Hi there, everyone! If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably already read the title of this blog. You probably already have an opinion on the topic I will be discussing in the following post (when it comes to politics, people generally do). Now, my intent always is to try and stay open. I am willing to listen to another side, whether I agree with it or not. I expect, too, that likewise my own thoughts would be treated equally. Regardless of your opinion, consider this an opportunity to see inside my thoughts as the American Presidential election continues, and as it approaches November 8th, when the leader of the United States of America for the next 4 years will be chosen. I’ve written this letter, open, as the title mentions, to all American citizens. Take it as you wish.
And without further ado…
In exactly 22 days, our local schools, libraries, town halls, and community centers will transform into ballot boxes and pens, vote readers and tallies. We will line up, declare ourselves present, and get one paper each. On that paper will be several choices. The two most contested choices, the ones that have been on the utmost forefront of our minds recently, will be these names: Hillary Rodham Clinton/Tim Kaine and Donald Trump/Mike Pence. In other words, the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees versus the Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees for the US Election of 2016.
You’ll fill in a little bubble next to your choice, Clinton or Trump. You’ll turn in your ballot. A machine will take it, read it, and allocate it into your chosen nominee’s pile. By the end of the day, the votes will have been tallied. The Electoral College will have been counted as well. And one candidate, the one with the most votes, will become the new President of the United States of America. That’s democracy.
The only question left then, besides the obvious: Who will win?, is “Who will I vote for?” The choice, ultimately, is up to you. Me? I’ve made mine. And I’d like to share it with you all, along with why I’ve made it. Why I have used my well-earned American right to be a part of a long-standing democracy to make a choice and ultimately participate in creating a country that I live in where I fee, empowered, brave, free, unjudged, and proud to be an American.
With that being said, I would be proud to say that Hillary Rodham Clinton is the President of the United States.
I choose the word “proud” very specifically. While I’m not the most “patriotic” person, per say, in the world, I deeply appreciate the country I live in. I appreciate the values it was built on, and the strides it has made since birth to uphold these values, and even modify them, to fit our ever-changing modern times. I appreciate that when I think of the word “American,” I don’t have a singular definition or solid picture in my head. Rather, the images that come to mind are those of boats arriving at the Statue of Liberty, men and women alike, colors of skin varying from my own virtually see-through white to olive tans to deep and rich ebony black, families of many sizes or of no size at all, lovers of all colors and sexes, and a plethora of religious beliefs and spectrums. Why? Because there is no one “American.” A modern day American is literally someone of some origin or combination of origins, somewhere on the color spectrum in skin, of a sex they choose to identify with, with their own family, their own lover, and their own personal religious beliefs. Rather than a singular identity, America itself has an identity formed of identities. Our connection, then? It’s in our name itself: the United States. We are different, but we are united.
We are united by values, beliefs, and processes. By a government and a system of equal representation “by the people, for the people,” a system that we fought for long and hard in our history. Independence Day? It’s not just a day for fireworks and candid beach photos while wearing red, white, and blue bikini bathing suits. It’s a day we celebrate to remember the first July 4th when we became the United States of America. A day we gathered together and fought for so that we could officially declare ourselves as our own entity.
From that day moving forwards, we began to discover who we were. America went through a coming-of-age process, like a child growing up. I won’t be your high school history teacher, but in a nutshell, we all got together and made some rules. We wrote important documents to state our rights, and we decided on an equal system of representation. We narrowed down our focus to several values, which we vowed to uphold. Freedom. Equality. Representation. Opportunity. Growth. At the time we were born, we made decisions based off of our present time situations and beliefs to organize our country to best fit those values to the extent that we believed them necessary.
The wonderful thing about birth, however, is that it leads to growth. And with growth comes change. With change comes challenges. Those challenges are usually centered around one thing however: defining oneself. Realizing that changes internally and externally subsequently effect how our core values look on the outside. Accepting that we are not single, black and white boxes. We warp, we shift. We grow. We extend.
