I’m with HER

10 Oct

I remember an early conversation with my brother when we were still talking politics (we’ve since ceased doing so to maintain our relationship) wherein he expressed his belief that I and many women were going to vote for Hillary not solely but largely because she was a woman. At the time I recall bringing up many different reasons I would be voting for her and saying that, while that was a factor, it wasn’t a determining factor.

 

That’s changed for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was always excited by the idea of the first woman president. I have said before that no matter who wins this election, I will be crying – tears of joy and relief if it is Hillary and bitter tears of fear and anger if it is Trump. I tear up just *thinking* about a woman president – that it’s Hillary was, at one time, almost a disappointment for me. Do I still wish she was a more perfect candidate? Yes. I still wish she was less robotic and more broadly appealing. I still wish her (amazing, brilliant, nuanced, smart) responses were snappier, that she was more charismatic. I wish she would hit back harder, instead of simply treating the outrageous claims made against her as below her, not even worthy of response. I wish she hadn’t used that private email server or at the least had been upfront and forthright about it from the very beginning. I wish she wasn’t so hawkish. I wish she wasn’t so cozy with Wall Street, and Israel. I wish she wasn’t so “establishment”. Honestly, I wish she wasn’t a Clinton. It’s the same reason Jeb Bush’s candidacy was problematic to me – I don’t want the same two families running the country for decades.

 

And yet. There are many other reasons I do support her. First and foremost, she is our best option now. Like it or not, one of these two candidates – Trump or Hillary – is going to be our next president. One option is insane, the other is, well, not ideal. I’ll take “not ideal” over “insane” any day. But beyond that first, obvious, reason: no one can argue that she isn’t qualified. She has worked in law since her 20’s, and in government as a senator and then secretary of state since 2001. Some of the reasons so many on the left despise her (she’s establishment, she’s been there forever) are also the same reasons she is perfect for the job – this isn’t her first rodeo. She is famous for reaching out across the aisle and getting it done. She has always put women and children first and devoted years of service to uplift our causes. She is pro-choice. She is tough and can stand up to criticism. She is polished and professional. And yes, she is a woman.

 

The reason that is now one of the deciding factors for me has been because I have been watching during this election season and during these debates especially. I have always known that we need more women in power, we need more representation to make sure our needs are met and our causes are championed. There are many attacks you can make on Hillary that are grounded in her past actions, her policy proposals, prior statements, etc. But too many of the attacks that I have seen made on her and comments about her this election cycle have been misogynistic, sexist, and ignorant. The false equivalency of the two candidates alone stinks of sexism. It is the classic case of the underqualified man being held up as equal to the qualified and capable woman.

 

Many women have watched these last two debates, nodding our heads with recognition as Hillary is talked over and cut off, as she plays by the rules of engagement and Trump flouts them. We’ve heard the comments made about her smile and her power suits and her heels and her hair and her voice and her stamina. We’ve seen her slight smirks and shimmies as resistance, as protest – often these kinds of actions are all women are left when faced with having to treat as an equal a man below you in every way – uneducated and unqualified to even speak on the same issues, yet afforded the same status by the simple fact of his gender. In Trump’s case, he’s been afforded this status by the sliver of the electorate that actually came out to vote in the Republican primaries, not simply because he is a man – although certainly if a woman ran an identical campaign she would be laughed out of the race. But most women relate to this experience in general.

 

It’s been said before in terms of “can you imagine if Hillary had 5 children by 3 different men?” but really the question should be: “can you imagine if it was Daisy Trump, not Donald?” If Daisy Trump had 5 children by 3 different men, if Daisy Trump mocked disabled reporters, called Mexicans rapists, was caught on tape saying she can get away with groping men because she’s famous and that she goes after married men regularly? Not even Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann have said or done anything half so ridiculous or hateful and, while both have been successful local politicians, they have been summarily laughed off the national political stage. I’m not saying I want a Daisy Trump or a more hateful Sarah Palin – I’m just saying they aren’t allowed to find the same kind of success as candidates that Donald Trump has. His brash, “no-bullshit”, “non-pc” style? Unattractive and unappealing when coming from a woman. This is one of the numerous ways sexism, misogyny and even rape-culture have been the underpinning of this election cycle.

 

Now I will vote Hillary because she’s a woman. Because we need more women in power, because she has proven time and again an able champion for women’s rights. And because I see her now. I recognize the woman on the stage and I want her, I want all of us, to rise above this moment in our history – this moment when women, apparently free and empowered, are still so woefully under-represented in the halls of power, when our presence in this arena is an aberration, an irregularity. Hillary Clinton is not a perfect woman, or a perfect person, or a perfect candidate, but she’s my candidate, now more than ever.

 

Please, if you are thinking about abstaining from voting or voting third party, reconsider. If you are a Trump supporter, I know I won’t reach you (it’s unlikely you’d be reading this blog post anyway) – but, especially if you’re in a swing state, please consider voting for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is one of the worst human beings, let alone presidential candidates, that I’ve ever known of – don’t let your disappointment in our political system  or your own fortunes allow him to become leader of the free world.

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