On Tuesday, we will decide not just who will lead the United States over the next four years, but also in which direction our 45th president will take our country. With four days left in what feels like the longest election ever, July seems like ancient history. And yet we can look back to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s convention speeches to forecast how they will approach the role of commander in chief.
In her Democratic National Convention speech, Secretary Clinton recited “the words of our Methodist faith: ‘Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.’”
She continued: “That mission guides me still today. When I stumble, it helps pick me up, because there’s always more good to do and more people to help if we keep our eyes open, especially kids.”
She and her Jesuit-educated running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, often repeat this phrase on the campaign trail. As a member of the United Methodist Church (UMC), I recognize how fundamental these words are to Hillary Clinton’s life of service. Peeling back the characterization of self-interest and corruption that the right-wing media has layered on her for the last 30 years, you find at her core a true Methodist and devout public servant.
According to the UMC Book of Discipline, church members should “live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ.” It references specific ways to do this, which reads like a list of Hillary’s accomplishments. Throughout her life, Hillary Clinton has been:
“healing the sick” by championing affordable health care throughout her life;
“feeding the hungry” by establishing the Feed the Future initiative on global hunger and poverty as Secretary of State;
“caring for the stranger” by advocating for immigration reform and responding to humanitarian crises with her signature It-Takes-a-Village approach;
“freeing the oppressed” by promoting human rights globally – most notably women’s rights and LGBT equality – as First Lady and Secretary of State;
“being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence” by comforting and fighting for the 9/11 families as a U.S. Senator; and
“working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel” by co-founding Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and helping to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
If we elect her on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton will be bring this commitment to justice and service into the White House for the next four to eight years.
In contrast, Donald Trump’s presidency might be best characterized by this often-repeated line from his Republican National Convention speech: “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
We’re all numb to this line by now. But read it again. Yes, it drips with arrogance and hubris unparalleled in modern day presidential politics, but it also reveals both the nexus of and force behind Donald Trump’s ambitions. He is our savior. No one is above him. Entrust in him, and he will fix all the problems. (Just don’t ask how.) He wants to be our savior in chief.
The next president will get at least 1,461 days in the White House. If the thought of savior in chief Trump frightens you, I hope you will take an hour or two this weekend to pitch in to make the case to your friends and neighbors why they need to vote. Or better yet, travel to a nearby battleground state to help get out the vote.
With an open seat on the Supreme Court and gridlock in Congress, we can’t afford to have volatility in the White House as well. We need a leader who will not only bring to the Oval Office her tested ability to strengthen our country, but also someone who understands that our president is our most important public servant.
On Tuesday, join me in doing all we can to elect Hillary Clinton as our 45th president – our public servant in chief.