The conversation about Clinton vs. Trump reminds me of the debate about the Affordable Healthcare Act. When people were asked how they felt about specific components, the majority in red states was all for them. But when asked how they felt about Obamacare, many of those same folks were vehemently opposed. Why? Because of fears built on proven lies, and how they felt about its namesake, President Obama.
I admit to being surprised by the animosity against Hillary Clinton of some people I call friends, people I know to be smart, caring people with whom I share many common values. When I asked why they support Trump – not why they oppose Hillary – I was disappointed that most comments were about her personally. No one said “Because I believe all Muslims should be deported and I support Trump’s plan for improving the economy.”
A couple of them said “How can you support someone like her?” And so, in the spirit of dialogue rather than easy snark, let me start by sharing what I believe- because that’s what should drive our decisions:
Minimum wage: It needs to be raised. If workers are paid a living wage, they don’t have to depend on public support to survive and can be sure their kids are doing their homework and acting right. Interestingly, many who oppose raising the minimum wage also oppose welfare, even for children. So they oppose the very thing that would fulfill their desire to reduce welfare… Many of them also say “Well, I made it without welfare, why can’t others?” One of several likely reasons is because they earned a minimum wage that had twice the buying power of today’s: in 1960, it was $1.86/hour. Today’s equivalent? $14.96/hour.
Women’s reproductive rights: Uphold Roe v. Wade and ensure that women have access to birth control and abortion as provided for by the US Supreme Court. (I also think men should take responsibility for birth control instead of the responsibility and blame being put on women, but that’s a different conversation.)
Women’s rights: Equal pay for equal work enforcement; strengthen and enforce the Violence Against Women Act. And though respect can’t be legislated, it’s a clue about whether someone will enact laws for women’s equality.
LGBT rights: Support the Equality Act, which will amend the existing Civil Rights bill (that already prevents discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) to include sexual orientation and gender identity; prevent laws that water-down access to marriage equality.
Healthcare: Everyone should have access to it, regardless of pre-existing conditions, paying what they can afford. (By the way, more people are covered today then before the ACA, and even more people would be if all Governors accepted the federal funds offered to expand Medicaid.)
Education: Everyone should have access to free, public schools starting in pre-K that ensure skills in core subjects, exposure to music, art, physical education and languages, and that encourage critical thinking; post-secondary education where students pay what they can afford. After all, who benefits from an under-educated population?
International relationships: The United States needs allies that can be trusted based on shared values and a history of partnership; maintain relationships with NATO and countries committed to democracy.
Military Families and Veterans: Honor their service by providing proper training, compensation and healthcare, including after service ends; stop sexual assault and harassment; welcome women to compete for all military positions; and allow transgender Americans to serve openly in the military.
Guns: Enact sensible gun reform, including no military assault weapons owned by individuals; safety training (you have to have a license to drive a car, why not to own a gun?); criminal background checks; no permits for violent perpetrators or those arrested for domestic violence. Open-carry hasn’t helped anyone and, according to law enforcement officers, has actually made their job more difficult.
Thoughtful immigration: Recognize and preserve our history of being a nation of immigrants by putting into place laws that provide a pathway to full citizenship, deport those individuals who pose a verified threat to public safety, and ensure refugees seeking asylum have a chance to tell their stories; consider an amnesty law along the lines of Reagan’s Immigration and Control Act of 1986.
Of course, there’s more, but I’m sure it’s obvious why I’m a solid Hillary supporter. Not because she’s the anti-Trump, but because of who Hillary Clinton is, what she believes and what she has accomplished.
In addition to the policies themselves, I also believe the manner in which those policies are implemented is also critical. I look for and respect a leader who – in life and in politics – understands subtlety and nuance; listens and is thoughtful and restrained in self-expression; has earned international respect; views diversity as strength even when it makes us uncomfortable; demonstrates a willingness to wrestle with tough issues and stays true to core values while working toward solutions; has a history of caring about people, working to lift them up and be a voice for the voiceless; is pragmatic and embraces “and” solutions rather than “either/or”; and has defined policies and a plan to implement them.
I’ve been asked if I am uncomfortable with accusations swirling about missing emails and servers and whatever else Congress and the FBI have spent millions of our tax dollars investigating (although they ignored previous Secretaries of State doing the same)? Honestly, no. This type of attack-by-unfounded-accusation has been going on since I became politically awake. Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true. Repeating it over and over again, even if at the top of one’s voice and adding personal insults, doesn’t make it true either. It would be boring if people didn’t buy into it while ignoring verifiable, undisputed facts about her political and cultural opponents. She’s been called a liar time and again…and yet, time and again fact-checkers of all persuasions have shown her to be one of the most truthful politicians.
What does bother me is how the standard applied to her is so often different than the one applied to others. But then I remember that most ground-breakers, who rarely look like, talk like, act like their predecessors, have to live up to a higher standard. So I guess it’s actually a compliment. But still.
Because this election is too important to be decided by fear and snarky remarks, I hope my friends (and others) will look at their values and beliefs and do an old-school comparison. Make a three-column table: In column 1, write a list of your policy positions. In column 2, write a summary of Candidate A’s position on those policies, and in column 3, a summary of Candidate B’s. Tally it up: who most shares your views?
If you didn’t know Candidate A or B’s name, who would you choose to represent you?