So last night in a phone conversation with my son I heard myself making a case for Hillary. He was discouraged by the exaggerated reports that Clinton hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz after Schultz resigned as the DNC chair as well as Clinton’s less than exciting (that is if you’re a progressive) VP choice. Just last week my son was trying to convince me to take courage so the reversal in our conversation was interesting. The reason I mention it is that I heard myself making a case for Clinton and that in itself gives me hope. I will never like Bill Clinton and I will never fully line up with Hillary. But, if my Republican roots taught me anything (at least as they played out in my family of origin) they taught me to be pragmatic.
The best path forward, if we truly want to maintain the progress made by the movement Sanders has championed thus far, is with Hillary. We cannot afford to waste time or energy squabbling amongst ourselves or becoming distracted by what has passed. The fact is Bernie Sanders did not secure the nomination; Hillary Clinton did. Even if half her super delegates were placed in the Sanders column Clinton still garnered enough votes to win.
Should the system be overhauled? Absolutely. But, we knew that much going into this election. As I told my son, we would be wrong to penalize a player just because she did well when playing by the rules. Clinton is not responsible for the broken system even though she benefitted from it. If we are serious about wanting to fix the way elections are managed WE will need to do the hard work of changing the system from the state level upward. That will take time. The first step is to secure the ground we’ve gained. In his Monday night convention speech Sanders confirmed that Democrats have adopted the most progressive platform in their party’s history. Sanders has pledged to do everything in his power to elect Hillary Clinton and she in turn has pledged to advance the party platform.
So what will a Clinton presidency look like? To begin with, Clinton, not Trump, will nominate Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizens United, advance equal rights for all our citizens, and continue to allow the federal government to protect our environment. Thanks to the influence of Bernie Sanders the party platform which Clinton has signed off on calls for the breaking up of the major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. Hillary has worked out a proposal with Sanders to guarantee that the children of 83% of the population (those families making less than $125 thousand a year) will be able to go to state universities tuition free. And I’m certain she will continue to advocate for equal rights for women, wise gun regulations, and a living wage for all Americans. When she was in the senate, Sanders and Clinton’s voting records were almost identical. She has come down on the progressive side of the Keystone XL pipe line and has reversed herself on the TPP.
Hillary Clinton is not perfect. BUT she is also not a quitter. She knows how to get things done and she is NOT just in this fight for herself. My son warned me, when I urged people to vote for Hillary Clinton if only to guarantee Donald Trump not be elected, that I had succumbed to fear. I suppose my earlier posts can be read that way. But honestly, there are times in life when we are foolish not to fear, or at the very least, times when we would be wise to walk forward holding in our hearts a great concern for our future. This election is such a time.
Our democracy and the constitution on which it is founded was designed by men who disagreed vehemently on many issues. Yet our founders came together and molded a system of laws layered with checks and balances which not only served to guide a brand new government but also managed to grow and evolve as that young nation grew into adulthood. Today, we still hold the principles our forefathers fought to establish as sacred while also understanding that the needs of an infant are different from those of an adult and so our system of laws must reflect the wisdom we have obtained over the course of time. This election is not the hour to turn back, to ignore how far we have come, to forget the sacrifices that were made by the men and women who fought for freedom, justice, and equality. We must embrace the slow steps toward progress as readily as we race to celebrate the wild passion of revolution for both are necessary to reach our goals.
Those of us who call out in warning do not cry wolf. Who we choose to represent us at both the state and federal levels matters. Our principles matter. The goals we have set before us–to champion the middle class, to advocate for the marginalized, to be honorable stewards of our planet–all matter. My pray between now and November is that as we go we seek wisdom. In the hands of the wrong leaders, the very fiber of our nation is at risk of being torn apart. In my opinion, this election is that important.