Hillary Makes History -- Really? What Kind Of History Is That Exactly?

Sheri Oz

Yup! The traditional and social media are falling over themselves relating how Hillary Clinton has made history by becoming the first female presidential candidate in the United States. But what kind of history has been made? Perhaps the kind of history told by those who don't really know much history.

One could legitimately claim that the Democratic Party made history three times in the past three presidential races: first, the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 was not the first time black and female candidates vied to be the Democratic nominee; however, it was the first time that the winner would put either a black or a woman on the ballet of a major party in the presidential race. Second, the election and re-election of Obama as the first black president. Third, the most recent contest between Hillary and Bernie Sanders since Sanders is the first Jew to have had a chance at becoming the Democratic presidential candidate. The Democrats were set up to make history once more, therefore, whether Hillary or Bernie won the nomination.

One question to ask is what kind of history is Hillary Clinton making? Some people think it is not at all connected with her gender.

— David Leifer (@daveleifer) June 29, 2016

— Mr. Weeks (@MrDane1982) June 27, 2016

— Feminist Majority (@FemMajority) June 21, 2016

— Michael (@Canine_Rights) July 29, 2016

— Gibson Twist (@GibsonTwist) July 27, 2016

Huffington Post notes that there have been 70 female heads of government since 1960, when Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) elected Sirimavo Bandaranaike as Prime Minister.

— Lindsay Shaw (@LindsayofSF) July 28, 2016

The fact that Americans are making such noise over "Hillary Makes History" just shows how the USA, that prides itself on modernity and progressiveness is lagging behind so much of the rest of the world. Certainly more remarkable than Hillary's candidacy is the former premiership of Benazir Bhutto, first female prime minister of a Muslim majority country. She held two non-consecutive terms between 1988 and 1996.

Among history's important female leaders is Corazon Aquino, who was president of the Philippines between 1986 and 1992. Aquino was instrumental in wresting her nation from 20 years of brutal authoritarian rule by President Marcos; she then led her people to healing and democracy.

Given the conflicts rife in America today, with some suggesting that race relations are worse than they have been in the past two decades, the task ahead of the next president of the United States may, in some ways, not be all that much less daunting than that facing Aquino in the Philippines in 1986.

— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 28, 2016

Perhaps one of the least persuasive arguments for voting for Hillary Clinton is the concern that you will be labeled a woman-hater if you do not. This is unethical browbeating at best. The suggestion that only a misogynist would heed the criticism leveled at Hillary and put her in the White House without seriously considering the ramifications dampens any opportunity for intelligent debate. And it just shows how backward the United States is in some ways even today. Unfortunately, that is the gist of what is seen on many posts on Twitter and Facebook – from friends, and not just from famous people such as Herman Cain.

Nobody has a crystal ball. Elections are supposed to be the time for citizens to carefully consider who can best lead the country and cope well with the seemingly insurmountable challenges that lie ahead. History, for better or for worse, is being made regardless of who is at the helm.

Did Hillary make history by becoming the Democratic candidate for president? She certainly didn't make world history -- not even close! And the fact that the Democratic Party has turned this into a cause for rejoicing is sad to me. It is a sign that the nominations for candidacy were not really about issues but about catchy clichés and memes.

Let us hope that the coming presidential election campaign between Hillary and Donald can get beyond that inanity. Let us raise our glasses in a toast to intelligent debate, rancorous and biting as it may be, but intelligent. Dare I hope for that?

[Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]

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