I'm the first to admit, I've never been particularly fond of Hillary Clinton. Most of the general criticism that circulates about her is verifiable truth. For example: she is pro-death penalty. Seriously? What is this, the Middle Ages where we can't evolve past "an eye for an eye"? Gross. Her campaign is also partially financed by many of the same entities she SHOULD be fighting against...big banks, big pharma and the private for-profit prison industry.
She supported NAFTA, but has since evolved on the issue in a reasonable, intelligent fashion. She voted for the Iraq war, but given the false evidence that was being presented at the time, and also that she was the senator representing the state where the 9/11 attacks occurred and the fact that women in politics are often derided for being "too soft," I understand (while not approving) of that decision.
My biggest problem with her, however, stems from what I will call her "two-faced" approach to a lot of critical issues. I believe she often says what is politically expedient (promising "reparation for slavery" to voters in South Carolina?) in the moment, and not always what she actually intends to do. I have a very dear friend who tells a story of a personal encounter with her as a welfare rights organizer, where she agreed and promised to fix the problems with her husband's 1996 welfare reform. Instead, she signed on to the most conservative welfare reauthorization bill that had ever been under consideration. This is a weakness I have seen her display time and time again over the years.
Hillary Clinton is a brilliant person who understands policy and the human condition with equal ease. She does not, however, always vote her conscience.
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand? Appears to be the most unimpeachable candidate to have run for the Presidency in my lifetime. As a woman with decidedly liberal leaning beliefs, it is impossible for me not to admire Bernie's almost utopian ideals for the future of my country. Also, Bernie boasts the kind of consistency Hillary can only dream about. Bernie does not appear to have "evolved". Bernie appears to have "hatched" pretty much as the man and candidate we see before us. I respect him a great deal and have written several pieces supporting his candidacy, even appearing on "The Bernie Blog". However, as of this writing, it does not appear that Bernie Sanders will be able to secure the Democratic nomination.
This means, for all intents and purposes, #ImWithHer.
Susan Sarandon has started a conversation that seems to have drawn a line between people like me and my #Bernieorbust comrades. And I'm sorry for that, because I love Bernie too and hate to think that doing what I believe is best for my country might actually lose me some friends. But it is a consequence I am willing to face, for many reasons. Not the least of which being: I am a mother. And I'm not in the mood to explain to my son why a racist, misogynistic, lying, xenophobic, bullying tyrant is now the leader of the free world. Nor a religious nut who promotes carpet-bombing as a Middle East policy. I have a child who will be exposed to not only the policies but the rhetoric of whoever takes office next January, and the men on the Republican side are completely unacceptable to me.
Also: although I am an entitled, educated white woman with an educated white husband who can weather the (horrible!) storm of Republican policies for the next four years, I have enough compassion to understand that those who are less privileged than I am may not survive them. Four years of Republican rule will be torturous to the poor, POC and LGBT communities. Obamacare will most likely be gutted. Cruz wants to repeal gay marriage and thinks use of contraception = abortion. Let's not forget Trump's "promises" about Mexico and the banning of Muslims. None of these things affect me "personally". But it is empirical that this country will fare better under a "flawed" Clinton presidency than under an inevitably disastrous Trump or Cruz presidency.
When I was a young woman and read "King Lear" for the first time, do you know who I thought the real "villain" was? Cordelia. Because there is no tragedy without Cordelia getting up on her high horse and refusing to go against her (white, privileged) ideals. I completely agree in theory that her father's (craven, classless) imposed competition between his daughters for their love is absurd and worthy of her derision. But in private. She should have played the game and THEN explained PRIVATELY (so as not to humiliate her father as he had humiliated her) that it was NOT COOL. Instead, she sits up on her very high horse and causes a war to break out.
How does it feel up there on a high horse while people are suffering, dying? How does it feel on that high horse when women are denied their reproductive rights (something that would NEVER happen in a Clinton presidency)? How does it feel on your high horse when Cruz is carpet bombing or Trump is building a wall? Was it worth it? Was the sacrifice that other people (NOT YOU) have to make worth it? As many people as you fear will be hurt in a Clinton presidency, can you deny there will be many, many more who suffer under Trump or Cruz? How is that okay?
Hillary Clinton is a Yale Law School graduate, former law partner at a top firm, first lady, State Senator and Secretary of State. Okay, big deal. That doesn't answer to problems of character, you say. Well how about this: Hillary Clinton is a woman who walked the straight and narrow in the radical 60's, married a man who would not only eclipse her but publicly betrayed her and the mother of a very impressive young person. Hillary is a woman, wife and mother.
And as a woman, wife and mother, I understand her moral "fluctuations" more than I care to admit. When you are trying to succeed in what is still a man's world, you might make compromises a man would never have to make. When you are trying to sustain a fragile and volatile marriage, you will make a lot of sacrifices not only to your integrity, but to your dignity.
When you are trying to raise a child in what is often an ugly and oppressive world, you subjugate who you are and what you need to an alarming degree. As a woman, wife and mother, I have had to compromise more than I would ever care to admit. But I, like Hillary, also have learned how to bend without breaking. And I don't think that's a half-bad quality for a President to have.
I will not compromise on this. My son's future is too important to me to sit this one out. My country's future is too. For me, voting against Trump or Cruz is a moral imperative. So #ImWithHer. Messy, imperfect, duplicitous, maligned, brilliant her. You know, I took one of those tests, "Which candidate best mirrors your beliefs?" And though I understand it isn't all about me, I am 98 percent aligned with Bernie.
And 97 percent with Hillary. On policy, they aren't as different as many believe. I can live with it. And more importantly, so can people who NEED the policies, help and services that they will be denied in any Republican presidency. I do not have the luxury of "sitting this one out".