For a moment, consider America as a child. It was born, one eventful July 4th many years ago. It started out as one thing. But, as is natural, it faced external changes, and internal changes came about as a result. When America began, the external environment didn’t criticize slavery. Women weren’t considered equals. Blacks didn’t have the rights of whites. Christianity was enforced above all else. Class lines were strictly defined. Socioeconomic growth was virtually unheard of. Sexual identities basically consisted of one of two options. That was simply the environment of the times. In all good intentions, the founders of this version of America did truly believe they were promoting those core values of freedom, equality, representation, opportunity, and growth.
America the child, however, began to grow. With that, definitions of values changed. Humans came to a consensus, however violently, that ultimately slavery wasn’t actually a representation of equality. Women spoke up, eventually likewise gaining empowerment and legal rights. Other religions were allowed, and one had the right to choose which one (or none) they wanted. Class lines blurred. It was no longer a self-fulfilling prophecy that being born into one social “class” doomed you into staying there your whole life. More people came over from countries all around, adding to the melting pot of diversity in America. The words “gay” and “transgender” and “bisexual” weren’t social swears anymore. Technologically, we transitioned from farms to industry to factories to machines to automation to connection to wireless to space travel, to considerations of alternate worlds. New problems sprung up (good and bad), like nuclear weaponry, global warming, and changing educational systems. I recognize that I’ve just condensed hundreds of years of history in which individuals struggled and faced intense discrimination prior to receiving their rights into one paragraph of text, but I hope you take a broader perspective and look at my point here: America has changed.
But we are not done. We have not stopped growing. And we have much farther to go. All those right up above that I claim we’ve earned? They’re, unfortunately to say, still not accepted by all. We are still a never-ending growing child. We still need guidance. We have more rights to obtain. We will have, inevitably, more modern challenges that we will face. And to face those, to gain those rights, to continue updating our version of an equal, representative, free, modern nation, we need a leader to help us do so.
History lesson over, bring your head back to the 21st century, mid-October 2016. Almost Election Day. Democrats vs Republicans. Clinton vs Donald. They are our choice right now. Whoever we elect will be responsible, for the next four years, for guiding us towards an updated America, with 21st century definitions of our core values. Your decision boils down to, then, who do you think can uphold those values, to move America forwards?
For me, the answer is simple. Hillary Clinton. No doubts, no questions.
While there are a million different directions I could go in to explain ad justify my unwavering support of Hillary Clinton, about many different issues, I’ll spare you a novel. Honestly, you read about that every single day anyways. Both political candidates are scrutinized word for word, and can debate for hours about individual statements or actions or decisions dating as far back as multiple decades. There will likely be twenty news articles about them as well. What I want to do in this post is remind you of the bigger picture: the umbrellas every single statement and opinion from these candidates falls under.
Regarding Hillary Clinton, the one aspect of her thoughts on all of the issues she calls attention to has been consistent. In one word, I’ll settle on that umbrella term as being “Progress.” Hillary Clinton’s platform is one of progress. Moving forward. Tackling the future with hope and determination. Sticking to the founding values of America and adapting them to modernity. Constantly evolving to fit the needs and rights of the people. Hillary promotes freedom for all. Hillary believes in equality and representation. She supports opportunities. She wants American growth for the better.
Switching over to her opponent, Donald Trump, I believe that his goals for the country, and the umbrella over his platform, can be summarized with a word immediately opposite to “progress.” If Hillary represents progress, then Trump represents regression. In other words, moving backwards. Donald Trump’s arguments, which he has made clear from the beginning of his campaign, are consistent with the beliefs of someone who wishes to strip certain groups of their freedom. He does not believe in equality, and certainly not in representation. He wants to limit the opportunities available in the United States. He wants to stunt and even erase American growth by crippling it at its core values.
Analytically, one need not even have a political opinion to see this dichotomy of Clinton progression versus Trump regression. The candidates themselves have made it very clear, even by examining something as basic as their campaign slogans. The Clinton logo is a capital H for Hillary, with an arrow through the center pointing right, into the future. Hillary makes clear that her goal is to guide the country in a forward direction, building on a mindset that asks, every day, “How can I create more freedom, more equality, more, representation, more opportunities?” The answer is always a forward guiding arrow. Hillary implies, without even speaking, that the path she plans to take America on is one consistent with American values.
