Millions of voters have thrown their support behind Hillary Clinton in this election, and many of them have a lot at stake come November. In this weekly series, we’ll let folks from different communities who are stumping for Hillary talk about the campaign in their own words.
Meet Molly Allen, another feminist for Hillary.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your story?
I’m the Grants and Operations Manager at a small nonpartisan nonprofit in Oakland, CA that focuses on higher education policy and reducing student debt. I have spent almost my entire professional career working on poverty alleviation issues in one way or another. Right now I am in more of a behind the scenes role that deals with fundraising, operations, compliance, etc. My husband and I live in the Bay Area, and we have a wild little boy and an aging dog-ter, and I’m also a cartoonist in my spare time.
There’s a lot at stake in this election. What issues matter to you most, and why?
You’re right – there is so much at stake, and this feels like the most important election of my lifetime in so many ways. The issues that I care most about include: protecting reproductive freedom and LGBT rights, implementing sensible gun control, affordable childcare, paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, debt-free college, the environment, and of course the SCOTUS appointments. It is also critical to me that we keep the nation laser-focused on racial justice – my son is biracial, and the fact that I worry about my husband surviving an encounter with police is so sad and scary. We can do so much better. We must.
Why are you a Hillary Clinton supporter?
As a feminist and as a woman, I could not be more excited to cast my vote for Hillary and finally, FINALLY, see what an accomplished, brilliant woman can achieve in the White House. As I’ve expressed in one of the “secret” groups for Hillary that I’m a part of, I support Hillary not because she is the first woman to symbolically walk on the moon, but because she is a woman who has been so visibly punished for the crime of being a woman. A brave woman who has been told countless times to sit down and shut up, that she has no place at the men’s table, that she was ahead of her time, that she was too abrasive, too ambitious, not soft enough, not likable enough, too smart for her own good. A woman who heard all of that, took the kind of abuse that no one other than maybe Obama himself can appreciate, looked us straight in the eye and said “nope.” She said she will not allow others to define her, to control her, to minimize her accomplishments, to make her bold ideas feel small, to tell her that she was trying too hard, or to know her place. She got on stage while the world watched and said, “women’s rights are human rights” when everyone told her not to, and then she did it again to promote equality for LGBTQ around the world. I think about all our ancestors who weren’t allowed to vote as well as those who did vote but never imagined a woman – a mother – would ever be on the ticket, and of course what this will mean to future generations of girls.
But, I am mostly excited because my four year old SON will get to grow up as the first generation to be influenced by the experience of having a woman POTUS. He will be so much less likely to have that little thought in the back of his mind that I assume most boys and men must have at some point in life (even all the awesome ones) that men just must be inherently better at leading, and more suited for executive leadership than women. My son will hopefully never have to hear the phrase “voting with your vagina” or – let’s face it – secretly think it to himself, because Hillary will help normalize the idea that women and men can be equally good/awful presidents and in her trailblazing, she is paving the way for many more women here and around the world to feel inspired to run for office. While I am thrilled that our daughters won’t feel that sting of shame that comes with realizing we’ve never had a woman POTUS, I am even more happy about how this will shape our sons’ sense of entitlement. We girls inherently know at a very young age that we are just as smart as boys and slowly are conditioned to the reality that boys play by a different set of rules. So the work mostly needs to be done with our sons if we want to see a lasting cultural shift away from structural misogyny. Actions speak louder than words, and the act of electing a woman will say much more than any lecture parents can give to their kids about gender equality. If this means I’m voting with my vagina, then as a smart woman once said, deal me in!
How are you supporting Hillary in the election?
I’ve been making small donations to her campaign regularly, particularly when I feel outraged or impotent about what Trump or other haters say about Hillary. Oh, she’s not qualified? Donate $10. Oh, she’s playing the woman card? Donate $20. Oh, she’s a lying liar? Donate $5. It makes me feel like I’m doing something in my own quiet way. This is the first time in my 39 years that I’ve ever contributed to a political campaign. I also went on a date with my mom to see Hillary live in SF as a mother’s day treat to ourselves, which was one of the most inspiring nights of my life. I cried to be in a room of people who see so clearly why she must be our next president. Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) introduced Hillary and had a line that brought down the house when she was speaking about how this is clearly Hillary’s calling in life, “Hillary Clinton paved the way for the world to be ready for Hillary Clinton to be president.” It was so powerful, and I’ll forever cherish that I got to experience that night with my own mother. We had to pass protesters who screamed at us that we were war mongers and supporting a murderer on our way out, but we were on such a high from the event that I felt pity for the protesters, mostly. I wear my Hillary buttons on my purse every day, my Hillary t-shirt on the weekends when I’m out and about, and try to have respectful conversations about why I support HRC on social media.
What’s been your favorite moment of the campaign so far?
Aside from seeing what an electric persona Hillary has in person (I was as surprised as anyone how warm and engaging Hillary was when I was in the room with her), the best part of this campaign for me was the night that she won New Jersey and California and officially secured her spot as the presumed nominee. When she came out on stage and just basked in the glory of the applause, and hugged her family, the began to flow, and I wrapped my son in a bear hug while trying to explain what the concept of tears of joy meant. “No girl has ever been president before in the history of our country, ever, we’ve only allowed men to do it so far, but Hillary might be the first woman president and mommy is so incredibly happy about this. I know it’s hard for you to understand why I’m crying, but I am not sad, I am overwhelmed because this means so much to me. We might get to have a mommy president – so cool, right?” Hillary’s dedication to improving the lives of women and children is so admirable and inspiring to me. I trust her. One of the reasons that I’m so insanely with her is due to how effective she has been in leveraging the Obama coalition and to see with such clarity how much the Democratic party’s core constituents are women and minority voters, who are the ones least likely to be flourishing in America today. This really feels like a turning point where women are especially holding the cards in this election. I believe the moderate republican women who can’t stomach voting for Trump will quietly vote for Hillary and be a part of making history, too. A revolution led by women and minorities, if you will.
You can find Molly on Instagram.