#imwithher.

[I want to preface this by saying that these are my personal beliefs based on my life situation and political/humanistic positions. I truly love open dialogue and discussion, so please feel free to discuss. The best way to move forward is with the most comprehensive amount of facts at our disposal, not keeping only the ones that resonate with what we want to believe. Peace friends].

I’m writing this because in 25 years from now, I’d rather be damn proud that I was on the right side of history and stood up for what I believe in than any possible alternative. Since I’m not a journalist and have no allegiance to anyone, except my own humanity, my reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton are black and white. This isn’t 2012, Mitt Romney isn’t the alternative here. Donald Trump is. Stakes are much higher.

I am an Independent, but side more Democrat in regards to social policies, that’s not news to anyone that knows me personally or professionally, but this election goes much deeper than political affiliation. It has us holding a mirror to ourselves to see who we really are—and what it has shown has been more than a little unnerving: our fear over what we don’t fully understand, the ease at which we are convinced by main stream media that doesn’t propose all facts, our bigotry, our racism, our misogyny, and above all, our lack of humanity. Donald Trump scares me, but this mirror is what scares me a whole lot more.

Like many others, I too stood hand to my heart, citing the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school, uttering the words: “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Then I grew up and started looking around, traveling, reading, expanding my horizons—and realized in theory, that may sound truly wonderful, but this picturesque reality does not exist as evidenced by study after study. And as this election as shown, we sure can be divided. Hillary showed us her acknowledgement of this reality through the past 30 years working to merge this divide vs. shouting hate-filled rhetoric through the loud speaker to further divide us.  That’s the thing about true leaders, their actions speak for themselves

Side note on injustices in the forefront:

  • Racism: Any Sociologist will tell you that racism is alive and well here in 2016, a good 151 years after the 13th Amendment was enacted. Let’s look at a few examples. Although racial/ethnic groups use and sell drugs at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Hispanics comprise 62 percent of those in state prisons for drug offenses, and 72.1 percent of all persons sentenced for federal drug trafficking offenses were either Black (25.9 percent) or Hispanic (46.2 percent), many of whom often face harsh mandatory sentences (The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights/The Leadership Conference Education Fund, 2016). In healthcare, African Americans have a life expectancy that is six years shorter than the life expectancy for white Americans (American Nurses Association).
    • Prejudice: much harder to assess empirically, but we know often leads to discrimination and something I think this election brought front in center: attitudes, insensitivity, and ignorance about certain cohorts of people based on skin color, religious affiliation, or sexual preference.
  • Women Pay Equity & Discrimination: In 2015, women, who make up half of the workforce made 80 cents to a man’s dollar across all occupations with data to assess. Don’t worry ladies, in 2059, we’re expected to be reimbursed equally to men.

Main stream media and I have been in an agree-to-disagree relationship since about 2006. Donald Trump is a textbook example to why. It’s so easy to hear one-sided arguments that are not based in reality or facts about our political system and/or history and get riled up one way or the other, but let’s talk about the facts and dare to take a look at our own stories and re-examine this election and priorities.

I’m not voting for Hillary because she’s “the less of two evils,” I’m voting for her because she is most equipped for the job, probably more so than any other past Presidential Candidate in our history if we want to lay our biases aside and put on our thinking caps as my third grade teacher would say.

Let’s discuss her qualifications: Two-term New York Senator, Former US Secretary of State, First FLOTUS to have a postsecondary degree and first ex-FLOTUS in US History to be elected to the United States Senate (and re-elected), Served on five Senate committees: (1) Committee on Budget (2001–2002), (2) Committee on Armed Services (2003–2009), (3) Committee on Environment and Public Works (2001–2009)… and the list goes on. [Thank you dailykos.com for enumerating these accomplishments].

Now let’s discuss Trump’s qualifications: He claims to be a huge business success and “billionaire” (although that’s debated and he still has not released his tax returns), but his claimed “self made” billions were only made possible by a significant starter loan and multiple bailouts by his father, the $365 million airline he bought in 1988 ceased to exist by 1992, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy FOUR times (the last time in 2014), also the smaller industries he attempted to break into and failed: Vodka, Magazine, Steak, The Game, Mortgage, and Trump University. His successes are not small, I fully acknowledge that and include: Trump Tower, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Wollman Rink, 40 Wall Street, Trump Place, The Apprentice.

