Although the loss of the opportunity to see the first woman become the president of the United States was both devastating and completely unpredictable (at least to me, as evidenced by my blog post here), as criminal defense attorneys we have a first-hand understanding that, when an injustice occurs, that means it’s our time to gear up for a fight. This isn’t the time to sit on the sidelines, feeling sorry for ourselves and fearful of what comes next. It’s time to get our sledge hammers out and start forcing the glass ceiling open ourselves. As much as I believed that this election would serve as a statement that things were changing for women through Hillary winning, her loss is a statement of how deep the roots of inequality still are for women in our culture when a supremely qualified woman is passed over for a man with no experience.
It was hard to explain to my eight-year-old daughter what happened and why our country didn’t celebrate or embrace the opportunity to put the first woman into the White House. And on hearing the news, she was shattered and angry. Hillary spoke to her and countless other young girls in her concession speech when she said:
To all the women and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder then to be your champion. Now, I know, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every change and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.
So what to do?
For me the answer is simple, we have to dig deeper and do more. This isn’t the time to stop. It’s time to ramp up.
I personally refuse to accept that we are second- or third-class citizens. I am not accepting the scraps from the men that will be holding the power in this country come January. We have to work together to change that. We need to walk the walk. We need to open doors for each other. We need to make sure that we include each other at every table we are seated at. We need to take our successes and stop simply asking for them. We need to refuse to accept second-chair positions and insignificant token roles just so we can be in the room.
And above all – as many times as I have said this on this blog I will say it again until I am blue in the face – we need to SEND EACH OTHER BUSINESS. We are the only ones who are going to assure our own success. If this election teaches us one thing, it is that we need to take primary responsibility in looking out for one another out there.