Micek: A 102-year-old's view of Hillary's moment

John L. Micek
John Micek, editorial and opinions editor for PennLive/The Patriot-News.

PHILADELPHIA – If there was any doubt as to the massive symbolic significance of Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination for president, one need only look at the face of Jerry Emmett.

Emmett, who is 102, was born before American women won the right to vote.

On Tuesday night in the Wells Fargo Center, the honorary member of Arizona's delegation to the Democratic National Convention pledged her home state's votes to Clinton.

"I never thought I'd see a woman in a presidential election. When I was growing up, women could be teachers, secretaries or nurses — and my mother was snubbed at our church for working at all," she told The Arizona Republic. "That a woman would have this role in the political process ..."

Emmett was 6 years old in 1920 when the 19th Amendment granted women the vote nationwide, The Republic reported. In Arizona, women won the vote in 1912 and voted in their first presidential election in 1916, the newspaper noted.

"All the little old ladies, with their gloves and everything, were so excited," she said of her mother's vote in that first presidential election. "Most of the men were, too — a lot of the women would tell their husbands how to vote."

Love her or hate her, and there are many who do both in equal measure, Americans can join together in celebration this week in confirmation of a simple truth:

When parents tell their daughters they can grow up to do anything they want, including run for, and perhaps even win, the Presidency of the United States, it won't be a mere hope — it will have been made real.

Clinton reaffirmed that late Tuesday, appearing via video-link on the arena's Jumbotron, as a group shot of America's presidents (including her own husband, former President Bill Clinton), shattered around her.

Speaking from New York, and surrounded by girls and young women, Clinton told them: "I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next."

Over the next next four-and-a-half months, Americans will (and should) have a vigorous discussion about whether Clinton or her fellow New Yorker, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump, are best qualified to lead the nation through a time of change at home and great uncertainty abroad.

Whether a woman is capable of serving as President isn't a question. Whether this woman should be president is a question that has yet to be settled.

There are few politicians in modern times as polarizing — or as flawed — as Hillary Clinton.

Voters will have to carefully consider the totality of her record in three decades in public life before they step into the ballot box in November — as they will with Trump.

For today, at least, we can pause to appreciate the historic nature of a moment on a blazing hot night in a city where our democracy was born.

And then tomorrow, we can go back to arguing over how that democracy should be governed.

John Micek is the opinion editor and political columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.