This year, I am voting to elect Secretary Hillary Clinton as the first female president of the United States. In her career, which spans nearly 50 years, she has been unrelenting in breaking the ubiquitous glass ceiling that hovers over every woman and girl in this country. I have no doubt these efforts have been exhausting, frustrating and at times, extremely demeaning. Yet, for all of her achievements, some continue to raise questions regarding her credentials and integrity.
Maybe we have become so accustomed to one image of power that we are unable to embrace a woman who has dedicated her life to public service and to fighting for children and families. Maybe that’s why her popularity plummets when she is seeking public office and soars – after four years as Secretary of State, her approval rating of 69 percent was described by the Wall Street Journal as “eye-popping” – when she has been elected. Maybe it’s why we pay so much attention to the pitch of her voice, her hairstyle or the color of her pantsuits.
While electing our first female president will not end centuries of sexism overnight, it is an important first step. It is important for myself as a Latina female. But it is even more important for my young daughter, who has an opportunity to have the sitting president at her birth be the first African American President and the second President of her lifetime be female.
With today’s new CNN poll showing Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump neck-and-neck, the stakes have never been higher.
1. She is qualified for the job.
As first lady of the United States, she championed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), expanding health care coverage for 8 million American children. Additionally, she worked to promote access to immunization and mammograms and to fund research on prostate cancer and childhood asthma.
In 2000, she was elected to the United States Senate. As a Senator, she championed the Paycheck Fairness Act and she was one of the first Senators to co-sponsor the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help close the wage gap for women. When terrorists attacked just months after she took office, she worked to make sure 9/11 first responders who suffered lasting health effects got the care they needed.
In January of 2009, she was nominated by President Barack Obama as Secretary of State. She negotiated a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. She also lobbied for the first U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on LGBT human rights.
“That’s the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman ― not me, not Bill, nobody ― more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.” ― President Barack Obama
2. Women’s rights.
In 1995, she spoke at the Fourth Annual Women’s Conference in Beijing, China and made a truly radical statement for the time, stating “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”
In 2005, 2007 and 2009, she introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to protect women from being fired for investigating the wages of their male counterparts. The bill was first introduced in Congress in 1997 and has yet to pass into law. With the Affordable Care Act, she helped 8.2 million adult women gain health coverage.
As a senator, she introduced eight pieces of legislation to protect women’s reproductive rights. She also championed the Global Health Initiative (GHI) in 2010, which focuses on maternal and infant health though integrated health systems. It has helped countries create comprehensive plans for reproductive health services, lower rates of infant and maternal mortality and reduce HIV transmission rates.
“No other candidate in our nation’s history has demonstrated such a strong commitment to women or such a clear record on behalf of women’s health and rights. This is about so much more than Planned Parenthood. Health care for an entire generation is at stake”. ― Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards
3. She plans to reverse Citizens United.
She’s committed to introducing a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision. In contrast, Donald Trump hired the president of the Citizens United Foundation, David Bossie, as a deputy campaign manager.
4. She will focus on comprehensive immigration reform.
She has stated time and time again that America needs comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to full and equal citizenship. Her plan calls for protecting the border and targeting deportation efforts to criminals and security threats. She will work to keep families together and protect DREAMers.
Diane Guerrero, known for her work in Orange Is the New Black, made headlines when she shared that her parents were deported when she was only 14 years old. America needs a leader who will not tear families apart.
Trump has called Mexican immigrants “criminals,” “drug dealers,” and “rapists.” He has promised to create a “Deportation Task Force” targeting schools, workplaces, and homes in an effort to round up and deport 16 million people even though Mexican immigrants are leaving the country in droves.
5. She’s a liberal.
DW-NOMINATE is a tool political scientists use to measure the ideology of Members of Congress. According to VoteView, Clinton was one of the most liberal members during her time in the United States Senate. According to Daily Kos, “Secretary Clinton has a more liberal voting record than any Democratic Senator or Congressman elected president since at least 1960… by this reasoning, Hillary Clinton would arguably be the most liberal president since at least 1960.”
6. She supports gun control.
“I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation. We cannot let a minority of people ― and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people ― hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.” ― Secretary Clinton
Her three-part plan includes: (1) Strengthening background checks and closing dangerous loopholes, (2) holding irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable, and (3) keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the mentally ill.
A New York Times/CBS News poll in January found that 57 percent of respondents want stricter laws governing gun sales and 88 percent favor background checks for all purchases.
7. She believes in equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
Secretary Clinton helped to transform the State Department by expanding LGBT rights and promoting equality for employees. She has called for an end to transgender violence, endorsed marriage equality, and called the Equity Act her highest priority.
8. The Supreme Court.
Our next president will make multiple appointments to the United States Supreme Court. As president, she could have the enormous and historic responsibility of nominating up to four justices to our highest court.
9. It is about time.
Child care, equal pay, mandatory parental leave, mandatory paid sick and vacation time are fundamental economic issues—not just “women’s issues.”
As first lady of the United States in the early 1990s, she helped champion the creation of Early Head Start, which expanded access to the early childhood education program for low-income families. She is committed to increasing child care access on college and university campuses across the country to help parents balance their studies with raising a child.
If these reasons have not convinced you, then I offer one final reason that we cannot ignore this November.
1. The alternative is not an option.
Nicolas Kristoff wrote that Donald Trump is making America meaner. Trump has organized one of the most divisive campaigns in American history – laced with racial discrimination, paranoia, unabashed hostility, xenophobia and misogyny. He even suggested shooting his presidential opponent. “If she gets to pick her judges – nothing you can do folks. Although, the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know.”
When he was getting his start in business, he was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino tenants. He recently denigrated a federal judge, saying he was unable to do his job because he is Mexican.
He has referred to women as “fat pigs”, made references to Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, attacked a Gold Star family who lost their son in war, and refused to disavow the support of David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, while on the air with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Not to mention he has refused to release his tax returns, an act his own son says would be “foolish.”
So, there you have it. Nine reasons why Secretary Clinton has earned our vote and one reason why we cannot stand idly by and watch Donald Trump win the election in November. Both candidates have shown us who they are, and we should believe them.