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Paving the Way

I’m deep in rehearsals for my thesis, It’s in the Bag, a time-bending look at the time-forgotten lineage of women+ who have run for President of the United States.

The piece reaches into the black hole of history and excavates nine women+ who have run for President or Vice President, telling parts of their stories, and especially the media’s various responses to them. It’s been fascinating to research these women and find the similarities—and sometimes find exactly the same words used by them or about them—across time.

One such example appeared to me earlier today. In a New York Times piece, a political science professor was quoted as saying:

Although Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first woman president, she paved the way for Americans to start thinking about it.

This immediately brought to mind Elizabeth Dole, who considered running for president in the 2000 election. When she pulled out of the race in 1999, she spoke along the same lines:

I think what we've done is pave the way for the person who will be the first woman president. And I'm just delighted at what has happened because I feel like we’ve really made a great contribution.

How much did she? How much did Hillary? The current election cycle will help us find out.

In the meantime, It’s in the Bag runs February 20-23 at Carnegie Mellon University. Tickets are available here. It’s a suggested show according to this Pittsburgh February Theater Guide. Don’t miss it!

Rachel Karp