Unapologetically Hillary 2016 — Like it or Not, She is One of Us

So she did it, as we all knew she would, Hillary Clinton announced her presidential bid yesterday with a video that unexpectedly caused me to fist pump and shed a tear. Something about those smiling and optimistic people who look like real America with all the true diversity that implies, punched down deep below the crusty shell of my usual jaded cynicism to touch that soft spot where my optimism once lived. Not gonna lie, it felt really nice.

I’m one of those super lefties who regularly derides the grease stained and filthy spectacle that is politics in 2015 America. Our system of democracy was on its way to becoming an oligarchy long before the Supreme Court gave the moneyed right that shiny-wrapped gift of Citizens United. The check was in the mail as soon as Reagan took office and began to steadily deregulate every last protection that kept the middle class out of the poor house and the poor house from being torn down to make way for a new Wal-Mart. What I mean to say is, I’m no party stooge. I know that the game of modern politics is bought and sold by those who can afford to play while the rest of us are cast into the wind by the true power brokers; we’re just some sticky gum on the bottom of their shoe. The game is broken and I’ll be the first to admit that. But just because it’s broken doesn’t mean I don’t want to win it.

This is what I’m seeing in some of my lefty circles by people whom I admire and respect and whose hearts beat in that same power-to-the-people rhythm as my own:
- I can’t vote for Hillary because I don’t believe in political dynasties.
- I’m a loyal Dem but I can’t vote for Hillary because of her history of corruption.
- Why can’t Elizabeth Warren run?
-None of it matters anyway, it’s all politics, at this point there’s so much money involved that there’s no difference between the political parties.

To this last I’d like to quickly say that whomever thinks that has never sat in a budget meeting trying to rob Peter to pay Paul because a republican governor chose to gut your state’s education budget to the tune of $700 million dollars. “They’re all just the same anyway” is a luxury statement made by those who have never had to face the hard reality imposed on them by those at the top who make the decisions. Think there’s no difference between the parties? Well, then I’m sure you’d be totally cool trusting Rick Santorum to make a list of what you can and can’t do in your naked time. Because, I mean, all these politicians are the same right? I’m sure he’s down with whatever.

To anyone who would dare serve up that golden-hearted creature Elizabeth Warren in what would be a sure drubbing at the hands of the right wing multi-billionaire Koch machine I say, have you no decency? We already elected the nice man and look what they’ve done to him. For the last seven years we’ve all been extras in a modern day casting of Birth of a Nation and the most our feeble defenses could ever muster was a series of toothless “tsk, tsks” and some Facebook memes. We have done nothing to protect this glorious public servant from seven years of venomous and racist hate, but you want Elizabeth Warren? Fellow Dems, we do not deserve Elizabeth Warren. We have proven we are not good enough for her.

The difference between the parties is the difference between gay marriage and no gay marriage, abortions and no abortions, public education and privatized education that only serves the rich. It is the difference between Pell grants and corporate welfare, gun control and Sandy Hook, defense of our natural resources and a pipeline running through Yellowstone. “No difference between the parties” is the copout that got us eight years of George Bush only because we were maybe a little tired of looking at Al Gore’s face on TV and “really how bad could Bush be anyway? I’m gonna take a stand and vote for Ralph Nader!” When warplanes were bombing Iraq and our brave soldiers were being blown to bits by roadside bombs did we sleep more soundly in our beds, warmly wrapped in the principled stand we took in 2000 to pick the “best person for the job?” I don’t think so.

The simple truth is the Clinton Machine is the only thing that stands between what is left of our democracy and an all out takeover of America by the likes of the ultra-rich. This is the world we live in now, this is the game we must play, and we must play it with the pieces we are dealt, no matter how damaged those pieces may be.

Here’s the thing though Hillary Clinton isn’t damaged. She is battle hardened. She is a woman who has not just survived but thrived for decades in a world comprised almost exclusively of Mediocre White Men. She has sat in meetings and been talked over by men dumber than her and she knows what that feels like. She raised a daughter in the cruel spotlight of the white house press corps of the 1990’s and that daughter not only survived but thrived and is now a force of good in the world. How desperate must she be to ensure that her new little granddaughter grows up in a world that values her for more than her reproductive organs? Her husband was shitty to her in a public way that no other woman has had to endure but she rose above it, pants suit spotless, and got her shit done. Hillary Clinton is one of us. Like it or not, she just is.

When Barack Obama won in 2008 I sobbed with relief at the ability of my country to do the right thing at a time when it felt like all it could do was the wrong thing. I thought of all the little children of color at my kids’ schools and what that would mean for them, that their world of possibility could be so suddenly different. That they could now dream of being president and know that it had been done, that it could be more than just dreaming. Now I think of my daughters and I look back to my time as a young girl of the 80’s when my kind was only represented as boobs and ass and how it felt when we got something as simple as a female Ghostbusters, how that small thing felt like such a big wrong, righted. What will my girls’ worlds be like seeing a woman as president? How big will they know they can dream? I don’t know yet, but my promise to them is to bust my ass for Hillary so we can find out.