Hillary Clinton has broken the glass ceiling in American politics. Her political victory is more than just another political victory. It ends with finality a long sought after period of exclusion, 228 years worth, first put into effect by the Founding Fathers when the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788.
There were no women signers of the Declaration of Independence. There were no women members of the Constitutional Convention and when all was said and done with the ratification process, which included all 13 original states ratifying the document, not one woman had anything official to do with it.
The Declaration of Independence, asserting powerfully that all men are created equal, had no Jewish signers, no Black signers, no Muslim signers, no women signers, no acknowledged gay signers that we know of and on and on and on. In fact, only one signer was Catholic. The majority minus one were Protestant, landowners and many slaveholders.
Such are the ironies of our arguably womanless founding.
There are no known Founding Mothers.
For the next 132 years, until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1920, women could not vote.
Can you imagine that?
I can’t. But that’s the way the world turned at that time in our history.
Now comes Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady, former U.S. Senator, former Secretary of State and currently the presumptive Democratic nominee running for President of the United States.
If this is not a major political event that women of all ages, all colors, all religions, and all persuasions do not rally around, then there is something dramatically askew with the normal path that political races generally take in presidential elections.
There is polling that reveals younger women are unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations that older women have experienced as they passed through their lives. They do not recall nor do they understand, and many are said not to care about the dramatic changes in the social structure of this nation that women had to fight for, tooth and nail.
The younger women’s set will be difficult to capture.
Clinton’s piercing of the glass ceiling in American politics is one of the great historical moments in American history. There is not a hint of doubt about this.
Her campaign now becomes an all-out effort to finish the process that began with the Women’s Suffrage Movement, which began coincident with the Industrial Revolution in 1848.
Clinton will have come a long, long way for all the women in this nation when she enters the Convention Hall in Philadelphia on July 25.
Although many younger people view society as genderless as they try to find their way in our brave new world, older folks like me view this as a transcendant moment in our political history, a seminal moment for the women not only of this nation but for women around the world.
Joshua Resnek is the publisher of the Jewish Journal. He is 66.