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Can I Have A Dream?: Endorsing Clinton

Was there a press blackout on mentioning that Hillary Clinton made history in New Hampshire? The first woman to win a major presidential primary.
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Was there a press blackout on mentioning that Hillary Clinton made history in New Hampshire? The first woman to win a major presidential primary.

I like Obama. A lot. I like Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech." A lot. It's nice that Obama can talk about realizing Dr. King's hope of an African American having a genuine shot at the U.S. presidency. I have a dream, too. It's about a woman having a genuine shot at the U.S. presidency. Why is it not politically correct to talk about it?

As unfairly as the U.S. has treated African Americans, black men got the right to vote 50 years before women -- of any color. And crazed injustice? I am looking at an Associated Press news clipping about a pardon of the long-dead Grace Sherwood who was "tried by water" and found guilty of being a witch by a Virginia court [using the sink or float standard]. "With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice," Gov. Timothy Kaine wrote. "We also can celebrate the fact that a woman's equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams." Promise?

Are my fellow journalists aware of this news? Has someone taken away their freedom of speech? Sorry, I'm prickly today. A month ago Hillary Clinton's win in New Hampshire was deemed a fait accompli. The day of the Iowa primary, she was washed up -- so that five days later she could make "news" as the comeback kid. Maybe there was no change at all in Hillary Clinton in the five days leading up to New Hampshire. Maybe we just had five days of really bad reporting.

I have a dream not only of being able to speak freely of a woman president but also of suggesting that being a woman may be an asset in the job. For the years since Hillary Clinton's surprising election to the U.S. Senate, I have watched her. What I saw, what I remember, is the image of a woman working hard. Every picture, every outing, every year.

Meanwhile, images of my president screamed "not-doing-my-homework," "playing Monopoly with your life," "Enron presidency."

Following Al Gore's defeat in 2000, I genuinely thought this is America, how much difference is one man going to make? I was wrong.

And that's when I started wanting Hillary Clinton for president. She reminded me of what I knew of Harry Truman. I was sick of charisma, likability, misguided family values, mission accomplished, and men who had been in the Deke fraternity in college. I wanted smart, plain-speaking, dedicated, earnest, curious, experienced, ready for physical labor if necessary. I wanted not just any woman, I wanted this exceptional woman.

The mess that President George W. Bush leaves behind feels peculiarly like a mess made by a child. I think the clean-up job calls for my dream -- the dream that dare not speak its name.

Suzanne O'Malley is a lecturer at Yale University, the author of Are You There Alone?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates, and producer of the documentary Unborn in the USA: Inside the War on Abortion.

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