[Intramuralist Note: Today features Guest Writer #8 in our annual summer series; the opinions expressed may or may not be held by me, but I value the writer’s expression and their commitment to respect…]
Hillary was my choice for President…
She was my choice for President of the United States because she had a sense of duty, was articulate and thoughtful in her delivery and had weathered many storms both personally and professionally. Hillary had a long history of fighting for people outside the mainstream society who weren’t recognized as equals. Hillary had changed, mellowed and become more reflective through the years. She was a trailblazer in many ways as she had years of work on children’s, women’s and other issues for those without a voice. Yes, she had flaws and years of unfavorable press that were both justified and unjustified. Many people just didn’t like her.
Yet, it was her “lack of likability” that I respected the most in her. Hillary demonstrated to me she could distance herself from the emotion and separate the politics of situations, allowing her to not only analyze situations in isolation but to recreate multiple potential scenarios to find a creative solution. She understood complex relationships. She was criticized for staying with Bill, but she survived being humiliated beyond what anyone deserves and still raised a poised daughter. This spoke to me greatly. I have profound respect for her as the “comeback kid.” I especially admire the number of miles she logged internationally. The fact President Putin didn’t trust her or “like” her told me she was able to stand up to foreign powers. She was never given credit for her role of taking out Bin Laden.
It bothered me that many voters questioned her faith. To have survived the many positions she had that were not traditionally held by women, her husband’s indiscretions, and the amount of negative press she had, I found her resiliency to be a result of having great faith. How else would you continue to find the strength to go forward?
Admittedly, she was not an effective campaigner and didn’t have the likability factor that many voters need to feel a connection with a candidate. Voters want to feel as if they can sit down with a candidate over coffee to tell their story. They want to like the person. If they “like” the candidate, they turn a blind eye to the issues. Hillary could never get over this obstacle. Bill Clinton had to learn how to be personable with voters. He learned from his first loss as Governor. Hillary was always too academic in her approach for many voters. Simple sound bites resonate with voters; the bites allow people to make connections. Hillary always explained things beyond what was necessary.
Ironically, knowing her, she is very personable and warm when you speak with her one-on-one. She is probably one of the best listeners I have ever known. She has an uncanny ability listen to your words and translate them in the way you intended to be heard. Hillary hears you and is intrigued by opposing viewpoints and tries to incorporate them into solutions. Voters rarely saw this side of Hillary.
This last presidential election was very interesting. There seemed the perfect storm sociologically. It was reflective of many changes, fears and lack of hope in the American society. As previously “dismissed” groups like those in the LBTBQ community, African-Americans, newer groups of immigrants and women became acknowledged as equals and “white privilege” became a discussion topic, the heightened amount of cognitive dissonance challenged many “norms” and values. Couple this with declining blue collar industrial opportunities due to increased technology impacting manufacturing jobs and the decline of the coal industry, the perfect storm was created. Whether you liked or disliked candidate Obama, he created “hope” for many voters. For many Americans, I think candidate Donald Trump did the same in his direct attacks and simple messaging. Hillary never found a way to “connect” with the very voters she could have helped through policy changes and administrative practices. She didn’t create a sense that “we can do this together” in areas where she needed the electoral vote.
She was hurt by Bush and Clinton fatigue and by the fact she was female. Americans had many issues and wanted a “change,” for good or bad. I would argue that Hillary would have brought stability to the Presidency by having been one of the most experienced, qualified candidates who had ever run for the office of President. She had been First Lady, a U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and a mom who had protected her child from cruel taunts; she was a survivor of an unfaithful husband who brought shame to the family and was as well-versed in policy as a person can be. To me she understood global issues and had the ability to make a difference in how the United States was viewed worldwide.
Hillary understands policies and how they are translated into everyday life. I am disappointed that we will never know what type of President she would have been, but I do believe since she took so many “hits” that the next woman candidate for President will find that the Hillary blazed the trail for her. I also believe she gave many young women and girls the hope that they, too, could be the leader at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It just wasn’t her time.