I’ve been thinking a lot about Hillary. Trying to suss out why I don’t feel the enthusiasm and love for her as I do for Obama. Politically, they’re very similar; though I was excited about Bernie Sanders’ platform, he was a candidate with faults as well.
HRC has been a part of politics since before I was born. She’s been a part of my awareness of politics 2/3 of my life. My earliest memories of the Clintons is the 92 election (we had a mock vote at my elementary school — I don’t remember who won it; I think it may have been Clinton, but that seems surprising since the area I grew up was predominantly Republican). I remember my dad being ALL FOR Ross Perot. My mom and grandparents were in the Clinton camp.
I grew up with Bill as my president. I have exceptionally vague memories of Reagan and HW Bush, but the Clintons were the ones in office as I matured into a young adult. I remember him on Arsenio. I remember SNL skits and The Animaniacs making fun of him. I probably have more memory of zeitgeist than I do of actual politician.
But I do I remember my dad making disparaging remarks about HRC. Things like “we know who wears the pants in that family” and talking about how shrill she was. Unintentionally (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), he painted a sexist picture of how this woman was stepping outside the ‘traditional’ role of first lady and how terrible she was for it. From a very young age, I was told, explicitly or not, that women should be seen and not heard. I’m fairly certain my dad would deny this up and down, and I don’t mean to lay blame on him alone — society sends this same message. A friend of mine (who has a doctorate in psychology) posted a link to this article titled: “A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow From Perceived Status and Competition” http://www.people.hbs.edu/acuddy/2002,%20fiske,%20cuddy,%20glick,%20%26%20xu,%20JPSP.pdf I’m not saying I personally don’t think she can do the job because she’s a woman, my point is that’s been a message I’ve been around most of my life and I believe it played a part in my expectations of her and feelings toward her as a person. And until I recognized that, I couldn’t move past it.
I was old enough to vaguely understand Monica Lewinsky. I remember my dad making jokes about how he understood why Bill did it because, I mean, “look at his wife”. I’m really torn about how to feel about Bill Clinton. I think he’s an amazing orator, and I think he did a decent job as president, but it’s hard to overlook his inappropriate sexual misconduct and lies to cover it up. Do I think that makes him unfit for presidency (or First Gentlemanship?) No. Moreover, it’s not my marriage. And, as Hillary Clinton herself said:
“Forgiveness is a choice. And I fully respect those who don’t make that choice, for whatever reason, in their personal or their professional lives but for me it was absolutely the right choice,” Hillary Clinton told BBC in 2014, according to the Huffington Post. “For me, it is something that is incredibly difficult but I am grateful every day that that’s the choice that I made and I’ve counseled others to see if in their own hearts they can also do that.”
Though the Clintons are a package deal, Bill isn’t the one running for president. All of my misgivings about his actions have no bearing on weather Hillary Clinton can serve as president. She is certainly experienced — moreso than any politician in my lifetime and probably all of yours. She’s one of the more honest politicians (if we’re measuring factual honesty). Compare Hillary Clinton’s politifact score to Donald Trump’s whopping 14% true or mostly true statements. She’s picked Tim Kaine who is a Genuinely Nice Guy, and overall an honest man who really wants to help people succeed.
The Republicans are saying she’s a liar, she’s crooked, she’s a murderer. We know she’s overwhelmingly truthful, but careful with her words. She IS about as establishment as you get, but she’s earned praise from both sides of the aisle for her work, including many republicans. I don’t buy the email scandal as being a scandal — if you’ve ever worked for the Federal government, you know their IT isn’t always stellar. She didn’t break the law at that time by having her own email server, and I’d like you to find me one other politician in the USA who even understands how their email works. What happened in Benghazi was tragic, and congress spent nearly $7 million of taxpayer’s money on the trial that proved Hillary Clinton was not to blame.
A Hillary Clinton presidency will continue the fight for providing more and better access to healthcare. It will allow us to fight against rising costs of education and try to improve our aging infrastructure. A Hillary Clinton presidency will help ensure that all citizens are treated equally, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Hillary Clinton herself has evolved on a lot of these topics — that shows me she is genuinely willing to learn and adapt (even if the cynical side of me wants to add ‘just to get elected’). But that’s what she SHOULD do. She should be the voice of the people. We the people.
Obama won me over in 2007 when I lived in Illinois. His is the first presidential campaign I donated money to, and the only presidential campaign for which I have ever volunteered. He sold me on a message of hope for our future. President Obama reminded me last night why I fell in love with him and his promise of hope. I believe in providing more opportunity for everyone, not just those born with enough money. I believe #blacklivesmatter. I believe in police officers, but want to end police brutality. I believe love is love and the government shouldn’t decide if two consenting adults should be able to be married. I believe in curing cancer. I believe in exploring space. I believe in stopping climate change. I believe in building stronger friendships with allies in the world. President Obama reminded me I believe in America.
So, yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about Hillary. She isn’t perfect but we need to stop demanding perfect from her. She is the only candidate with a real plan, the only candidate with the fortitude, temperament, intelligence and knowledge to lead this country. She’s the only candidate who will build a solid cabinet and listen to their advice. She’s the only candidate who has positive foreign affairs experience. She’s the only candidate who has risen through nearly thirty years of opponent criticism and lies. We need to stop letting those tired old narratives from a “news” network created to tear down the Clintons. Does she have faults? YES. So let’s make sure she, and all other elected officials are held accountable. As it is often said, democracy is not a spectator sport.
So, yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about Hillary… and I’m with her.