I’m With Her

6 days from Iowa. As good a time as any to write this.

I am unashamedly pro-Hillary Clinton. Anyone who knows me knows this. For years now I’ve studied and followed her, willing her to run and cheering her on when she announced.

And I’ve watched as the polls rise and fall and as new candidates have sprung up, rightfully challenging her for the position of Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

This is a good thing. She needed to be challenged. And I believe this campaign has been great at drawing out a comprehensive and meaningful policy platform, showcasing a candidate that looks past ideology and at the issues that people are facing. Debt. Mental health issues. Inequality.

One thing that’s struck me, this election especially, is the special treatment she gets. The way that she’s regarded as cold, calculating, power-hungry — playing the game because she’s corrupt and a liar.

Politicians are treated like shit. We know this. We partake in this. I’m no saint and I doubt you are either. But there’s a different level reserved for Clinton. She is by no means perfect, and there are legitimate concerns about how she has handled herself in public and private life. But fellow politicians who have climbed the ladder for decades aren’t subjugated to the same level of scrutiny. Joe Biden, the popular candidate many called on to challenge her served in the Senate for 36 years. He sought the presidency twice. He is the current Vice-President of the United States. A lifetime of public service, of working his up, seeking that all powerful top job like many, many others. Yet the vitriol set aside for Clinton doesn’t apply to them.

Oh they’ll be criticised, mocked, slandered. But the depth of feeling, the total hatred for her shocks me. Why is she subject to such abject disdain, simply for running for public office?

This idea that she’s power hungry is not a characterisation that dominates discourse of male politicians. A woman who seeks office is still seen as an anomaly. It is a man’s prerogative to seek public office. For a woman, it’s a ploy.

Yes, she’s a professional politician. She changes her mind and listens to advice and evolves on issues (which I prefer to a zealot any day). She manages how she’s perceived and pays attention to how society will respond to her (because she has to — she doesn’t have the luxury of public apathy like men).

But she doesn’t do it for abject personal gain. As a hugely successful lawyer, senator and secretary of state, she could have a host of opportunities in the faceless private sector, full of influence and wealth. Why would she put herself through the continued scrutiny and hate that she attracts, if there were not another, more heartfelt reason?

Love and kindness. The recognition of all that could be. A way to make it a little easier for everyone else. Naive? Maybe. A bit of the truth? Maybe moreso.

Ultimately, when I look at her, what I see is someone who is flawed. But also someone who has damned hard to overcome stigma. To help people. To raise awareness and raise hopes. If in 2017 she can help one more woman get paid as much as a man, or ensure that any child can live up to their potential, or recognise that someone arriving with just the shirt on their back can achieve that bitter, difficult, and often too far out of reach American Dream, the that’s worth supporting.

She will fight. She will compromise. She won’t promise a political revolution or a vision of nostalgia. What she offers is real, tangible results, which in the gridlock of DC seems like a revolution in itself. When people are struggling to pay mortgages, or send their kids to college, accepting reality is necessary.

And that is why #ImWithHer. She’s a realist. She’s real. She’s a public servant in the truest sense of the word. And she’s the best qualified, most pragmatic candidate for the hardest job in the world. Hillary, to paraphrase an old rival: Yes you can.

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