BY CHLOE JENSEN '20
As an avid Hillary Clinton supporter, watching one of my favorite women and biggest role models accept the Democratic nomination was absolutely inspiring. As happy and proud as I was to see Clinton accept her historic nomination, many of my friends (who are also liberal-minded millennials) did not feel the same way. Instead, they were inspired by Bernie Sanders and felt indifferent or perhaps even angry towards Clinton. Over these past few months, I have watched many of my friends and peers claim that while they are not excited about Clinton, they plan on voting for her, simply because she is ‘the lesser of two evils’ and ‘not as bad as Donald Trump.’
While I certainly agree that we should do everything in our power to prevent a Trump presidency (including support Clinton), I think it is high time we start acknowledging Clinton for the incredible work that she has done for the Democratic party and the United States as a whole, without comparing her with half-hearted enthusiasm to her opponent, Donald Trump.
Although I too supported Bernie Sanders in his primary days, I was equally excited by Clinton. Hillary Clinton has dedicated most of her adult life to public service through government positions, and is currently one of the most qualified candidates to run for the United States presidency. In addition to her impeccable appointed and elected positions as a two-term senator and as Secretary of State, Clinton has stood alongside her husband as First Lady of Arkansas and the United States, where she continued to support the Democratic Party.
When she was not busy campaigning and supporting other Democrats, Clinton spent countless hours listening — to her husband’s supporters, to her husband’s opponents’ supporters, to her own opponents, and to Americans. She took note of their concerns about current policies, laws and procedures and advocated for legal compromise or even legislative change. For instance, in 1993, after listening to too many stories of Americans losing everything due to healthcare costs, Clinton decided to push the Senate to approve a universal healthcare plan. Although this plan was backed by her husband and even though the bill did not pass, Clinton herself advocated for a stronger healthcare system, paid family leave and fewer restrictions on reproductive rights. Despite little recognition, Clinton continued listening and advocating for the needs of many Americans. Not because of her husband’s work which constantly overshadowed her own, but because she genuinely cared about the improvement of American lives.
To say that Donald Trump is an absolute joke of a politician would be one of the most profound understatements ever published in the Mount Holyoke News. He has never held public office, he consistently speaks with a tone and vocabulary that does not represent someone worthy of a job like the presidency and the business he gloats about in nearly every campaign speech has filed for bankruptcy four times. Each of these reasons is enough to fear such a man coming anywhere near a position like the presidency. His most terrifying quality is one that each of us are all too familiar with: his xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ and overall ignorant rhetoric that makes the vast majority of Americans feel unsafe and completely misrepresented and misheard. To say that America under a Trump presidency would be a disaster for a community such as Mount Holyoke’s.
In many ways, Hillary Clinton’s values represent many of the same values I see in Mount Holyoke students: the importance of hard work, dedication, resilience, diversity and an undying desire to improve the lives of many, and to never fear the change that such work brings. It is not a question of whether Hillary Clinton’s work throughout her political career has fulfilled these values, nor is it is a question of whether or not they will continue to so.
Why then, must our support for her be so disingenuous? Why are we so stuck on her past scandals, stances and affiliations, or the policies of her husband? Why does it seem that the only way we can speak positively of her is when we refer to her opponent, Donald Trump?
We should not just support Clinton because she is running against one of the most vile politicians in modern history but because she stands for and represents everything for which the Mount Holyoke community stands. Even if Trump were not running for president, I would continue to support Clinton. Her greatness and her accomplishments surpass Donald Trump’s disgusting rhetoric and comments everyday.
It makes me enraged that even if Clinton wins the presidency (and according to the latest polls, this seems very likely), it will have been out of anguish for Donald Trump. The American people will have elected a woman—a woman who is one of the most qualified people to ever run for such a position-—who had to run against Donald Trump, a man who threatens the identities and safeties of many Americans, and whose qualifications include four bankruptcies rather than holding public office. But perhaps one day we will be able to speak of Clinton’s excellency without comparing it to the horror of Donald Trump.