One of my first conversations while phone banking for the Clinton campaign was also one of my most memorable.
An elderly man picked up. I gave him my pitch, then paused for his response. He was polite but hesitant. I asked which candidate he planned to support in November.
Eventually, overly conscious of the silence, I offered, “Yeah… it’s a difficult choice.”
We said goodnight, I finished my shift, and I sat quietly, vaguely irritated.
What’s so difficult about it? Nothing, really — and I could have said as much.
I want to share what I wish I’d said to that man.
Hillary Rodham Clinton should be the next President of the United States. Her qualifications are rooted in a lifetime of service, and her abilities are incomparable to any other nominee’s. She’s a human rights advocate. She has defended the equality of women on a global scale, particularly in terms of equal pay, education and abortion access. She denounces the oppression of African Americans, Muslim Americans and low-income Americans.
As Secretary of State, Clinton reinvigorated our global standing. She coordinated a 30 percent increase in exports, authored sanctions against Iran’s nuclear weapons and spearheaded “Feed the Future,” which significantly expanded international agricultural productivity. Altogether, Clinton’s diplomatic policies have and can heal the rifts of a divided world.
Clinton’s career is marked by her dedication to social justice. As a junior at Wellesley College, she protested systemic racism by pushing for the recruitment of Black students and faculty members. She interned at law firms specializing in civil rights. During her postgraduate studies, Clinton worked as an attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund. These long-running efforts came to a head in 1997 when Clinton championed the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP has since provided healthcare to millions of children.
Some of us might distrust Clinton’s reputation for moderate policies, but the facts tell a different story. Clinton has made historical strides in turning the American Dream of equality into reality. Projects such as CHIP and “Feed the Future,” as well as the conversations she has sparked on women’s rights, are only the most famous examples of her accomplishments. Clinton has produced change with uncommon efficiency.
Looking forward, that change will only continue under a Clinton administration. Recently, Clinton worked with Bernie Sanders to bolster her college affordability plan, proposing tuition-free schooling at public institutions for families with incomes under $125,000. Clinton and the Democratic Party also introduced the most ambitious major party platform in U.S. history this summer, particularly with regards to climate change and the federal minimum wage.
Former Secretary Clinton’s record isn’t flawless. But her missteps cannot compare to her achievements in health care, equality and education. For more information, I encourage you to watch the Sept. 25 installment of the best news source on television, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
“We must go forward together or not at all.” The woman who said these words strives to live them. She has defended the oppressed and vulnerable even when it was not popular to do so. We need that. We need Hillary Clinton as President. The U.S. may have recovered economically from the 2008 recession, but it will only stay strong in the hands of a Democrat. The wealth gap, which has grown to unconscionable heights, will only decrease with her proposals. Every American needs a President who will serve and protect them, because every Americans’ livelihood is on the ballot.
Clinton’s career proves that she can be that leader. She possesses the character, experience and policies to uphold America’s founding principle “that all [people] are created equal.” And as much as we need her, she needs us in this election. Vote. Volunteer. Visit the Clinton Campaign at the FirstMerit Bank — our office is staffed every day from 4–10 p.m., and we want your help.
Any one of us could make a difference, and I can’t think of a more important time to try.