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Post belittling Hillary is setback for women and minimizes their accomplishments

When columns such as Sarah Janecek's "Hillary's way is not the feminist way," published in MinnPost last week, belittle other women and minimize their accomplishments, all women are set back, and the glass ceiling remains impenetrable.

This year, we have an incredible woman running for the U.S. presidency. Not only will Hillary Rodham Clinton lead our country with the collective strength and experience of 35 years fighting for America's families, but her campaign gives us the chance to finally take the "No Girls Allowed" sign off the White House. That's one barrier we'd be proud to help break by supporting Hillary.

As a young woman applying to law schools, Hillary was told by a Harvard Law professor, "We don't need any more women at Harvard." So she went to Yale, where she was one of only 27 women in a class of 235 students.

As a new lawyer, Hillary contemplated the idea of practicing courtroom law; she was told by a male colleague that she could never choose such a path because she lacked a wife to look after her. When she was busy or in trial, he asked, who would be there to make sure she had clean socks?

Hillary balanced career and barrier breaking
These barriers did not stop Hillary — or even slow her down. Throughout her life, she has balanced her extraordinary career with her family and, in so doing, she broke right through these barriers. She was the first student to be the keynote speaker at a Wellesley College commencement and became a voice of her generation. She is the first former first lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate. She was the first New York senator to serve on the Armed Services Committee. On Jan. 8, she was the first woman to win a presidential primary.

Throughout her life, Hillary has delivered for women, their families and all Americans. She has broken ground on health care, child care and education reform. She has worked to increase the minimum wage and provide tax relief for the middle class. She helped families, our first-responder heroes and small businesses recover after Sept. 11, and she has demonstrated hands-on leadership in the current economic downturn.

She has been a brilliant leader and has done the practical work of turning causes into legislation, barriers into opportunities. All across the country, women like Hillary are pushing those same boundaries. Because of their efforts, we now have more women leaders in business than ever before, more women in Congress than ever before and more women governors than ever before.

We think that no one — man or woman — is better situated to confront the challenges of the next eight years. In our lifetimes, this country has come a long way. Let's keep it moving forward.

This article was co-written by three professional businesswomen — Amy K. Rotenberg of Minneapolis, Lois Quam of St. Paul and Karen Wilson of Minneapolis — and Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner of White Bear Lake. All four are members of the Minnesota steering committee of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.


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If you're interested in joining the discussion by writing a Community Voices article, email Don Effenberger at deffenberger [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (3)

I am not even sure I will vote for Hillary (I have been supporting Edwards); but your points are imortant and valid. Regardless of the outcome, this has been a watershed year in the history of American politics; and both blacks and women will more easily, and hopefully, be part of the candidate scene in in future elections because of Hillary.
Just having her as a true and viable candidate has been an exciting experience.

While we quibble over the trivial -- Is Hillary a feminist? -- we gloss over the significant.

In the Cato-@-Liberty blog post, "Hillary Hates Freedom," (http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/09/18/hillary-hates-freedom/) David Boaz writes:

"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton operates with reckless disregard for individual freedom and the limited government that protects and sustains it. ... At her core, Hillary Clinton rejects the fundamental values of liberalism, values like individual autonomy, individual rights, pluralism, choice, and yes, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She seems to see no area of life that should be free from the heavy hand of government. And to her the world of free people seems a vast nothingness. ... The really scary prospect of another Clinton presidency is not what she would do to our medical care but what she would do to the 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' that is the foundation of our free society."

At issue in this election (and within both major parties) is a struggle between those who favor more government control of individuals as the path to solving aggregate problems and those that favor removing government barriers to marketplace creativity and market solutions to aggregate problems.

It matters little whether individual freedom is eroded by a village or a mega-church -- what matters is that individual freedom is at stake.

Mr. Westover, no matter what Hillary does, the good ol' boys at Cato would flail away. Hypothetically, of course--if Margaret Thatcher were running instead of Hillary, they would find some angle to criticize her as well.

The confluence of an expensive war in Iraq, a sagging domestic economy, an aging population, rising health care costs, crumbling infrastructure, and so on may very well make this the single most important election in recent history. If these forces are all left to fester on their own without varying levels of intervention, none of us may have to worry about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Whomever is elected President--regardless of party affiliation--is going to inherit these and other complex issues that are not going to just simply go away. They are going to have their hands full.