Watching media about college growing up, I so often saw my female idols of the 60’s and 70’s as beacons of political activism, footage filled with protests, posters, any means of gaining a louder voice in the American system through civic engagement and high levels of participation. I had always hoped, then, that I would end up the same way in college.
This weekend, I finally had an opportunity, I believe, to epitomize this vision of young political participation in the culmination of a semester of political efforts: I met whom I so, so hope, with all of my being (and feel pretty good about, thanks to one Nate Silver and various other promising polls) will be our next POTUS, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Waiting in line for an hour in the suddenly freezing cold of October this past Saturday night after a weekend of canvassing, phone banking, and meeting with various local and state representatives to encourage people to become further involved, my other Dems and I could not have been more excited. Through our connections on the campaign, we ended up in the first row of seats (well, standing spaces, I should say) on the rope line around the stage.
And, after an hour of listening to that quintessentially tacky and inspirational playlist, we finally got to see our potential first female president speak to a massive crowd in Penn Park, less than twenty feet away from where I was standing. As soon as she walked out on stage (though definitely shorter than I had realized, in all honesty), I was astonished by her presence, by her grace – and by the sheer gravity and power that her existence and words seemed to generate. In tears, I listened as she talked about the policies – finally – that are near and dear to us young college students, all gathered so hopefully to hear some good news in a largely dark and negative election cycle.
In a moment that I certainly will never forget, I got to hold Hillary Clinton’s hand and say hello, watching as she listened to another Penn student explain to her our efforts on campus in canvassing and organizing, as well as voter registration, to which she answered, “May God bless you all.”
Moments like this make for a payoff of the many hours spent volunteering, planning, orchestrating – surreal moments that we’ll all remember as long as we live.