This is a heartfelt appeal to the readers of my articles in the Huffington Post who have not yet voted.
I have known Hillary for over 37 years (I happened to have married - and still am - to a fine lady from Arkansas who introduced me to Hillary and Bill Clinton in 1978). Although I served as Bill Clinton's Deputy Press Secretary in his 1992 presidential campaign and later as his envoy to Morocco, it was never lost on me throughout nearly four decades of friendship with the Clintons how much I respected Hillary's commitment of every ounce of her energy -- truly and deeply -- to the causes that make America as great as it is. Delivering justice is her virtue, and she is a virtuous person!
Hillary is a true patriot on behalf of forging a more perfect union. Inside that steely exterior resides the soul of a woman determined to do right by the nation and the world.
Sure, you can google her untiring work for the Children's Defense Fund and in the cause of bringing universal health care to all Americans. You may have also heard about the almost superhuman dedication she brought to so many other causes, including an unyielding commitment to protecting voting rights and expanding civil rights to less fortunate Americans.
But did you know that she donated endless hours of pro bono work at her law firm in Arkansas serving clients who could not afford a lawyer? Or that she paid for the health care for random people who could not afford their own medical bills? Did you know that as First Lady of the United States she dedicated countless hours to the cause of women's rights around the world? Are you even aware that Hillary brought to the White House a new generation of aspiring Americans to forge new public-private partnerships in the cause of environmental safety, greater consumer regulation, and equal opportunity in the marketplace? Many of those Americans are iconic leaders in their own right today.
When did she ever catch some shut-eye was anyone's guess.
I recall coming back to the White House to visit her in 1995 from Morocco after Ken Starr had launched his despicable and endless investigation into what was then infamously deemed "White Water." We met in her West Wing 2nd floor office, and we talked and hugged as she bemoaned how much time the investigation was taking away from her duties and important causes. Hillary was no mere First Lady. Not at all. This was a woman determined to help forge a new social compact between her husband's administration and the American people. Her penchant for privacy was forced on her by a belligerent Special Prosecutor who was determined to hurt her reputation in every conceivable way... demanding all of her private correspondence and telephone records. No excuse for private servers, but you get the drift where her concerns about prying bureaucrats understandably first originated. Remember, too, that all of those investigations were not on the merits, but witch hunts.
For all of the biographical information out there about Hillary, what most stands out for me was her unyielding compassion for the victims of conflict. As Secretary of State, she committed countless trips to the cause of human rights and journalistic freedoms -- in China, in Russia, in the Arab world. And when the Syrian people urgently needed humanitarian relief and a more effective U.S. policy to prevent the Syrian civil war from consuming the Middle East, she showed the true grit and leadership to act, and through no fault of her own it was a short-sighted, callow White House national security staff that thwarted her efforts to forge an effective humanitarian response to the Syrian catastrophe. But despite every obstacle she encountered by the White House she was determined to mobilize U.S. public and private resources, as well as the support of international relief organizations, to bring as much relief as possible to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
Surely, I cannot do adequate justice to all she has achieved so far, and all she is determined to achieve for the country in the months and years ahead. For those who fear more gridlock if she elected, let me remind you that within months of arriving in the U.S. Senate as a freshman senator from New York she beat the odds and the partisan reputation that preceded her and began to effectively reach across the aisle to earn the respect and admiration of many of her Senate Republican colleagues. I am certain she will bring the same honest and effective outreach as president to transform the resisters and the hesitators to find common ground. The country cannot afford anything less.
I don't know what anyone would gain by throwing away their vote for a third party candidate, or worse, staying home and not voting at all when so much is at stake. As divided as we may be, America can ill-afford to turn the Oval Office over to an unstable, ignorant, and unqualified Donald Trump (I could say a lot worse, but won't).
Yes, Mrs. Clinton has made her share of unforced errors both before and during her campaign and I have not been silent about them. But in comparison to what and to whom?
Think long and hard what your personal vote will mean, first, to our men and women serving abroad who need a cool, collected, and respected Commander-in-Chief; second, to the millions of immigrants whose families may be torn apart by Mr. Trump, and third, to the tens of thousands loyal, patriotic American Muslims, whose sons and daughters are essential in our war against jihadism. The list goes on and on.
I implore you to think about how important the Affordable Care Act has been to those who could not afford health care for pre-existing conditions or catastrophic diseases, and what it would mean to them if she were to lose. Your vote will make a difference to those who depend on a government that works for the disadvantaged AND the disaffected.
We Americans have been through a bruising campaign. It is easy to sit this one out, or worse, to vote for a third party candidate (a vote that could bring Mr. Trump to the White House).
The Hillary I know is the Hillary that is going to make you proud of your vote for her -- it's a worthy investment in your future, the future of your friends, neighbors, family, and in the future of our country. As President Obama just said in New Hampshire, all Americans are depending on you to protect and propel us forward -- our nation's fate is really in your hands. Your vote really, truly matters, now, more than ever before!