By Craig Hardegree | 

Mostly I wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening. So I didn’t have to endure that sinking heartsick feeling I get every time I start thinking about President Obama no longer being president.

But that 11-hour inquisition in October made my blood boil. Many years ago, to protect a client and my integrity, I abruptly left a law firm and filed a bar complaint against my former boss. I ended up alone on the end of a long marble table in a high-dollar hot-shot Atlanta law firm for a grueling vindictive six-hour deposition by three highfalutin lawyers on the other who had a combined total of 60 years experience. I had two.

I felt her pain.

And it wasn’t just the ridiculousness of the accusations and the unfairness of the length of the witch-hunt. It was five smug snide sneering women-hatin’ men, tag-teaming against a lone female. It was the closest thing we’ve seen to televised torture.

And then there was the debate in December where, between Bernie and O’Malley and George Stephanopoulos and Jonathan Karl and the male-dominated decision-making team at ABC, not a single man — not one — had the sensitivity and decency and leadership skills to do whatever was necessary behind the scenes to spare Hillary the utter humiliation of the debate restarting without her after a bathroom break. I was still leaning Bernie until that moment. If you don’t have the snap-decision-making ability and leadership skills to prevent a few suits from callously leaving a woman vulnerable to jokes and jeers from Trumpian Neanderthals, don’t try to tell me about the miracles you can work on Wall Street.

And, yes, I fully realize the sexist connotations of basing support on sympathy for “the weaker sex” — the specter of a macho savior riding-in to save the day for the poor damsel in distress. But people who know me, know that’s not me.

It’s not sympathy. It’s empathy. It’s identifying with her.

It’s not cherishing. It’s respecting. There’s nothing wrong with men “cherishing” women as long as they first respect them as equals. Or maybe as superiors…because of that wonderful feminine wiring deep down in the motherboard that imparts the immeasurable intuitiveness that is so mysterious to the Neanderthal mind.

And then Hillary did something I wasn’t expecting — she fully embraced President Obama and his legacy. I had written a lot during the 2014 midterms about the huge mistake Michelle Nunn of Georgia and Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky were making by running away from President Obama in their US Senate bids and harkening back to the last white Democratic president because they thought the early-nineties centrist-whitefolk coalitions of Bill Clinton and Sam Nunn were still viable. I said they were both going to lose and deserved to lose. And they did.

But Hillary stood up like a boss, without hesitation or reservation, and fully embraced President Obama. And promised to continue his legacy.

And that warmed my heart. Because all along, what I’ve really wanted, is a third Obama term.

There are other things…she’s the most qualified and experienced candidate in history; President Obama knows her better than almost anyone and he completely — without reservation or asterisk — supports her.

But the main thing.

The main thing that caused this Southern white evangelical male — and some of those terms are being used rather loosely — to go with Hillary, is the feeling that I owe it to her supporters. Not her. Her supporters.

I jumped on board with President Obama in 2007. It was as if my soul were knit unto his. In all my years of closely following politics, I had never had an emotional attachment to a candidate. When Al Gore lost the recount challenge, I didn’t shed a single tear; my day went on as usual.

But when President Obama spoke, he stirred my soul; warmed my heart; brought tears to my eyes. The magnitude of the moment was overwhelming. And by the time he got to the loftily-rhetorical powerful closing with the magnificent emotion-evoking imagery, I was full-on weeping….

“But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

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Yes we can.

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It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

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Yes we can.

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It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

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Yes we can.

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It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

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Yes we can.

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It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

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Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.”

But I was cognizant of the fact that when he won the nomination, there were a lot of females who were as crushed as I was elated. My tears over the powerful stirring I felt in my soul, was matched by their tears of disappointment.

But they didn’t act ugly. They put aside their anguish and disappointment and feelings of betrayal; they focused on the practicalities of what needed to be done, even if their hearts were not in it — exactly what society has always demanded and expected of women.

This is not about Hillary. This is about them; about their dreams and hopes and aspirations; about a country that pinned them behind a second-class-citizen line even as it penned lines proclaiming the self-evident truth that all are created equal; about a society that relegated them to pots and pans and mops and diaper pins, even as it decreed that our Creator had endowed them with the unalienable right to pursue their own happiness.

We menfolk have failed them over and over, time and time again. It’s our time to suck it up. It’s our turn to support them, even if our hearts aren’t in it. We owe them. It’s their turn.

End-Post-Craig-Hardegree

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