When I hear young women say, and I have heard this ad infinitum, “I want to see a woman in the White House. I’m just not sure Hillary is the one,” I have to wonder what archetypal woman they hold in their psyches for the job. Please tell me, young ladies. What are you talking about? She “comes with ‘strings?'” Absolutely! At your age she was fabricating those strings, just as you are forming bases for your futures. She did not spring onto the scene fully formed.
As a young law student, she worked for the underrepresented. As a law graduate, she worked for families and children who lived on the margins and in the shadows – people who wanted to contribute every bit as much as you do now and had contributions to make but were deprived of opportunity. Hillary Clinton has often said, “Talent is universal. Opportunity is not.”
As First Lady of Arkansas she improved the quality and equality of the educational system in her state. As FLOTUS, she brought health care for children into law and pioneered women’s rights at the center of U.S. policy.
When she entered the Senate, she put her nose to the grindstone to get the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the Zadroga Act, measures to protect women and children, and she learned. This is important – she learned by watching, from the perspective of the Senate Armed Services Committee, an effective way to assess and improve the efficiency of a government department.
She later applied that lesson, as Secretary of State, to her own department. She evaluated and overhauled the whole department. It had never been done before! She successfully negotiated an arms treaty with Russia, salvaged treaties between Turkey and Armenia, visited dangerous territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet with refugees – especially women and children – who live in mortal terror there, and she stood up to dangerous, powerful men and told them exactly what they would need to do to gain our trust and support. These are just for starters. If you read her books, you will see many more examples of her accomplishments.
Very few of the other candidates on either side have even met a fraction of the world leaders with whom Hillary has developed working relationships. None of them on either side can point to any treaties they have crafted in partnership with any other country. These are important attributes in a president. The White House is not a training academy.
What more, exactly, would you expect in any candidate, I wonder. In a man, her qualifications would be extraordinary, stunning, astounding. What more, exactly do you expect in a female presidential candidate? And why? Even if you hold her to the traditional (sexist) requirement that a woman must have twice or thrice the qualifications a man would need, Hillary Clinton far outstrips all of her opposition on all sides.
I have yet, given all the generalities that slip so easily off the tongue, to hear any specifics in the way of where her deficits lie. If the complaint is that there is too much, then you need to remember that a great deal should be accomplished in an adult life. Hillary Clinton has accumulated an enormous curriculum vitae. It is impressive. Should a candidate for POTUS not be impressive?
To me, the mantra holds no credibility. Yes, a woman, but not sure this is the woman? What magical woman do you expect to come along better qualified than this one? Hillary has spent months answering many, many questions.
Before you write her off, before you enter that booth tomorrow, I think Hillary and we, her supporters who have worked long and hard for her, deserve a better answer from you than that simple mantra because Hillary Clinton is a serious candidate regardless of her sex, her spouse, and her “strings” – or perhaps because of those strings.
Opportunity is not universal. You stand in a place of privilege. You have an opportunity the rest of us do not. There is no magical candidate. No one can wave a magic wand, say “abracadabra” and change overnight policies and programs that meet resistance from the other side of the aisle. But one candidate has a long and appreciable record of making progress in partnership with the other side whether is it the other side of the chamber or of the ocean.
It is in everyone’s interest for you to think deeply and thoroughly before you cast your very precious and privileged vote.
Hillary does not make pie-in-the-sky promises. She does have extensive, solid plans. She has said that she does not want to over-promise and under-deliver.
Hillary continued broadcasting her message tonight, in Hudson New Hampshire and on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow.
Hillary told Maddow that even when allegations are never proven, a residue remains. In defense of herself, she pointed to the many non-establishment endorsements she has won.
In our justice system, proof is the burden of the prosecution not of the defense.