Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Are Not the Same

Can we stop pretending that both of the major party presidential candidates are terrible — or even comparable?

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not the same.

I find it hard to believe that I feel the need to write that sentence, let alone devote an entire article to the subject. But I do.

Why? Because I have heard one too many of my friends and acquaintances say that there isn’t a difference in the major political parties, that Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same corrupt coin.

I’ve seen one too many memes on my Facebook newsfeed merging pictures of Clinton and Trump into one frightening supervillain or mocking both candidates by asking, “This is really the best we could do, America?”

The implication is that Clinton and Trump are the worst of the worst, that Americans are left to choose the lesser of two evils.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, is that a fair assessment? I don’t think so. In fact, it’s not only wrong — it’s downright offensive.

Look, I know that hating Hillary Clinton has been practically ingrained in us. Republicans, with gleeful help from the sexist media, have been trying to tear Clinton down from the very beginning of her time in public life. We’ve heard over and over that Clinton is not feminine enough or masculine enough, that she’s unlikeable and untrustworthy. She’s called every name in the book and is involved in faux scandal after scandal. She’s even been accused of murder.

Maybe she was right about that “vast, right-wing conspiracy,” after all.

When you get past the noise generated by an entire industry devoted to Hillary-hate, the real picture starts to become more clear.

Clinton has been a public servant since day one. She has dedicated her entire career to challenging the status quo and pushing for progress, from one of her first jobs working on the committee to impeach President Richard Nixon to standing for equality around the world as U.S. Secretary of State.

She has consistently fought for families and children, whether she was working to establish the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or giving voice to women’s rights in a speech at the United Nations.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Clinton was a tireless advocate for New York City’s first responders, ensuring their access to health benefits after the sacrifices they made for their fellow Americans.

Unlike Trump, Clinton has a strong record of defending what’s right and fighting to make our nation better for everyone who calls it home.

And it’s not only her record that sets her apart. She’s campaigning on a positive, progressive agenda with real solutions to the pressing issues we face. She knows that we’re stronger together and that united, we’ll succeed.

For example, Republicans are running on one of the most anti-LGBT platforms in history. By stark contrast, Clinton is a staunch ally who would easily be the most pro-LGBT president the U.S. has ever had.

When one party supports equality and the other is literally recommending sexual conversion therapy, can you honestly look your LGBT friends in the eye and tell them that Democrats and Republicans are the same? That the outcome of the presidential election will have no impact on their lives when the fate of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance?

And what about climate change? The majority of Americans (and 98% of scientists) agree that the threat of global warming is real. Clinton has offered a comprehensive plan to tackle the threat. Trump thinks it’s a Chinese hoax.

If Trump wins, and the Paris agreement is repealed, and we fall further behind in this fight… will your children understand that both candidates were the same, when only one candidate wanted to address climate change?

These are only a handful of issues where the differences couldn’t be more clear. On everything from immigration reform to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, Hillary Clinton is putting forth real plans that bring Americans together and solve our issues, rather than dividing us and tearing us apart.

And make no mistake — Donald Trump would tear our nation apart.

Trump has spent his entire campaign making one outrageous statement after another, designed to tap into the racism, sexism, and xenophobia still prevalent among voters in some parts of the country. He has promised to deport millions of immigrants and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He has even suggested banning Muslims from entering the country. Most recently, he disparaged the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier.

Trump’s candidacy reeks of authoritarianism. To make matters even worse, he is actively opposed to the freedom of the press. He’s even gone as far as to dangerously suggest we “open up” current libel laws so he can sue media outlets when he doesn’t agree with the stories they write.

If that isn’t reason enough to disqualify him from the office, he has made plenty of statements highlighting his utter lack of seriousness and depth when it comes to handling the responsibilities of being commander-in-chief.

There’s a good reason why 50 former national security and foreign policy officials from Republican administrations have come out forcefully against Trump’s candidacy. A man who is asking why the U.S. doesn’t use its nuclear weapons is not a man we want anywhere near the Oval Office.

“Is this really the best we could do?”

It’s a fair question for Republicans to ask themselves this year after actually nominating the former host of “The Celebrity Apprentice” to be president.

But Democrats? We nominated the person who was in the Situation Room when President Barack Obama gave the order for U.S. Navy SEALs to take out Osama bin Laden. We nominated the person who has forged international relationships, brokered peace agreements, and stared down foreign foes. We nominated the person who has spent the better part of the last three decades in the arena fighting for our country, for all of us.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not the same, and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Clinton is immensely qualified to lead us, to take our nation to greater heights. When she gets knocked down, she gets back up and keeps going. She’s inspirational to women and girls around the world. She’s a true, tested, and ready leader. She has had a front row seat to world affairs for decades and has already played an important role in U.S. history.

Clinton, like any politician, has legitimate flaws and there are surely many areas where people will disagree with her. But let’s admit that even if every one of the scandals attributed to her over the years were completely true, she would still make an infinitely better president than her opponent.

Donald Trump isn’t qualified to be mentioned in the same sentence as Hillary Clinton, let alone run against her for president. Let’s stop pretending that these two candidates are the same, because it’s not even close.