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Nevertheless, We Persist

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No part of me can pretend that I’m not deeply saddened by this week’s turn of events in the Democratic race for President. Nevertheless, we persist, right? It’s what we do.

The Persister herself, Elizabeth Warren, dropping out of the race catapulted me right back to Election Night 2016 as it became clear that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t win the Presidency and then I hopped over to 2018 when Stacey Abrams lost Georgia’s Governor’s race to Brian Kemp.

I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m bitter. It’s been simmering for years. And you know what? I get to be all of those things. We all do.

We deserve our time to rage about this. About the injustice and misogyny and rampant bias against women that we experience every day. If you are a woman, you have lived this, whether you are willing to admit it to yourself or not.

When 90% of the world holds an anti-woman bias, it’s virtually impossible that you haven’t. (But what’s super freaking disturbing about this report is that only 39% of the US thinks that women aren’t fit to hold office. The other 61% of us? WHERE ARE YOU AND WHY AREN’T YOU VOTING FOR WOMEN?)

You have been passed over for a promotion in favor of a less-competent man. You have been given a smaller raise than your male counterpart despite doing twice the work and doing it well.

You have probably even believed the lie once or twice that you just weren’t as good as he was.

Listen, you were better. You may not believe it, but I do. I know it.

I’m tired. Bone-weary tired of being a woman who will never be good enough simply because I’m not a man. I have watched men get away with crazy things in predominantly-female workplaces while the women, myself included, we expected to be perfect. More than perfect.

Y’all, perfection is a myth. It doesn’t exist.

When we hold our women to standards of perfection, a yardstick which is always moving and never attainable, and we excuse the men in our lives for their shortcomings, laugh them off as “silly” or overlook them entirely, we fail in our efforts to erase gender bias. Time and time again, we fail.

Either men have to be perfect or we get to be imperfect, too, and given the choice, I know which one I’m choosing.

In a race between two men and an imperfect woman, I’m choosing an imperfect woman every time. Because her imperfections are my imperfections. Her flaws are my flaws. And men will never be expected to be perfect.

My god, the rage. It burns.

(And it has nothing on the rage women and people of color feel. Because if I feel like society holds me to a high standard, it holds them to one even higher.)

Beyond being tired for myself and other grown woman, I’m tired on behalf of all the little girls out there who dream of being President. I’m tired of the bullshit I know they’re going to face simply because they dream of wanting more.

I’m tired of feeling like I’m lying when I look at my daughter and say “Oh, baby girl, you can be anything.”

In 2016, Emma wanted to be “a President and a mom” when she grows up. I don’t want to wait another 30 years to have our first female President when she’s finally old enough to run.

It better not take us 30 years to figure out that women are more than capable of holding the highest office in our land. And of doing a better job than a lot of the men who’ve held the position, too.

There’s a lot of rhetoric going around that it’s okay that Warren dropped out because Sanders is in the race and his policies align with Warren’s so we should automatically lend our support to him, she should endorse him, etc.

And then there’s the Warren should endorse Biden and so should you so that we can unite the party camp.

All of this get over it and get on with it is dismissive of the very real, very valid feelings people are having over being told, once again, that our country just doesn’t believe in women.

We’re exhausted. Chronically, but especially right now.

Can we take a second to get over the gut-punch of being told, again, that we’re not good enough?

Let us have our sadness and anger.

We’ll get back in this. If Warren taught us anything, it’s that you don’t get what you don’t fight for.

Nevertheless, we persist, right? That’s what girls do.

Thanks for inspiring us, Liz.
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