COMMENTARY: As an active progressive, both personally and professionally, I have wrestled with where I land on the top billing this election cycle since summer of 2015. But, a year and half later, primaries done, the late-night jokes growing slightly stale, and most profoundly after the three debates, I’m with her.
I will be early voting this weekend and I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton.
I’ve been in Bernie Sanders’ camp since seeing him speak in Phoenix in the summer of 2015. I got to listen to and meet his political biographer in San Francisco last October.
I was an independent starting at 18 and only changed to become a Democrat because I needed to support a Democratic candidate in a primary in New Mexico two years ago — something our system won’t allow unless you’re registered with the party. I loved the idea of supporting a president who did the same thing.
To get this out of the way, surely we can all admit that Clinton has many flaws. I’m distressed by the allegations that she bullied women with whom her husband had affairs. That is not a redeemable quality in any person, if true.
For the record, though, I’m not troubled one bit by the email thing. The actual act of using the private servers seems like an oversight, but one that makes sense given the technological labyrinth of the big government machine. As for lying about it, well, to quote Dr. Gregory House, “everybody lies.”
But where Clinton has won me over is when she speaks the truth, loudly and clearly.
I’m not a single-issue voter. But I am a single parent to a daughter, and more and more I see myself distilling issues into how they will/might/can affect my daughter’s life. Wednesday night, in the third presidential debate, Clinton spoke loudly and clearly about women’s access to health care. Besides being totally inaccurate and crude when speaking about abortion, Donald Trump talking about legislating women’s bodies was the manifestation of what conservative policy and Trump himself have in common: Entitlement.
The GOP has long assumed it could legislate women’s bodies because, perversely, our culture has supported the notion that women need someone else’s input in making decisions. They don’t. In fact, they don’t so much that I’m not even going to say anything more about it. It’s not my place.
As a parent, it’s my job to do everything in my power to ensure my daughter grows up healthy and with the best I can provide for her. When it came down to me talking with her about my choices in voting I found myself lamely trying to defend a point about the importance of third parties, about better representation in our government, about corporate affiliation.
But you know what? My daughter doesn’t need that right now. She needs a strong woman to look up to, a role model who isn’t afraid to say the word abortion, to defend women’s rights, and to speak plainly about things women encounter on the daily. And you know what else? I need that too. I’m not a linguist, but I’ve worked in communications a while now and I can tell you that even just the shift in language from “he, him, his” to “her, she, hers” in the news cycle will have a profound affect on the way people perceive women in this country.
Please don’t conflate what I’m saying to me voting based on someone’s gender either. My point is that while men can talk about women’s issues, and vice versa, my daughter and the millions of young girls across the U.S. have enough of them everywhere else. Congress, state government, athletics, movies, TV… the list goes on.
After watching Clinton debate I find myself supporting her not because she’s a woman, but because she’s the right person here and now to be talking about the issues that matter. She fended off the most vile of humans three times, never breaking from a respectful demeanor that befits a president. She’s got more experience under her belt than any candidate since George H.W. Bush, both good and bad, which is important.
It’s time. While I certainly have fretted over this decision for months and months, totally and unequivocally I’m with her.
Lucas Herndon is a lifelong resident of Doña Ana County and is raising his daughter here. He is the communications manager for ProgressNow New Mexico.