On the other hand, Donald Trump’s campaign motto does just as much talking as Hillary’s, but in the wrong ways. How many times, now, have you heard “Make America great again?” Donald Trump literally has built a campaign off of a slogan that implies firstly that the modern America of now is “not great,” and that an America under his presidency would slowly revert back to an “older version” of the country. He appears to think that America of the past is better than America of the now.
This deeply concerns me, for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is my opinion that in making the statements that he has, Trump has made clear that he honestly has no knowledge of the future, let alone how to handle it as it approaches. He very clearly wishes to simply put his head in the sand and spin around three times, hoping modern day problems don’t come to fruition. Case in point: environment. Donald Trump does not appear to either care nor believe in pollution and global warming. Newsflash to him: global warming is very, very real. Its threats are scary and imminent if action is not taken. My question is how can action be taken, and how can our planet be protected, if the president does not trust the scientifically proven facts? Maybe Trump wants to “make America great again” by time-traveling back to pre-greenhouse gases. Newsflash again: time-traveling is not an option at this point in time. In fact, under Trump, it may never be an option, considering his clear disregard for scientific innovation. The issue of global warming is just one example of relevant modern-day issues that must be addressed by a country’s leader, and thus must be at the very least recognized by the leader. Heads in sand just won’t cut it.
Secondly, Donald Trump’s insistence on reverting to the past to find American “greatness” scares me because based off of his rhetoric and beliefs, his proposed presidency is one that will nix incredibly important aspects of maintaining the core American values. Exactly how “far back” is Mr. Trump thinking? His utter disregard and disgusting treatment and opinions on women profile to a typical male of an era where women were essentially house slaves, or human sex toys for men like Donald Trump himself. Where they were judged based off of their looks or sexual performance, and whose social roles consisted of bearing children, raising them, cooking, and cleaning in the house. Where they could not vote, let alone even consider being a political representative. As a woman myself, the American history regarding women is one that hits right at home. Women fought for hundreds of years to get to where we are today, and still we are not equal. And Donald Trump wants to return to the past? No thank you. I deserve my rights; all women deserve their rights.
You may think I’m being overly-dramatic, and you’re partially right, but also partially not. Just look at the most recent promotion by Trump supporters, started by a relative of the man himself: repeal the 19th amendment. In other words, take away the right for women to vote. That is the extremism I’m talking about. That is downright terrifying.
I haven’t even mentioned the issues when it comes to Trump and marriage equality, Trump and immigration, Trump and mental illness, Trump and race, Trump and religion. Does he want to regress back even just a few months? He will be erasing historic court laws for marriage equality. Does he want to discriminate against those with disabilities or mental disorders, leave them to fend for themselves, deny them opportunities for jobs or adequate health care and support? Does he want to create a society where racial minorities are unfairly treated and jailed and punished and denied chances? Does he want to spread Islamophobia, broadly defining all members of an entire religion as “terrorists” and hurting their role in a society they have every free right to be a part of? He’s said he wants to build a wall to “keep out the Mexicans.” Does he want to revert back to an America where not everyone is always welcome, despite the original intentions by our founders?
I find nothing in Donald Trump’s campaign that suggests acknowledgement and awareness of the future, and most importantly, nothing that is consistent with following American values. To reiterate: freedom, equality, opportunity, representation, and growth. The America he wishes to lead is one that contradicts every single one of these terms. One of regression. Hillary Clinton, however, is the epitome of a woman not only making future by running herself, but also planning for the future, with every single one of these terms in mind. Hillary recognizes that America the child has grown very much, but is not finished. And it certainly doesn’t want to shrink. The America of today is constantly changing, and needs a leader that can help it adapt to not only move forward with new innovation and modern perspective, but also stay true to the main goal of this country. This dedication to progress is why I believe in Hillary Clinton, and back her 100%.
The question remaining then is who you’ll vote for. You, Americans, blacks and whites and Hispanics and gays and straights and bisexuals and women and men and Muslims and Christians and Jews and teachers and lawyers and janitors all are lucky enough to be in a country where right now, you are all individually free to give your input in this very important decision. And it is a very important decision. So think. It’s ultimately your decision, but I do hope that you’ll think about my words and analyses.
Progression versus regression.
Which bubble will you fill in?