I’m with her. I am passionately with her.
I’ve wanted a Hillary lawn sign for months and haven’t pursued it because I don’t want to get flack in a neighborhood that was filled with Bernie signs. A couple of weeks ago I finally bought a campaign t-shirt that didn’t have the nerve to wear up until that point. I’m an outspoken Hillary supporter, but not nearly as outspoken as I want to be, and too often feel compelled to include disclaimers acknowledging she isn’t the perfect candidate.
I have lacked the courage of my convictions for much of this campaign cycle. Every time I see a news article that points out the absence of enthusiasm for her campaign I am screaming inside that my excitement and I are here and real.
Two weeks ago a woman started a secret Facebook group. Secret just means one cannot search for it. An administrator of that group invites friends and those friends can invite other friends. Within a couple of days this group, one that unabashedly celebrates the candidacy of Hillary Clinton by encouraging members to wear pantsuits to the polls, had grown to more than 10 thousand members.
The stories of why these women supported Clinton were riveting, heartbreaking, hopeful, extraordinary and mundane. I could not stop reading them. I knew these women, these strangers. I cried for them, and for myself. The group grew as women added their friends. In a week and a half it reached more than 200,000 members. Women and some men who might not feel comfortable going public with their support had found a refuge, a place to be enthusiastic supporters.
A longtime supporter of Hillary who runs a partisan click bait site offered to become an admin of this group. The group’s founder declined the offer. And things got weird. He insisted that while there might be several thousand legitimate members in the group the rest were fake. He accused the founder of the group of scamming its members.
The fight was stupid. It was a waste of time. It really didn’t matter. It is also a perfect example why so many of us are quiet in our support. We don’t want to hear we are doing it wrong. We don’t want to be told that our enthusiastic support cannot possibly be real.
We were being gaslighted for a site created to escape gaslighting. An organic outpouring of joy at the opportunity to vote for Hillary suddenly felt tainted.
The explanation of our stupidity was given on his personal page. He was protecting us. He accused anyone who disagreed of trolling, and made clear he would report those individuals to Facebook. He had already contacted the FBI to report the creator of the group. He called himself a real feminist while deriding the “attack” on him as an attack on feminism. The next time a women cried sexism it would be weakened because of the false attack on himself. He explained why it was impossible for 200,000 women to join a group in 10 days, he insisted the math was impossible. He supports Hillary Clinton for president and he was telling a group of women that we had been suckered for supporting her in a different way.
This election season we are scared of being talked down to. We are tired of being told we are doing feminism wrong, often by men. We know how exhausting it is to defend our intelligence. We run the risk of engaging in a time wasting and embarrassingly immature Facebook battle when we stand up for ourselves to someone who should be our ally. It is easier to be quiet.
But this time we ignored the noise. Just two weeks after being created the group has more than 400,000 members. We are sharing our stories and supporting each other. We are with her. Enthusiastically. We vote.
Do you want an invitation to the group, friend? Hit me up. I will include you. Join me in enthusiastic support for her. In our small way, we are helping Hillary Rodham Clinton become the 45th President of the United States.