However, in order to logically assess his “business” acumen to translate into leading our country, all facts need to be out there– and Donald Trump is very risky. So let’s have the honest conversation. He wants to fight for America, but admittedly not enough to pay his fair share of taxes or offer us transparency. This is a problem. What is he really running for?

Since Trump has never served the public, only his for-profit companies, and any accountability he had went down in flames (and a bailout), we can only look at Hillary’s past as a Public Servant/Politician. [However, if Trump treats Americans like he has reportedly treated his contractors, colleagues, and subordinates, I am very very fearful].

As a New York senator, Hillary pushed to obtain federal funds for firefighters, the city’s security operations and for health research related to the Sept. 11 attacks, securing $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment. She supported improving health benefits for veterans after their duty had concluded. She was instrumental in a bipartisan compromise for the renewal of the U.S. Patriot Act, which provides our government and law enforcement with the tools needed to combat terrorism threats. As Secretary of State, she traveled to more countries (112 to be exact) than any other in that position in our history at a time in dire need of uplifting our reputation in the international sphere.

As a Politician who has shown great ability to take bipartisan measures for the betterment of all, has done her due diligence and research, and whom other politicians trust to fight ISIL, rather than say they know more about “ISIS” than the best military in the world’s revered Generals, I am much more ready to trust her judgement.

Did you or anyone you know lose or almost lose their family home in the housing crisis brought on by our loosely regulated private sector? Hillary proposed the New Deal-era Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to help homeowners refinance their mortgages in the wake of this storm.

As a health policy researcher, my training focused a lot on access and inequality of the health care delivery system, a big part of her platform. Hillary is a champion for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a safety net program for America’s children, our children, our fellow Americans. Administered by the states, but dually funded by federal and state gov’t, this program provides health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage. This is a saving grace to many families, even temporarily to make sure their children do not go without coverage. Hillary worked alongside Senate Republican leader Bill Frist to make sure children weren’t a pawn in the political game when the Republican party was attempting to rid of the Affordable Care Act.

Let’s finally discuss this elephant in the room, the ongoing “rape culture” we’re finally acknowledging on a national scale as the Brock Turner victim so eloquently highlighted in her open letter.

On that front, Hillary helped create both: (1) the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice and (2) Vital Voices, an international initiative to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.

While Trump is one corner degrading women and telling those that suffered enough emotionally by having abortions they should additionally be punished by our justice system, Hillary is out in the real world fighting for them.

That public “locker room talk” sent chills through my entire body. I’m not naive, I know guys talk about women in disrespectful ways, but we’re not talking about disrespect here, we’re talking about sexual assault, a problem one in six American women are victims of. For those who continuously defend his actions at “locker room talk.” You literally should be ashamed. The Department of Justice defines sexual assault as: “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.” So when I see signs that say “lock her up.” This is the “mirror” and “blind eye” I think about. Also, he was not in a locker room, but at work, talking about a colleague, while just newly married. Our Christian Candidate folks. Money and success does not buy you class.

Many young girls waitress and bartend, as a very efficient way to put themselves through school or even pay off student loans after school and working their first low-paying 9-5 job (reality). I waitressed through college and we all knew the type: older drunk men making lewd comments to young women, who relied on their often hefty tips. This was “our normal.” Seriously? Drunkenness, money, or success are not excuses to treat another human being as an object for your pleasure—or your subordinate. The day I had enough was the day a 50+ year old man offered me $500 for the shirt off my back after a Red Sox win cocktail waitressing at a bar in Fenway. I was 20. This was locker room talk played out, not assault and still made me uncomfortable enough to quit my job. The next week I found employment at a restaurant where all waitstaff wore collared shirts and ties (good ole’ Legal Sea Foods, bring back the fish tie!), leaving this kind of culture behind me. I may have made less money, but I regained my sense of self-respect.

