“Oh my god. What if she dies?” I shrieked at my laptop on Sunday evening when news broke that former First Lady, current Secretary of State, and all-around badass broad Hillary Clinton had been admitted to a New York City hospital when doctors discovered a blood clot. If you had told me in 2008 that I’d be freaking out over Hillary Clinton’s medical condition, I would’ve laughed in your face.
What a difference an election cycle makes.
In 2008, my opinion on Hillary Clinton was this: She was not Obama. Even though her political leanings basically lined up with mine, I bought into Obama’s hope and change rhetoric, a decision I don’t regret. Clinton’s entire persona felt rigid and cold in 2008—and even earlier than that. While other women triumphed at her election to the New York Senate or her bid for the White House, my overwhelming feeling was meh. I’m spoiled to have grown up thinking that women can do anything men can do. And when Clinton lost the democratic primary, I didn’t think it meant anything at all. I was—and am—happy to elect Barack Obama.
As a woman, I feel that we need her to run. The older I get, the more feminist I become. And right now, Clinton feels like our only hope. It’s not just because we’re still recovering from an election cycle in which Republicans wanted to treat women like second-class citizens by limiting funding for vital organizations like Planned Parenthood and claiming that there are “legitimate rapes” (thus assuming that there are also illegitimate rapes). The sting of anti-female propaganda still burns, but it is not the only reason why Clinton needs to run—and win.
We need Hillary to run to keep proving what I thought was true in 2008: that women can do anything men can do. Clinton’s entire post-First Lady attitude that makes her a desirable candidate. In the last few years, Clinton has done what seems oxymoronic: She became the Secretary of State and she mellowed out. When she was criticized late last year for wearing no makeup and glasses to an event, she snapped back with this:
“I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now, Jill, because if I want to wear my glasses, I’m wearing my glasses. If I – you know, want to pull my hair back, I’m pulling my hair back. And, you know, at some point, it’s just not – it’s just not something that deserves a whole lot of time and attention. If others want to worry about it, I’ll let them do the worrying for a change.”
Women everywhere rejoiced. And we grinned again when she responded to an interview inquiry about clothing designers with, “Would you ever ask a man that question?”
What I never appreciated about Clinton in 2008—and well before that—is her tenacity and her ability to dust herself off after a failure and keep on trying. (Proof: In 1993, the Clinton healthcare plan flopped, but she went on to become a U.S. senator. She lost the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, but she became the Secretary of State.) If Todd Akin has taught us anything, it is that women still need a role model like Clinton.
So feel better, Hillary. Because my fingers are still crossed that you’ll change your mind about 2016. We still need you.