[su_label type=”info”]Guest Commentary [/su_label]
I’m told that this presidential election is a choice between two great evils. I beg to differ. Choosing who to vote for president this year could possibly be the easiest choice for this position in recent memory.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State, Senator of New York, and First Lady of the United States, is more than the alternative to a Donald Trump presidency. She is a much more complex individual than what her opponents say she is. She is not the careless communist the Republicans have claimed she is for the past 25 years. Neither is she the crypto-plutocrat sell-out the “Bernie or Bust” movement claim she is.
Rodham Clinton embodies intelligence, character, and perseverance that can preserve progressive values at the national level.
“I’m not a natural politician like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama,” she said during an interview in February. She hasn’t been able to demonstrate the nonstop charm her husband is known for, the inspiring soliloquies that catapulted Barack Obama to the White House or the fiery passion Bernie Sanders is renowned for. And so what? National politics don’t need to be an entertainment or a reality show. This expectation is partly responsible for Trump’s rise.
“Circus politics” have steered this election into one focusing solely on the personalities of the candidates, rather than a comparison of experience, knowledge and viewpoints.
Do not see Hillary as a caricature. Get to know her and you’ll find that she is much more than a sparkling political resumé. She spent her four years as Secretary of State rebuilding trust and friendships with foreign powers throughout the globe after eight disastrous years of the Bush-Cheney Administration. She led negotiations between Israel and Hamas, to prevent further violence in Israel and an Israelite invasion of Palestine. She negotiated with several conflicting parties in Honduras during the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis to prevent a civil war in that nation.
The far left criticizes her push for intervention in Libya during the start of the Libyan Civil War, even though the United States was acting in coalition with its allies, under the direction and permission of the United Nations. There were no American troops on the ground and the purpose of the intervention was to establish a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace to weaken Muammar Gaddafi, a dictator known for murdering his own citizens and preventing Libyan democracy for decades.
Trump may say that Hillary’s record has weakened America’s international power. But the evidence shows it’s a record of “smart power,” using the U.S.’s influence not for Bush-style nation building nor Trump-style isolationism. Rather, having the U.S. be a coordinator and logistic leader of countries in times of international crisis, not a global bully.
Reading through the bills she sponsored as Senator of New York and the revolutionary legislative responsibilities she took as First Lady show that this lady has guts. To those that say that Hillary is a sellout to corporate greed, find her speeches from 1993 where she publicly decries the plutocratic corruption in the American healthcare system. She led the legislative push for universal healthcare, calling out insurance and healthcare companies, and because of that, her image and name were torn apart by these industries.
In the end, her healthcare initiative (that then-Congressman Bernie Sanders supported) was scrapped and the Democratic Party turned its back on Hillary. But she kept pushing for her progressive ideals, reaching out to the American public to support her in pushing for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers over 7 million youth.
And now, the Bernie or Bust faction continues to claim the Democratic primary process to be “rigged.” The 3.7 million more votes she received over Sanders disprove that claim. The leaked DNC emails (which this writer has read over) don’t show that the Democratic National Committee had already chosen Hillary as the Democratic nominee. What they unfortunately do show is that the staff of the DNC personally disliked Sanders, his campaign, and that the DNC head, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, abused her position for personal goals.
Thankfully, Wasserman Schultz is out of position, and so are the majority of the DNC staff found trying to influence media coverage of Sanders during the primary. Did the DNC do wrong? Absolutely.
The DNC’s biases were clearly minimal on the ground as Bernie reached an incredible amount of success in the primary. Nevertheless, it was the voters who decided in the end. Hillary won most closed and open primaries, with a bigger margin than Barack Obama’s primary victory against her in 2008.
I understand and respect those readers that still support Sanders exclusively or are now supporting Jill Stein. Many want radical change at the national level, now. I too believe in the political revolution. However, a revolution that leaves everlasting democratic changes starts from the bottom. Politics is such a dirty and disappointing game. The federal government is composed of so many conflicting interests. But my friends, don’t lose hope.
Permanent change begins at the local and state level. Radical national change can be easily erased in the next midterm election. Just look at how quickly Ronald Reagan erased the liberal accomplishments of earlier years. And now look at how far San Francisco and California have progressed. Progressive values such as allowing DREAMers to study with scholarships at state universities, the constant push for a green economy and much more are ingrained in our local communities.
That is why I’m following Bernie’s examples and focusing on state and local races to make sure that progressive candidates, like Jane Kim, win and establish progressive reforms that become beacons of hope through the nation.
The two-party system needs to disappear and I believe the Green Party will become our nation’s third major party.
I know this may sound stupid in this era of “the immediacy of now.” But we Americans can change our nation, and it requires passion, hope and patience, one county at a time, so that no Trump can ever reverse that progress.
Thus, when you walk into the voting booth, have these values in your mind. Hillary may not set your heart on fire with her speeches but she is a leader composed of perseverance and optimism. Her commitment to Barack Obama’s liberal achievements are a much better alternative than having a president that promises to deport 11 million people, construct a wall, ban Muslim immigration, and further denigrate disabled individuals.
Truthfully, there is too much to lose, but so much to gain.
Story by: Carlos Cabrera-Lomelí