In summer of 2012, I packed up my belongings and moved from Washington, D.C. to Tampa, Florida to run a Victory office for Mitt Romney. For five months, I put blood, sweat, and tears into working for a man I believed would do great things for our country.
Did I agree with him on every issue? Certainly not. But I had trust in him. I appreciated his vision. I stood behind him in his plans for the economy, for our military, and for my personal freedoms. I believed that he represented my Republican values: a free-market economy, a smaller government, a commitment to the Second Amendment.
Like many of my Millennial peers, I consider myself to be more of a Libertarian than anything. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. And up until this moment in time, up until this presidential election, I thought that ― in our two party system ― the Republican party represented me just slightly more so than the Democratic party. I believed this so fervently that even after the (devastating to me at the time) loss in 2012, I signed up to work for two more GOP campaigns throughout the southeast.
“I am voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton in November because, hands down, she is the most qualified ― nay, the only qualified ― candidate in this race.”
I didn’t think Democrats were “bad” or that their views on issues were “wrong.” I never encountered ugly campaign staffers across the aisle. I recognized that, despite the media’s attempts to portray Republicans and Democrats as modern day Jets and Sharks, we were all just people trying to make a difference in our country. People simply wanting to do good. People, who, at the end of the day, just wanted the America they lived in to most closely reflect their own personal ideals.
But now? Now I’m scared of the America some people want to live in.
With talks of walls, deportations, limiting the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, and a willingness to (happily) fire off nuclear weapons, the America proposed by the Republican party reads more like something out of a George Orwell novel than a 21st century American campaign platform.
How the GOP has gone from a party that once promoted civil liberties and American exceptionalism to one that promotes hatred, racism, bigotry, sexism, and the close minded view that in order to “make America great again” we must build a wall to keep people out is not only truly baffling, it’s incredibly unsettling. What would Abraham Lincoln think? Ronald Reagan? Theodore Roosevelt? Grant? Eisenhower?
Our party was once represented by American heroes. Men who championed for small businesses, for education, for the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for every man, woman, and child in the country. Men who were talented debaters and orators. Men who could bring the country together. Men who respected world leaders and engaged in conflict only when it was absolutely necessary. Men who didn’t taunt and tease. Men who didn’t tweet. Men who didn’t lie and cheat. Men who didn’t make a mockery of both the Republican party and the entire United States of America.
I cannot support the man the GOP has nominated. And, so, instead, I will support a woman.
“My name is Catie Warren. I am a former Mitt Romney staffer. And I am proudly voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton this November.”
As a female, it is my honor to be voting for a woman this fall. But because she is a woman is not why I am voting for her. I am voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton in November because, hands down, she is the most qualified ― nay, the only qualified ― candidate in this race. She is poised. She is fearless. She is intelligent, ambitious, hardworking, experienced, and dedicated. She is committed to keeping America great.
While I certainly do not agree with everything that Hillary Clinton and the Democrat party stand for, I know that she is ready to be the next president of the United States. I know that when she is in office, I will not be afraid to sleep at night, wondering whether or not my president will enter our country into a new, unnecessary war by publicly insulting one of our allies. I will not have to avoid eye contact with minorities, women, and members of the LGBTQ community, knowing that I voted for a man who seemingly hates them all. I will not have to tell my future children one day that I voted for a reality TV star for president of the United States of America.
My name is Catie Warren. I am a former Mitt Romney staffer. And I am proudly voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton this November.