Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both been part of my life since birth — Bernie first ran for office 4 years before I was born, and Bill Clinton was elected just a few months after I was born. A child of Democrats, I admired both as I grew up: Bernie for unabashedly representing the non-religious in Congress and Hillary for her political savvy and grace. Since I can remember, I have expected to see Hillary Clinton become the first (to our nation’s shame, the first) female President.
I never expected to see Bernie Sanders make a bid.
You see, Bernie is the ultimate Senator. He’s an agitator, someone intimately connected to his state’s concerns and to individuals’ concerns. But my objection to him isn’t that he’s too divisive to win an election–though that may well be the case. My objection to him is that he’s too divisive to run the country.
The President isn’t a legislator. The President is a diplomat. Foreign relations and moderation of relations between parties at home seem to me to be the President’s primary jobs. Think of the term “Commander in Chief,” for example. Our country has come to fundamentally misunderstand the role of the President.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders share feelings and opinions on many of the issues under discussion. Tonight, Hillary herself said, “We agree on the goals, we just disagree on the means.” That, I think, is a good indicator of some of the reasons I’ve been with her from the beginning.
Again and again in tonight’s debate, Bernie has demonstrated a senator’s thinking about legislation and leadership. He makes claims that sweeping reforms will happen in his administration — reforms a President alone does not have the power to make. Hillary’s claims are less impressive, because they are practical, achievable, and executive branch-minded. A Presidential debate is a job interview at heart, and Hillary Clinton is most qualified.
I must admit I’ve been relieved, watching tonight’s debate, to discover this. All of my friends are on Team Bernie. I knew he was a bit more liberal, but really I worried that I was missing something. But watching Hillary handle every question with poise and intelligence, watching her respectful treatment of her fellow candidates, and watching her time and again bring up women’s issues that the other men on the stage, moderators included, are disturbingly erasing — it has given me more faith in her, not less.
Seriously though, did you see her get MAD about Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood? She was speaking my soul.
No candidate is perfect. The Presidency is built to house a fallible leader; we are a democratic nation, not the Vatican. Hillary Clinton is competent, empathetic, and admirable, and she deserves a shot at the job that her position as a woman in a misogynistic society has so far denied her.
I, for one, hope that I can help to further her claims by signing up to work on her campaign.
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