By Elizabeth Levinson, Vice President’s Office Intern
I will be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a political junkie. I knew that the Democrats would come in blazing to promote our candidate, and I was looking forward to seeing the strategies they would take to oppose the platform embodied by the Republican National Convention (RNC) last week. I watched nearly every hour of the Democratic National Convention from day one. I analyzed political strategy and mused about the protests– sometimes in agreement, sometimes far from it. What I wasn’t expecting was the sheer emotional power in that arena.
When Bill painted a picture of a bold woman with “big blonde hair and huge glasses” who approached him in the Yale Law library, I saw myself. When he described her excellence and tireless optimism for her community and her country, I saw the young feminists I work with at NOW. When he recounted her refusal to be defeated, I saw my best friend. In Hillary’s determination, I see my generation.
Not to be outdone by the powerful speeches presented by former President Clinton or First Lady Michelle Obama, President Obama did what he is known to do– captivate his audience. For just a moment, politics were set to the side. I wasn’t thinking about political strategy or how the opponent might respond. I didn’t think about Trump or the oracle of doom that overtook last week’s RNC. I didn’t think about politicians or political parties or protests. I just sat there, awe-filled tears slowly rolling down my face as the first president of color wholeheartedly endorsed the first woman presidential candidate. I could practically hear glass ceilings shatter and walls crumble.
When Hillary finally took the stage Thursday night, my heart was in my throat. How do you prepare yourself to witness history of this magnitude? Her speech was poised and poignant, but I was distracted, waiting for that particular moment that changes the face of American politics, and America, for good. The one where Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever to do so, accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The sheer magnitude of the event struck me at once. Watching our triumph on a cell phone screen on my back porch in D.C., I experienced a turning point in American history.
I felt soaring hope for our future and pride for how far we’ve come. But most profoundly, I felt a silent yet palpable connection with the past. This incomprehensibly dense pride swelling in my chest echoes that of my great-grandmother as she claimed her right to vote. Pride about the accomplishments of women a hundred years before me. A pride that our daughters and granddaughters after them will feel in the future. One that binds women long passed with those that haven’t yet been born. This is not just about Hillary Clinton. This is not about politics or propaganda or “the woman card.” This is about our grandmothers, our mothers, our daughters… and us. We lift her, she lifts us.
All I wrote in my journal that night was this: Tonight, I know that I have witnessed history.
And when I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton in November, I know that I will be making herstory.