5 Reasons Why #I’mWithHer

Just in case there was any doubt.

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop
Source: wikipedia.org
  1. She’s experienced.

Hillary’s been Secretary of State, a U.S. Senator, first lady of the United States and first lady of Arkansas. She knows how governing works. She has the knowledge necessary to be an effective president. As a former secretary of state, I think we could all feel very comfortable about her interactions with other countries.

In the real world outside of politics, we don’t like hiring people who don’t have experience related to the job they are going to be doing for us. I don’t like to hire a babysitter who has never been around toddlers before. We don’t hire contractors who have never renovated a house. So why is the title of political “outsider” (aka no political experience) seen as a positive quality in a person running for the most powerful position in the world?

2. She has real, substantive policy proposals with the knowledge to back them up.

Her policy proposals are detailed and realistic. She has a large amount of knowledge on a wide range of issues. No one running for president on either side during this election has been able to match her in this area. (Check this out and laugh when you compare the two.)

3. She’s a pragmatist.

Hillary isn’t especially inspiring. She’s not sexy. But she is practical. Related to points one and two above, she knows how things work, and she’s focused on solutions. She’s willing to reach across the aisle, compromise, and work with Republicans in order to make things happen. This is one of the things that Hillary gets criticized for the most by Bernie supporters, but it’s one of the things I like most about her.

Bernie’s impracticality is the reason I’ve chosen Hillary. Check out this quote from Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast comparing the two:

“What Sanders does is that he stakes out moral positions that are laudable abstract goals. But I’ve been shocked sometimes by how little thought he seems to have given to how to get to these goals…Now, to Clinton. What she offers are solutions.”

4. She cares about the rights of women and children.

Hillary has been a lifelong supporter of women’s rights. (Perhaps not surprising as she is a woman herself.) In 1995, during a speech at the United Nations Fourth World Congress on Women, she famously said “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” Her main proposals as a presidential candidate related to women’s issues are ensuring equal pay for women and fighting for paid family leave and affordable child care.

One of Hillary’s consistent priorities throughout her career has been early childhood education, particularly for poor children. All the way back as First Lady of Arkansas, she introduced a home visiting Family Literacy program for the parents of young children called Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters. As a senator, she called for increased funding to states to establish free pre-k programs for low-income and limited-English proficient children. One of her highest-profile presidential proposals is to create universal, free pre-k for 4-year olds.

5. She will preserve the legacy of the Obama administration.

I don’t understand at all how people complain about how Obama has been the “worst president in history.”  Really? REALLY?? Let’s look at some facts, shall we? As of January 2016, unemployment in the U.S. is down to 5%, the lowest it’s been in seven years. Obama’s job approval rating is currently at 50%. He has run “an amazingly scandal-free administration” during his time in office. Osama Bin Laden is dead. We are no longer involved in the war in Iraq.

Through the Affordable Care Act, 18 million Americans have health insurance now who didn’t before. This has affected my family personally–when Jonathan was unemployed last year and couldn’t be added to my health insurance, he was able to get affordable health insurance through the ACA. And because I work at a small non-profit now, we purchase our own health insurance and get partially reimbursed for my individual coverage. I’m not sure if we would have been able to afford that without the ACA.

So when Hillary says she is going to defend President Obama’s accomplishments and build upon them, that means something to me. I think we’ve seen a lot of good things happen in the last eight years, and for the country to continue to go in the right direction the new President will need to build on that positive momentum, not tear it down.

Also, one last thing: There is no conceivable reality in which I would vote for Donald Trump for President. 

So there’s that.

What do you think? If you would like to share, who are you voting for, and why?

Story of a Voter: On Being an Evangelical Who Doesn’t Vote Republican

According to the Pew Research Center, I shouldn’t vote the way that I do. Statistics from a large study conducted last year confirm what seems like common knowledge–white, evangelical Protestants like me overwhelmingly vote Republican.

The stats:

  • White Evangelical Protestants (all ages):
    • 68% Republican/22% Democratic
  • White Evangelical Protestant Millenials (under 34):
    • 70% Republican/19% Democratic

As you may have gathered, I don’t vote Republican, and barring some drastic change to the modern Republican party, I don’t see myself doing so for the foreseeable future. This puts me in the significant minority for the combined factors of my race, religion and age. So what? Here’s the thing that makes me a little bit interesting: I am not a registered Democrat. I’m an independent who once voted for the GOP.

republican-and-democrat

*By the way, it’s not common practice for me to talk about my political views. I have always believed in the old adage that it’s rude to talk about politics in mixed company (including virtually), and I think most of the people who post a lot about politics online are looking for a fight and/or attention. I’ve also worried ever since college that other Christians would think badly of me for my views (see more below). But I’m not 20 years old anymore, and I can’t be scared out of sharing my opinion because someone else may not agree.*

So consider this a coming-out party of sorts. What changed with me? Here’s the story.

I voted for the first time in the 2008 presidential primary in Tennessee, when I was 20 years old and a sophomore in college. This is before I really followed politics closely, but I checked out all of the candidates and chose someone who I thought had integrity and who had similar moral values to mine. I voted for Mike Huckabee.

During this election season, I was in college at a small, conservative, Southern Baptist university. It was a given in this environment that if you were a good person and Christian, you would of course vote Republican, and I think this is partly why I did the first time.

As that year progressed and the nominees for both parties were chosen, I started to really investigate what both candidates believed. I found things that I agreed with on both sides, but I became increasingly troubled by the Republican party’s platform. Did I really agree that taxes should be lowered for millionaires? Did I agree that it should be easier for all Americans to access and own guns? Did I agree that the government had little to no responsibility to provide for the poor? No, no and no.

And I found Barack Obama very inspiring. His positive message of hope and change spoke to me, and I believed that he would really change things for the better. I also wanted a chance to help elect the first black president. Still, John McCain is a fairly moderate Republican, and if Sarah Palin hadn’t been his nominee for VP, I just might have voted for him. But if there’s one thing I absolutely cannot stand, it’s anti-intellectualism, which to me she epitomizes.

So I voted for Obama in the general election. I felt so excited and empowered to vote my conscience, at least until my friend/roommate/sorority sister told me that she was mad at me, and that I should keep this information to myself unless I wanted everyone else to judge me, too. She also mentioned that almost everyone she knew would react badly to a black man being president, so there was no way Obama could win and I had thrown away my vote. True story: I came back to our apartment that day with a water bottle with an “Obama ’08” sticker that had been handed to me at the polls. I put it in our shared fridge. Later I found the Obama sticker ripped off of it and in several pieces in the trash can. Nice, right?

I’ve voted Democratic ever since. I don’t agree with all parts of their platform, but it most closely mirrors my values at this point. Each election year, I truly give all candidates a chance, and I could conceivably vote for a moderate Republican (a rare beast these days). But the post-Obama Republican party has so far had nothing to offer me. I find the elitist, xenophobic, racist, obstructionist strains of the GOP that have emerged over the past eight years morally repugnant, and totally incompatible with my faith in Jesus and my understanding of his teachings.

As a moderate, young, white, educated, evangelical Protestant in a battleground state, I see myself as something of a test case for what is wrong with the modern Republican party, and why their electorate is shrinking every year. Republicans want people like me to vote for them. Unless the party undergoes a dramatic change, that will continue to happen less and less.