Why Hillary Clinton Thrills the Hell Out of Me
There is a view, often expressed on my social media feeds, which maintains that I am voting for Hillary Clinton because I’m a stupid, uninformed, misguided feminist who only knows how to vote with her ignorant vagina. While this may be possible, I’d like to entertain some other potential reasons for my support of Hillary.
I am a first-generation American, millennial, female voter and I’m not only voting for Hillary Clinton, but I also really like Hillary Clinton.
She’s the kind of woman I’d share a bottle of wine with. Maybe this is my vagina’s fault, but maybe I really heart Hillary because I was raised by a single mother who woke up everyday and did the unglamorous and grueling work of providing for her six children. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve come to recognize and admire Hillary for showing up, day in and day out, for the promise of unsexy, slow-going and hard-won progress.
I’d like to literally stream Netflix and chill with Hillary. Seriously, I’d be down to snuggle in onesies with a pint of mint chocolate chip and do a Gilmore Girls binge with Secretary Clinton. Maybe that’s because I’m an American-Latina who’s experienced first hand the inequities that so many children and families in underserved communities face in our country. Inequities that Hillary has spent her entire career trying to understand and rectify.
Even before the Latino vote was crucial to elections, Hillary held the first ever White House convening on Hispanic youth as First Lady. She’s fought for early childhood education so that a kid like me, growing up in the public school system, doesn’t fall behind before she even gets the chance to begin. She’s defended school lunch programs so that a kid like me, dependant on those programs for her mid-day meal, doesn’t sit distracted by hunger pangs as she tries to focus on her math problems.
Maybe Hillary’s my kind of bad-ass because she wastes no time licking wounds. When she lost the presidential nomination to Obama in ’08, she immediately urged her supporters to back him with grace and without reservation. When President Obama called her to serve his administration as Secretary of State, she answered. Even further back, when her push for healthcare reform failed in 1994, she didn’t run and hide in shame or wallow in defeat. She got right back to working with Democrats and Republicans to bring healthcare to 8 million uninsured children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, so that a mother like mine, raising 6 kids on a single income, didn’t have to choose between a trip to the doctor’s office with one sick kid or a week’s worth of groceries for the whole family.
I can think of no better definition for a bad-ass than this: one who, in the face of failure and ridicule, remains undeterred from her mission to make children’s lives better.
Maybe Hillary’s my candidate because as a longtime ally in the battle for comprehensive immigration reform, she co-sponsored Ted Kennedy’s immigration reform bill — a bill Bernie Sanders voted against in 2007. He claims the bill would have created a second class in this country, but I’m not buying this excuse in light of the harsh reality that there already exists a second class in this country. It is made up of hard working immigrants of all ethnicities who largely contribute to our society, yet their undocumented status allows others to exploit them through a host of methods from wage theft and sexual assault, to being denied bottled water in Flint, Michigan.
Undocumented people in this country are willing to do back breaking jobs under no protection and with no recourse so that their children might have a better future. While our inadequate immigration system has been turned into a hyper-politicized topic, a humanitarian crisis is growing in this country, a crisis that our 21st Century policy should be sophisticated enough to address.
Maybe I’m voting for Hillary because I’m beyond ready for a president who is capable of working with both Republicans and Democrats to find common ground. I’m ready for a president who will finally push through immigration reform that will boost our economy, recognize the humanity of the 11 million undocumented people in this country, and remind us that every single non-Native American family in this country came here with hope for a better life.
That hope is not inherently illegal or criminal — it is called the American Dream.
And while all this is true, Hillary knows that Latinos are not single issue voters. Our families didn’t come to this country to solve the immigration reform problem: they came to thrive. They came to get educated, to start businesses and to contribute. From access to healthcare and higher education, to reproductive rights and support for small business owners- Hillary has made real and steady progress on these issues which greatly impact our communities.
I am fully aware that “real and steady progress” is not the most inspiring of battle cries — especially in the face of those calling for revolution — but let us not forget that many of our families fled countries where dismantled systems made room for violence and tyranny.
I don’t think we need a revolution in this country; I think we need an evolution in this country. And evolution is slow and steady.
So, yeah, I would totes be Hillary’s BFF. Maybe that’s because I have come to see with my own eyes, through various humanitarian efforts, that women are underrepresented, disadvantaged and exploited globally — from the halls of power to the back alleys of red light districts to the trafficking rings in which women are murdered, raped and traded as if they were objects rather than human beings. Before “Girl Power” was a hashtag, Hillary fought the unpopular fight and defended women here at home and around the world. She dared to demand that women’s rights be seen as human rights. And she traveled the world as Secretary of State insisting that world leaders include women in their countries’ economic and security plans. That thrills and inspires the hell out of me.
Yes, I think it’s pretty awesome that Hillary Clinton is a woman. But if you showed me a purple faced, three-eyed Martian with a better record on defending women’s rights, fighting for the most vulnerable families, and working across party lines to actually get things done, than I would be stumping for that purple faced, three-eyed Martian. But the fact is, no candidate in this presidential election comes close to Hillary when it comes to standing with disenfranchised communities.
So, maybe I’m supporting Hillary because I can’t manage to wrangle my vagina’s political agenda. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m voting for Hillary because no candidate in this race has done more to empower this first-generation American millennial woman, raised by a single immigrant mother, and educated in public schools, to grow up and contribute back to society — even if I needed a free lunch along the way. She believes in the potential of a girl like me. And I believe in the potential of a president like her.