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Celebrating a Historic First

Celebrating a Historic First

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by
Aya Fubara Eneli, M.A., J.D. AYA ENELI
INTERNATIONAL

Congratulations Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton on becoming the first ever female presidential nominee of a major political party in the 240-year history of the United States of America.
Whatever your political affiliation or views, she has accomplished a great feat and forever broken through the barriers that have often constrained women and limited our options and contributions.
Although I am an Independent, I am thrilled at the tenacity, emotional fortitude, intelligence, sheer determination, sacrifice and immense networking it has taken for her to get to this moment in time. Setting aside, if you can, all the innuendos and the millions spent investigating her, her mishaps, and the ways she may differ from you, she is an impressive woman with a long history of excellence and service to her community.
From her humble childhood to being selected as the first student commencement speaker at Wellesley, to graduating from Law School to the initiatives she championed for children and women in Arkansas as the First Lady of the State, to being a mother herself, to dealing with the private pain and the public ridicule of her husband’s infidelities, to the debacle of the President’s Taskforce on Health Care Reform to securing the expansion of Tricare for first responders and other veterans to negotiating cease fires and protecting US interests as Secretary of State, she’s done more to serve this nation than the vast majority of us ever will.
I applaud her historic accomplishment which is not just a victory for her personally, but as far as I am concerned, a victory for every woman and girl and all those who believe in true equality for women, I am neither naïve about charges being leveled against her nor am I in support of all her choices and decisions. I am not oblivious to her shortcomings.
I am, however, very much aware of and sensitive to the politics of being the “first” in breaking down deep-rooted biases and stereotypes
so steeped in our culture that anyone challenging them will most definitely be attacked by the most passionate and vitriolic of opponents.
This truth played out as Jackie Robinson attempted to integrate Baseball. He couldn’t just be a good player, he had to be at the top of his game. He had to be stoic in the face of racial discrimination, taunts and even other players refusing to play if he was in the game. Billie Jean King has spoken eloquently about the challenges she faced as a woman tennis player. Arthur Ashe’s biography makes you wonder just how much more he could have achieved but for the opposition he faced as a Black tennis player. Serena Williams is still ridiculed, vilified and certainly receives fewer endorsements than her less successful white counterparts, but she must never show emotion and must be grateful to be where she is.
Ask any female who has excelled in a male-dominated field and ask her if there was double standard to which she was subjected. Go no further than President Jimmy Carter’s repudiation of the Southern Baptist Convention and his assertion that, “The most serious violation of human rights on earth is the abuse of women and girls.”
What has taken us so long to get here? Recall for a moment that our nation did not have its first female US Supreme Court Justice until Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981. The first female US Attorney General, Janet Reno, was confirmed in 1993 and it was another four years before a woman was deemed qualified enough to Secretary of State. Madeleine Albright cracked that ceiling paving the way for Condolezza Rice and then Hillary Clinton.
The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton stood up and took the main brunt of the attack against the real possibility of a female US President and that makes the journey of any future female presidential hopefuls infinitely easier. As much as she’s been investigated for the tragic deaths of Americans in Benghazi, similar investigations could have been launched against then Vice President Dick Cheney for his role in starting the Iraq War, the loss of thousands of lives, and the ways in which he and business associates may have benefited from that war.
As a woman, as a Christian, as a lover of equality and as the mother of daughters who dream big, one of whom has long since set her eyes on being president of this great nation, I am happy for, proud of and grateful to Hillary Rodham Clinton for her nomination.
Whatever her future holds, I pray for her to be guided by wisdom, to be sensitive to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and to live out fully her God-given purpose on earth.
Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. She welcomes your questions and comments. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at info@ayaeneli.com.

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