Hillary Clinton
Credit: Lorie Shaull/Flickr

History was made last night. For the first time in 57 presidential elections in the United States, we will have the chance to vote for a woman as the nominee of a major political party. That is what will be recorded in the history books of the future. But for today, it is also important how that happened.

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After all the drama of the primary, that was a moment for all Democrats to be proud.

The headline speaker last night was Hillary Clinton’s husband (and of course, former president) – who painted a picture of the candidate that only a spouse can tell. But perhaps my own senator, Amy Klobuchar, captured the moment best.

I’m here to make the case for a leader who, as you just saw, is focused on security; security for our country, our economy and our democracy. A leader who knows we are all more secure when women have the opportunity to lead with their heads held high and their strides strong. That leader is Hillary Clinton. She sees a world where girls are not captured and sold, but a fearless and bold; where they lead, not follow. And where, when someone tells a young woman, “You fight like a girl,” her answer is, “Yes I do. And I’m proud to be that girl!”

As John Nichols wrote, Wisconsin State Representative Cory Mason quoted Amelia Earhart when he cast his state’s delegate vote for Clinton:

Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.

The Democratic Party has now done TWO things people said couldn’t be done…elected our first African American president and nominated the first female candidate for that position. There are many battles ahead. But it is critical that we recognize how profoundly that changes things. If you ever wondered why so many of our fellow citizens are angry and fearful – keep that in mind. Rebecca Traister told the story last December.

The public spectacle of this presidential election, and the two that have preceded it, are inextricably linked to the racialized and gendered anger and violence we see around us…

Whatever their flaws, their political shortcomings, their progressive dings and dents, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton mean a lot. They represent an altered power structure and changed calculations about who in this country may lead.

For those who fear that “altered power structure,” the events of last night pose a threat. For those of us who welcome it, Hillary Clinton’s nomination is a moment of celebration and hope.

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