not.

At this point, Bernie’s biggest gift is how he changed the narrative, held Hillary’s feet to the fire, shifted the tone and direction of the DNC overall as he rallied a seriously passionate, but also deeply anxious voting bloc that, if they’re smart and most of them are (but many, sadly, are not), will soon begin to support Hillary with the fervor of a thousand suns – and even more of their daughters.

It won’t be easy. Right now, a terribly amusing number of Bernie devotees think the election was rigged for Hillary from the start, designed to screw him over and bring more of the corrupt-Clinton same.

This isn’t quite accurate. It’s true that Hillary’s spent the majority of her political career methodically working to put the pieces in place to make this event happen, establishing her political positions, her moneyed networks, her allies and mailing lists and cronies.

Which is to say: It’s only rigged in the sense of someone who’s worked at the same inherently warped company for 30 years, who’s methodically climbed the corporate ladder, parsed friends and enemies, defined (and redefined) her allegiances, who’s overcome a thousand obstacles (far more than her male counterparts ever had to worry about), to finally reach CEO. Is that rigged, or is that paying your dues? It it both?

Whatever it is, it’s unlikely that it could have happened any other way. Given America’s deeply sexist political climate, it would have been impossible for some young, viable upstart female politician to make it all the way to the Big Chair without a long-established infrastructure in place, conies and all. No one but Hillary could have done it.

Yes, it’s brutally imperfect. Yes, that’s how modern American politics still works. But let’s remember one thing: Hillary is 68 (and Bill is 69). She’ll be 76 at the end of her (potential) second term. In other words: This is her last shot to establish a serious, pro-female legacy (with Elizabeth Warren’s excellent help), affect real change, make her mark on history (and the Supreme Court). What’s the point of merely trying to enrich their fortunes or glad-hand a bunch of cronies? There is no political empire to build. There is no need for extra mansions and scandal. Maybe this will be about some real revolution after all. Let us pray.

One thing’s certain: Thanks to Hillary, America’s next female president – just like its next black president – will have a far less gnarled, spit-upon, treacherous path. That glass ceiling is crashing all around, and it’s loud and messy and awe-inspiring in a number of ways. Who said revolutions have to be perfect?

Read more here:: Meanwhile, a female American president

Mark Morford

About Mark Morford