This Saturday, in protest of a controversial, possibly compromised election and the inauguration of a man who made his way to the podium via demagoguery, thousands, perhaps millions, of women and supportive men will march on Washington, D.C., in cities around the country and even the world. They will march to peacefully remind of our values, diversity, equality, our civil rights and the rule of law. But the organization, Women’s March has also co-opted the phrase Hillary Clinton made famous 22 years ago in her daring Beijing speech, “that women’s rights are human rights,” yet she is conspicuously absent from the list of women being honored at the march. As the blog Heat Street illustrated, Clinton’s name was deliberately left off this list:
As Tina Brown put it, Hillary is an example of “what real female power looks like,” a “dedicated policy wonk who worked on behalf of oppressed women in unpronounceable places long before it was fashionable.”
She is the first woman to be nominated to a major Party and won more votes than any white man in history. To pretend she does not and has not played a significant role in the advancement of women is an oversight that should be corrected. This is not about politics or Party, but recognizing a trailblazer of vast accomplishment:
“Seven years with the Children’s Defense Fund, research on early childhood brain development, taking on cases of child abuse, offering free legal services to the poor , working on President Nixon’s impeachment, rebuilding the Arkansas education system, being named first woman partner at Rose Law firm and twice named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the country.*
As First Lady, working to successfully lower the rates of teen pregnancy, initiating and shepherding the Adoption and Safe Families act, helping to create SCHIP with Senators Kennedy and Hatch, helping to create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice, playing a key role in bringing the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of United States policy… *
As a senator, securing $21.4 billion in funding for cleanup and recovery after 9/11, providing health tracking for first responders and volunteers at Ground Zero and creating grants for redevelopment, pushing President Bush to pass RU486, passing SCHIP with Newt Gingrich, getting increased benefits for the National Guard serving in Iraq, marching for Gay Rights, championing and fighting causes on behalf of NOW and NARAL, speaking around the world for the rights of women and children, becoming the first First Lady to become a US Senator and then win re-election. New York’s first female senator.*”
A very popular secretary of State who went on to run one of the most forward thinking, inclusive presidential campaigns on a decidedly feminist platform – and won the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000.
For those who have omitted to recognize her because she and former President Bill Clinton are attending the inauguration, no matter what cloud surrounds Trump’s election, the investigation is ongoing. Until we have definitive evidence and answers and can take action, it is vital that the world sees a smooth transition from a country in control of itself. Further, were Hillary not to attend, she would be castigated for that as well. Once again, she is being held to a different standard. We cannot pardon President Obama for allowing this to go forward while punishing a woman who is now a private citizen.
Whether or not one agrees with her present action, not to honor her with the other amazing women on this list feels like an attempt to erase her many contributions, and in my view, the motives for doing so are suspect. This is not about any one woman. This march is for all of us. Yet omitting her name makes its absence all the more conspicuous.
I hope the organizers will see fit to #AddHerName, but whether they do or not, many will honor Hillary Clinton along with their friends and loved ones with each step they take on Saturday. Hillary Clinton’s power, presence, contributions to history and her fight for our equal rights will not be erased.