I’ve spent a long time fighting the battle of perfection
Throughout my career, I always tried to keep in mind that the Navajo weave imperfection into their rugs because no one but the gods is capable of perfection and man (and woman) should not be so arrogant to assume that they are capable of it.
It became a regular “thing” I told the women who worked for me but it never stopped me from trying to do things absolutely correctly and to do as much as I could every single day. It’s a trap many women fall into and it’s something that we are expected to do and that we are criticized for striving for. It’s the impossible balancing act many women undertake.
When you are a woman working in a male dominated field you frequently find yourself having to maneuver and work to give yourself relevance. I often worked through our Deputy Director to make changes or bring issues to notice. It was hard to always be there, always be relevant, and honestly, working for ways to advance in my organization. I wanted to find a way to become assistant director, a position that was not created and filled until after I was laid off. It’s experience that is very familiar to far too many.
So I take this and I apply what I’ve learned to Hillary Clinton.
From the beginning Hillary Clinton has been working to help people.
Just to remind people she became a lawyer when it wasn’t easy for a woman to do so. She could have pursued a for profit career but she chose not to. She began working for organizations like the Children’s Defense fund. Not exactly a nefarious career.
Hillary spent a life working for women and children. Yes, she went into public service (also called politics). In the 90s she made the unimaginable sin of trying to be relevant AND the First Lady. I don’t know where you were in the 90s (or even if you were) but I was a single working (and yes female) professional and I was very aware of Hillary and was very aware of her fight and of the battle against her. It wasn’t about policy (or mostly it wasn’t) it was about Hillary Clinton. A woman from out of nowhere who had the gall to not just sit back and pick out the china. She fought to be relevant and she did it by fighting for health care for everyone in the country.
Ok, I’m as progressive as it comes. I think the government should help people. I think we should make sure that people have clean water. I think, if we know we (people) are negatively affecting the climate we should change. So yes, I believe in renewable energy and yes I think we should help fund it and yes we should do research. And yes, I think everyone is entitled to health care. I don’t understand why making sure everyone can go to the doctor is such a big deal. The richest, greatest, most awesomest (yes, I’m making up words for hyperbole) country should make sure that everyone in the country has health care and eats and has a place to sleep. We should help people succeed. I’ve never figured out why that is a problem. It costs a lot less money to help people succeed than it does to fish them out of disasters – think Katrina. If we had helped people evacuate. If we had built up real flood mitigation. If we had prepared the levees and made sure they couldn’t breech well a lot of people wouldn’t have died. Ok, that’s a whole other story that I’ll write a blog post on.
Ok so we get through years of investigations aimed at taking the Clinton’s down, especially take Hillary down. (For you history buffs the name of now FBI Director James Comey come up in that assault). Well, beyond a bunch of men having affairs (and one pedophile) impeaching (think grand jury) but not convicting Bill Clinton of lying about having an affair. These are the high crimes and misdeamoners Republicans were worried about. They were also (by all evidence) looking for ways to ignore climate change and attacks on people’s actions are great distractions.
When Hillary Clinton became Senator you didn’t hear much about her other than that she was doing a good job. Both Democrats and Republicans said that they could work with her and she was an effective Senator. Then we had an election and Hillary Clinton ran for President and she was lambasted again but then she lost narrowly and she became Secretary of State. She was a very effective Secretary of State until she was leaving when the attack on Benghazi, Libya happened and after President Obama was elected again and Benghazi attacks turned from the President quickly to Hillary Clinton.
So, what does this have to do with perfection??
Hillary Clinton has done an exceptional job throughout her career but all you hear are the negatives. You don’t hear the successes. You don’t hear about the accomplishments of the Clinton Foundation.
What you hear about is about what she hasn’t accomplished, what she is lacking, what she hasn’t done. How she hasn’t avoided all of the investigations against her. No one talks about the fact that not one of those so called scandals has ever found anything. They just keep looking.
It’s amazing that Hilary wants to continue to serve the public. She doesn’t need to do this but she doesn’t complain about it like Trump does. She doesn’t say that if she loses it would be a great waste of time. Her entire focus is on helping the country. No matter what she just keeps working and she just keep hearing about all of the times that she has done something wrong. Like making the single mistake of deciding to have an easier email system then she would have gotten with the State Department. The same decision that her male counterparts had made before her and just as it is with the cheating Republicans who prosecuted Bill Clinton for the same thing they were doing – lying about being faithful to their wives – the Republicans that loudly decry her for using a non-federal system – don’t use a federal system. It’s hypocrisy and it’s the requirement that most women face each and every day. One mistake and lots of people to notice. Where everything you do and don’t do is wrong and isn’t successful even when you are succeeding. We can’t be perfect. Men and women need to quit expecting it.
We also think about all of the women who are thinking into going into the public life. We are telling them that it is impossible to succeed. Everything about Hillary should be celebrated. Her accomplishments in and out of public life should be celebrated. Instead, all we do is ask why isn’t it enough. People investigated her and darn it they can’t find anything. We are telling girls and women nothing they do will every be good enough. Even being successful at being successful. I’m really over it.