If the talking heads are to be believed (because they’re experts, right?), 2016 voters are all voting against something. Against Trump. Against Hillary. Against the “Establishment.” No one is voting FOR anything.
Well, I don’t fall into the angry voter stereotype. And if my outside-of-the-beltway anecdotal experiences mean anything, I’m not alone by a long shot. I made a positive decision some time ago, before the ugly dynamics of this political season kicked into high gear. I’m for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I didn’t vote for her in 2008. I didn’t vote for her husband during the primaries in 1992. And I have often voted for Democratic candidates who are somewhat left of the party’s center – Jerry Brown, Howard Dean. I live in a reliably blue state. So like the more reasonable voices in the Bernie camp, I sometimes vote for candidates who express ideas or platforms that I want my party to consider.
Why am I for Hillary this time? The reasons are broader and deeper than the reality that she is, by a long shot, the most qualified and experienced candidate with the most mature judgment. I am listening to her rather than reacting against the image (or perceived threat) of her.
At this point in my life, I understand and share her experience as a smart girl, a supportive spouse, a friend, a professional, a parent, a person who has lost parents. I see her comforting and listening to the Mothers of the Movement rather than shouting talking points from a podium. I listen to the Mayor of Flint describe how Hillary was not only the only candidate who called her, but that she followed up with action. I watched her interact with passionate young people from Black Lives Matter who disagreed with her in a way I now recognize as the mother of a teenager who may feel that I can’t always relate, whether or not it’s true.
I relate to Hillary. And I feel she relates to me.
I look at all of the slings and arrows and unrelenting venom she has endured over the course of her adult life in the public eye. No matter how much she accomplishes, no matter how much she excels vis-à-vis her peers, no matter how much her detractors are discredited, she is always demonized. She is even blamed for her husband’s indiscretions. How many of us would be able to endure this with such dignity?
Both Trump and Sanders lash out at the slightest bit of legitimate scrutiny. They, like most of us, would surely wither in the intense heat that this woman has endured and risen above for decades.
Hillary has earned my respect and my vote. She asked for it, she worked for it, and she has never insulted me or my intelligence in the process. She has listened to people like me instead of yelling at me. She doesn’t tell me what I need, she informs herself by opening her ears and her heart.
That’s why I’m FOR Hillary.