Clinton’s Benefits Outweigh Her Problems

Kiley Petersen, Managing Editor

In case you live under a rock, Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States. After Clinton announced her bid for the Oval Office on April 12, Jada Pinkett Smith, the successful actress, musical artist, businesswoman and mother of three kids — two with their own social-media empires, Willow, Jaden and the oft-forgotten Trey — discussed her feelings on Clinton in a thoughtful Facebook post.

On April 18, Pinkett Smith discussed her apprehensions about voting for a white woman for President. “Her announcement conjured many old hurts and scars,” she wrote. “Hillary’s announcement reminded me that the relationship between black and white women on the political platform has been deeply complicated, disappointing and painful. The only question I have been asking myself is if I’m suppose[d] to vote for Hillary because she is a woman; will she take us to the mountaintop with her or will women of color once again be left out and left behind?” Pinkett Smith referenced the Suffrage Movement of the early 20th century, when Northern abolitionist white women leading protests excluded Black women from the vote because they did not want to estrange Southern white women from supporting the cause.

Pinkett Smith echoes a lot of my feelings on Clinton. On one hand, I’m beyond ecstatic that there’s finally a woman with a chance of winning the presidency. (Let’s be real, Palin was never a contender.) On the other hand, I’m as far from a fan of Clinton as possible. But, honestly, I will probably still vote for her because that’s how elections work. Assuming the Republican party will support a white man as their nominee to capitalize on all of the people disgusted by a woman running for president, Clinton is going to be the best option.

However, Clinton is 67, white, cisgender, straight, a graduate of Yale Law School and married to former President Bill Clinton. While there will never be a perfect president who is a diverse representative of the American people with regard to race, gender and class, we can do a lot better than Clinton, whose beneficial political connections have gotten her to where she is now. And not only is Clinton’s feminism specific to white women, it’s also a brand of feminism that is a generation too old.

Additionally, her stance on immigration is a departure from typical Democratic values. In a CNN interview on Tuesday with Christiane Amanpour about undocumented children, Clinton said, “They should be sent back [across the border] as soon as it can be determined who [the] responsible adults in their families are, because there are concerns about whether all of them can be sent back, but I think all of them that can be should be reunited with their families. … We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.”

Maybe this is some kind of weird political strategy to attract moderates or right-wings that Clinton has alienated because of her gender. If so, I’m not impressed with her campaign manager. This is basically a repeat of the anti-abolitionist suffrage movement, but nearly a century later.

Basically what I really want is for the whole Pinkett Smith family to run for President at once, and then guide this country to fulfill the pro-Black, feminist, anti-classist and radically free potential that we claim to foster as a nation. If Clinton clinches the presidency in 2016, maybe some major changes will occur, but maybe not. I’m still going to vote for her, and unless better candidates magically crop up, I hope you do too, because it’s time we had a woman in the Oval Office. Just be aware of her politics and drawbacks, and continue political activism on the local, state and national level. Most importantly, vote. Wear those little voting stickers with pride, because not everyone in the U.S. is able to.

(Pinkett Smiths for President 2020.)