I think I’m more nervous about writing this piece than I was talking about Donald Trump. I grew up watching Fox News, listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio, and reading all about the President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. I knew the Clintons, or at least I thought I did.
I get the distrust, even the fear that I’ve heard some people express about Hillary Clinton because I used to feel it too. I know that, while a lot of people will understand why I don’t support Trump, many of them might not understand why I would say anything positive about Hillary Clinton. That’s why I’m nervous. Giving reasons you don’t support someone is a lot easier than saying why you do.
I didn’t vote for Clinton in the Primaries, but once it was clear that Republican ticket would go to someone I could not support, I knew that I would likely vote for her in the general election. But a funny thing happened since then. The more time I spent researching her as a candidate, and not just the opposition to someone I hated more, the more I found myself starting to actively agree with her.
Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect, but I’m not voting just to stop Trump. Over the past election cycle, I’ve made the decision to vote for her.
On Her Husband
I think the fact that I even have to make a statement about Hillary Clinton’s husband says a lot about the lopsidedness of how we treat candidates based on gender, but I also know that it is one of the frequently cited examples for not supporting her, especially recently.
We know for a fact that he’s had multiple extramarital affairs, and he stands accused of doing some pretty terrible things. If the claims against him are true, I believe he should be held accountable for them.
I have not, and will not, make excuses for Bill Clinton’s behavior. But Bill Clinton is not running for president, so his faults (or talents) should have no more bearing on this election than Melania Trump’s does.
Some criticize Hillary Clinton for how she treated her husband’s accusers, using this a proof that she’s anti-women, despite her political record and public statements. I disagree. I think that this shows that, like a lot of us, she’ll find herself doing something in the name of family that she’d never consider if it was for someone she didn’t know.
This does not excuse her behavior, but I think that calling her two-faced on her public stances because she acted differently when something impacted her personally. This is called being human.
If someone you loved was accused of something as terrible as sexual assault, how would you react if you lived in the public eye like a president’s family does? What you say to that person is one thing, what you say to the press is another. It doesn’t make your actions right, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for them.
That’s the last time I’m going to talk about Bill Clinton or Melania Trump. They’re not running for president.
On Her History
Clinton seems to have new rumors made about her faster than anyone can take the time to research them. As someone who’s been in politics for more than three decades, she has a lot of history to dig through, and the Republican Party seemingly made it their mission to keep the Clinton family constantly invested in a scandal.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching the big scandals I grew up hearing about on talk radio and found that most of them had little but smoke behind them. I’ve read the DNC leaks, Podesta Leaks, and I’ve followed her email saga. An overwhelming majority of these recent controversies are either smoke, outright hoaxes, or they’re people highlighting sections of an email and praying that you don’t ask “what’s the context?”
If you want to discuss a specific issue, a single issue, I’ll be happy to. But until then let’s leave these rumors alone. I’m not saying I don’t have my reservations, but I think that most of the outright hatred of her is not warranted.
On the Issues
I don’t agree with her on everything, but there’s a lot that I do. More importantly, I’m convinced that, whatever her faults, she believes in things, she has goals. To paraphrase a line from “The Election of 1800” from the musical Hamilton: Clinton has opinions, Trump has none.
One of the reasons I supported Bernie Sanders in the primary was his focus on education. One thing I’ve come to like about Clinton’s plan is that it’s not just about college. It’s about the entire education process. Our education system has a lot of issues, and our teachers work incredibly hard for salaries that most of us would balk at when we look at how much time they invest. We need to fix this.
This one is a big one for me. Racism, Sexism, LGB and Trans-Phobia are real issues that we can’t continue to ignore as a country. Some like pointing to Clinton’s previous positions on Gay Marriage and some other issues. But positions can change. I know mine did. In my research of Clinton and her campaign, I believe that her positions changed as well.
Of every position Hillary Clinton holds, her beliefs on the family, specifically for working mothers and young child education, seems to be the one she cares most deeply about. Having policies that benefit the modern family, the one that we have not the one that holds to some archaic ideal, is so important in early childhood development. I would put her position on Criminal Justice reform here as well, since it means keeping more fathers with their families, and making it easier for men to find employment without worrying about a felony record.
Clinton’s positions aren’t perfect. There are some things that I strongly disagree with. But I disagree with every candidate (major or minor) that is running. For me, Clinton’s campaign has a lot that I agree, and more importantly: I think that she has the capability to see some of those changes through. I can’t say that about anyone else running.
This is Not a Free Pass
The polls show Hillary Clinton up by a significant margin nationally, as well as in most swing states. It’s likely she could win the Whitehouse by a large margin, thanks in part to a growing support in two traditionally Republican sectors: white college-educated voters, and white suburban women.
But I think she’s smart enough to realize that this doesn’t give her a mandate.
A lot of this support, particularly in those two recent groups, comes because those voters made the decision that her opponent is unfit for the presidency. Even if Congressional Democrats pick up every contested seat, the majority they’ll have will be a slim one, and it’s unlikely that they’ll win every seat unless a lot of Republican voters choose straight ticket democrat. To get things done, she’ll need to work with people who don’t agree with her. She’s not going to get a free pass once she’s in power, from Congress or from the public.
Even if she wins in a landslide, Hillary Clinton, and our country, have a lot of soul-searching to do. This election season highlighted just how divided we are. My vote for her does not mean I give up the right to be critical of her. But I’m going to do it as someone who wants to see her be better at her job, not as someone who simply wants to tear her down.
I’ve come to love the slogan “Stronger Together” because I believe in it. One of the things I hate most about our current political process is that we’ve turned the concept of compromise, of working together to find a solution, into a sign of weakness. No one is immune to blind spots. No one is immune to prejudice or irrational assumptions.
I believe that the best we can be looks a lot like diverse groups working together, even when we disagree. I don’t want every person to believe the same things I do. That is not America.
We are stronger together because we’re not the same.
Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate. In a lot of ways, she’s not even an ideal candidate. She has some pretty deep flaws, but at the end of the day, I’ve come to genuinely think that she wants to see the lives of others improve. I can work with that.