Thursday, October 13, 2016

ENDORSEMENT: Hillary Clinton should be our next president

She is the best choice to lead us over the next four years of challenges

This has certainly been an eventful presidential election cycle.

The choice for president boils down to this: do we continue with the gains we have made under President Barack Obama? Or do we move in a different, darker direction?

Image via U.S. State Department,
Public Domain
That darker direction is led by Republican nominee Donald Trump. He has, over the course of his campaign, exemplified the nastier side of campaign politics. He has verbally maligned his political opponents. He has denied press credentials to newspapers that have reported on facts of his campaign that he may not want publicized. He has called immigrants rapists and murderers despite evidence to the contrary, and has even suggested an American-born judge, the son of Mexican immigrants, couldn’t perform his judicial duties without bias.

He has also suggested that an entire group of people, based on their religious beliefs, should be barred from entering our nation. And he had once proposed that Muslims, practicing the faith that he so blatantly abhors, should have to wear an identifier -- similar to what Adolph Hitler required of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

He has belittled disabled reporters, encouraged his supporters to engage in violent acts during his campaign rallies, and has yet to hold any responsibility or make any apologies for racist actions and statements he’s made. Throughout all of this, and more, Donald Trump has tried to assure us that he has the best temperament of any candidate running for office.

Elections are supposed to be about what we’re going to do to improve our nation. The hard-hitting issues that matter to us are meant to be debated, fiercely, and discussed in forums among the candidates, their surrogates, and the people themselves. But this candidate, whose campaign more resembles a circus act than a respectable run for higher office, has demonstrated that his demeanor is unbefitting of a president.

To be sure, he is wrong on policy issues that matter to the electorate as well. But as a representative of the people, the presidency being the only office in the United States where every voting-age citizen gets to play a part at selecting the person to serve, Donald Trump has proven he is unable to truly be a chief executive for all in this great nation.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has proven she can do just that. She will be a president we can all be proud of, and one who will not use her office to punish her political enemies, as Donald Trump recently suggested he would.

There are issues with Clinton’s candidacy that raise alarm bells, to be sure. But many of these issues are exaggerated beyond the pale by conservatives, and they have become caricatures of what they truly are. Clinton’s mishandling of emails while serving as Secretary of State, of keeping state secrets on a private server, for example, demonstrates a mistake on her part. But this does not disqualify her for the office that she seeks, as some on the right suggest (nor do the other issues that they relentlessly have tried to bombard her with). She has, on each and every attack that Republicans have attempted to throw at her, been exonerated on every charge imaginable.

And she has handled herself with grace along the way. As the first female candidate running for president on a major party’s ticket, Clinton has had to battle sexism at every turn of the race. While some, like Donald Trump, may turn toward making vicious attacks against those who oppose them, Clinton has countered suggestions that she may be unfit to serve with rational and sound reasoning. She has defended herself without resorting to name-calling. She has, as Michelle Obama said at the Democratic National Convention, taken the high road while others go low.

Donald Trump’s policies may not be worth examining at great length, for the reasons outlined above. But Hillary Clinton’s do deserve to be looked at -- and celebrated. She is for raising the minimum wage, recognizing that the federal rate of $7.25 per hour isn’t a living wage that people can survive on. She is for reducing carbon emissions and seeking out alternative forms of renewable energy, and has proposed a way to help those reliant on the coal industry to adapt to her proposed shift.

She has put forth a plan to make college more affordable, noting that the debt facing many young people today is insurmountable after they graduate with four-year degrees. And she recognizes problems with the Affordable Care Act, and has a plan to fix those problems so that rising costs won’t continue to be an issue for households across the nation.

And she has foreign policy experience. As Secretary of State, she has travelled to hundreds of countries and faced head-on leaders from other nations that don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with the United States on some issues.

Hillary Clinton is not the perfect candidate. She does have flaws, and on some issues I cannot defend her stances. Originally, I had supported Bernie Sanders for president. But Sanders didn’t win the Democratic nomination, and now he himself is supporting Clinton as the best option to move America forward.

I, too, support Clinton’s candidacy. She is the best choice among a small field of candidates (including the third-party options) of leading our country in an effective and positive way for the next four years. There will undoubtedly be times during her leadership where citizens should be critical of her choices. That would be true of any leader, regardless of their popularity. We shouldn’t give her a blank check when it comes to her leadership.

But among the choices that we have, selecting Clinton to become our next president is the best option to choose. She will be an inspiring leader to millions of women. But she will also be an inspiring leader to millions of Americans.

I do not base my selection on any candidate’s gender. I select it based on their ability to lead our nation, understanding that some tough decisions lie ahead for whoever assumes that office. With that final thought in mind, and for all of the reasons already mentioned above, Hillary Clinton has earned my vote and endorsement for President of the United States.

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