I could delve into Donald Trump’s display of complete lack of knowledge on how the U.S. political system works, lack of paying federal taxes, or his inability to form a comprehensive sentence or discuss any given policy other than in vague-elementary-style “just believe me” or “I will XYZ” rhetoric. However, his worst side shown is the complete inhumanity and disrespect towards: Blacks, Hispanics, Women, Disabled, Veterans, even his fellow Republican Party when they disagree with him.

Just imagine that behavior in the role of Presidency. Imagine the international and domestic implications of his behavior. This is what we’re voting for here. His shown inability to do this job is inconceivable to me—but even more inconceivable in his treatment of fellow humans and any opinion that opposes his own: pig, corrupt, traitor, fat. Sounds like a 2nd grade recess fight, right?

But at the end of the day: “When they go low, we go high.” Michelle Obama.

I watched the past two debates with complete disbelief. That is not a leader. History has a word for his behavior beyond the 2nd grade recess “bully.”… He shows both his ignorance of U.S. policies and inability to listen to anyone. Now I think our policies were written brilliantly, think Federalist papers, making fascism an (almost) impossibility in our democracy; however, his tactics are already proving to be very harmful for this county. And now he has very loud, unruly, fear-ridden followers fueling his hatred. I so badly want to wake up knowing this all is a nightmare. But it’s not, I’m fully awake and unsettled/fearful enough to write this.

Why do people hate Hillary with such passion?

People originally started hating Hillary Clinton in the 1990s because she was too moralistic and self-righteous, now they’re shouting: Lock Her Up from the Trump and Bernie corners, saying she’s corrupt because of Wall Street, a murderer because of a Benghazi attack killing 4 Americans when she was Secretary of State, and a liar because of a private email server etc. We went so far as to spent 20 MILLION (tax payer dollars, you know, that money Trump hasn’t paid into for 20 years) dollars investigating the Benghazi attacks to consistently find no wrongdoing. Later, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted that these investigations were aimed to sink Clinton’s poll numbers. So that’s interesting…

OK, step aside for a moment.

President Bush, a Republican President was both: (1) warned about the September 11 attacks before they happened when 3,000 were killed and another 6,000 wounded and (2) experienced 13 attacks on varying U.S. embassies internationally killing 60. In addition, under his administration, which used private email servers, servers run by the Republican Party, potentially 22 million emails deleted between 2003-2009; yet I have yet to see any concern about these issues, which I personally believe to be astronomically bigger issues. At least Clinton has the ability to admit wrong doing and move on for the betterment of this country.

I’m not trying to take the focus off of Clinton’s misdoings, just illustrate the point of the selective caring and internal biases that allow it to be OK for one Public Servant and not for another, something we’re all guilty of. The blind eye some call it. So please make let us at least acknowledge our own cognitive dissidence and admit that we think it’s OK if Bush did it as sitting President, but not OK for Clinton as sitting Secretary of State.

It is Hillary running for President and I am not disillusioned with her husband’s infidelity (nor do I think it didn’t happen, I fully believe those things did), but I do not see how her husband’s actions are either her fault or plays any role in her being able to do her job. It hasn’t yet. I just see her strength, loyalty, and her humanity.

Politicians are human. Let’s not pretend they are not as infallible as you or I, and please dear god let’s stop throwing stones from our glass houses. When it comes to this election, I stand by the one with a consistent record of unwavering stamina, compassion, and poise to lead our country.

Other middle class people I know argue they know Trump is a horrible person, but state that his tax plan is better for their family. I get it, I really really do. Under Clinton, not much would change for me and others in the Middle Class besides a .01% increase and although, I would really like the 4.3% tax decrease for my family too under the Trump tax plan, it’s a small cost compared to the huge cost a Trump victory would bring. I think back to my waitressing days, I may be giving up money under his tax plan, but I have my dignity- and so does America. And this is not even fathoming the unintended consequences and costs his Presidency would bring.

All of this aside, this is the PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, Trump’s tactics moved the focus on personal attacks and away from public policy. A Presidential election should not be filled with hate and derision above collaboration and policy-driven focus. This is America and the world is watching.

In a gray world, to me, this election is black and white.

#imwithher

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