Hillary Clinton steps to the podium, clad in white, like some kind of heavily Scotchgard-ed painting of the annunciation/like Daenerys Targaryen if Daenerys were a grandmother who had been subjected to rigorous body criticism her entire life/like a modest whiteboard/like she’s about to go star in an all-female revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
[lets out a long breath]
EVERYTHING IS PROCEEDING AS I HAVE FORESEEN.
I MAPPED ALL OF THIS OUT, DOWN TO THE SECOND. GRANTED, WHEN I ENVISIONED THIS MOMENT, IT WAS IN 2008, BUT THIS IS STILL THE PANTSUIT I ENVISIONED WEARING DURING IT.
Actually, original plan was to have the whole convention in a greenhouse so that at the end when I accepted the nomination and the balloons fell, we could also make the WHOLE CEILING SHATTER, but I was told that this would create undue liability.
I hate undue liability, unless it is something I have created by hosting all my emails on a private server. (I AM SORRY. If you look at most of my emails, they are me asking how to print things, close iTunes, and make the talking paper clip stop. I swear. Please don’t inquire further.)
It is no exaggeration to say that I have been rehearsing for this moment my entire life.
“I accept your nomination” was the first phrase I managed to utter. Then “mama.” Then, confusingly, “whitewater.”
My career in politics began when I was four. I went outside and got bullied about something I was wearing. That, at least, has not changed. I have worn everything from skirts to pantsuits. My hair has been tried at every conceivable length that hair can be worn, other than Lady Godiva and bald. Nothing has stopped the complaints. Maybe it’s not me, after all. Maybe it’s you.
Maybe being a woman in public life is the last true Procrustean Bed. Maybe.
Who knows. (innocent shrug)
I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I were male and people only disliked me for my personality, instead of for my personality and my gender. Think of everything I could have accomplished! Ha, ha, ha, *natural laugh* (Blood vessel bursts in eye.)
I am not an inspiring orator. My idea of a cutting line is to say that “Donald Trump spoke for seventy-six-odd minutes, and I do mean odd.” Ha ha ha! My staff begged me to cut that, but it tickled me.
Too bad. I am what you have instead of the imaginary thing that would be perfect.
I am problematic. Fine. So are you. So is everyone. Except Bernie Sanders. Bernie (eye twitches) thank you, for everything. (Eye twitches more) You are perfect. (Leg begins spastically kicking) Your followers are the only ones who are truly post-sexist, and they see past appearances to the truth of things.
YES. CHANT. INTERRUPT ME. BY ALL MEANS. I’LL WAIT.
I HAVE WAITED MY WHOLE LIFE.
LORD KNOWS I CAN WAIT THIRTY MORE SECONDS WHILE YOU CHANT.
GO ON. I FEED ON YOUR ANGER.
I am (twitch) glad we have moved the party left. So glad. Do you need me to become a socialist? I can oppose the TPP. I can oppose whatever you would like. I’ll evolve like I’m a Galapagos finch being observed by Charles Darwin. I’ve evolved before, on gay marriage, on that crime bill. What can I say? I believe in science.
I have ridden here on the backs of a thousand essays entitled, CAN WOMEN HAVE IT ALL? I knitted this suit from the untrimmed arm hairs of a thousand straw-man feminists. It took a village.
I have had to hear the word “cankle” more times than a human being should have to hear any word. I’ve heard other words, too. And still, like the price of a pumpkin spice latte or the endowment of the Clinton foundation, I rise.
Do you want to have another Benghazi hearing? Because I have a suit and a bored expression all picked out, and I will sit through it.
I know I’m not perfect. I am, I often hear, the slightly dented thing you get that you know does not come with every feature you dreamed of, instead of the new thing you wanted. My slogan isn’t perfect. “I’m with her?” It sounds like you are trying to get a seat at a club.
Have you ever noticed how whenever a woman becomes popular enough, it always turns out that there is something wrong with her? We love her we love her we love her and then — boom — we turn. Taylor Swift. Anne Hathaway. We slobber over them and adore them and then it turns out they are something else than what we thought, and then — they curdle. Like milk. (My suit is also like milk.)
This definitely isn’t sexism. Sexism would be if we just went up to women and said “You can’t do that because you’re a woman.” We know not to do that any more. It’s gauche. But that doesn’t mean there’s not ALWAYS SOMETHING SLIGHTLY THE MATTER with the way women do things. They talk at the wrong pitch. Or they use too many hedging words. Or too few hedging words. Or they apologize too much. Or if they don’t apologize, the people around them get their backs up, like cats that have been incorrectly rubbed. Ha ha, women and their cats. Ha ha ha. Natural laugh. Talk less. Smile more. I used the wrong Hamilton quote in this speech. (I already regret using a Hamilton quote in this speech at all. The trick to trying too hard is it has to look effortless, like dancing backwards in heels. And with me, it never does. I’m always, obviously, walking forward in sensible flats with a rubber sole.)
This was always going to be awkward, America.
Can I use a sex metaphor? When it comes to virginity, either you lose it right away, or you wait until you’re thirty-eight and then it gets weird. America, when it comes to having a female president, has waited two hundred-plus years and it has gotten weird. Now you wonder: are you settling? Are you letting yourself down? Is this your beautiful house and your beautiful wife?
Listen: it was never going to be any different. It was always going to end like this.
DON’T YOU SEE
THIS HUMAN FORM IS JUST A FLESH CAGE FOR MY MIND, AND MY MIND HAS BEEN PLOTTING THIS FOR SIXTY-ODD, VERY-ODD YEARS.
We can go all night. We can go for years. We have, actually.
I know I’m too familiar. I’m the girl who did the whole lab project and organized the whole group presentation and then let Chad give the speech.
I never had a dream. A dream is just a distraction for your mind, when your mind could be pondering common-sense solutions to problems. I had a goal. A goal that I could someday stand here and deliver a competent speech. A speech that would be graded on the curve I have meticulously set for myself over my entire public life, by delivering all my speeches as though they were a painful duty and I had just swallowed several shards of glass. On that curve, I passed with flying colors, just like the Very Natural And Not At All Forced Cards that we passed out to form an American flag in the audience.
I am not a blank slate onto which you can project your hopes and dreams. My suit is, but I am not. I am Hillary Rodham Clinton, with everything that entails. I have baggage. But I am running against a human poop emoji, so, you know, there’s that.
I’m here. FINALLY.
I’m first. By God I will be first so no little girl has to go through being first again. It sucks.