When I was asked speak to you, I was at once happy and nervous. After all, I knew I’d be talking to a ‘mixed crowd.’ But I know that I have friends on both sides of the arena today.
Mostly I wanted to honor Hillary Rodham Clinton and her life’s work, and why I believe she should be the next President of the United States. And five minutes just isn’t enough time to do her justice.
I have a confession to make. I have not always been Hillary Clinton’s biggest fan.
It wasn’t until I actually began to push through the media narrative to examine her history, her life-long commitment to issues near and dear to my heart, her ability to work across the aisle to make things better for people, and the loyalty and friendships she’s made and kept over the years, that I began to look at her in a new light, and how, eventually, she moved from last place to first in my personal Presidential Preference Poll. I’ve been on board ever since.
And I’m not the only one she has won over. As Jon Favreau, President Obama’s speech writer (and 2007 Hillary Clinton nemesis) wrote recently:
“This same story has repeated itself throughout Clinton’s career: those who initially view her as distrustful and divisive from afar find her genuine and cooperative in person. It was the case with voters in New York, Republicans in the Senate, Obama people in the White House, and heads of state all over the world. There’s a reason being America’s chief diplomat was the specific job Obama asked Hillary to do—she has the perfect personality for it.”
There is no candidate running to be the President of the United States who is better prepared to take on the responsibilities of the job who has the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience to deal with the many challenges facing our country that Hillary Clinton has. No one.
I know that when she is in the White House I won’t have to worry about national and world affairs. I know that she has the ability and the intelligence to handle whatever comes her way.
For me, it all comes down to this: She cares. And she always has. But, honestly? The caring part is easy. The solutions part, the fighting to make it right part? That’s hard. That takes a plan. And let me tell you, the woman has a plan. She has lots of them. She has plans for the big challenges and the small ones.
She is a problem solver. She doesn’t wring her hands and point fingers. She gathers the best minds she can, and works to find common ground and solutions that will benefit as many people as possible. This has been her way for decades. As she said at the conclusion of her 1995 speech in Beijing:
“We must move beyond rhetoric. We must move beyond recognition of problems to working together… to have the common efforts to build that common ground we hope to see.”
I trust her to fight for us in the things that matter most for us. The kind of things that, indeed, keep us up at night.
I trust her to fight for women and children, because she always has, from her earliest days with the Children’s Defense Fund, through her years as First Lady of Arkansas, as First Lady of the United States, as United States Senator and finally, as Secretary of State. The advancement of women and children has always been her focus.
I trust her to fight for the right of women to make their own reproductive choices. As Senator, Hillary Clinton introduced 8 pieces of legislation with the clear purpose of expanding and protecting women’s access to reproductive health care — more than any other presidential candidate.
I trust her to fight for equal pay for equal work.
I trust her to fight to make college affordable for all.
I trust her to stand up to Wall Street.
I trust her to fight for universal health care and to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix where it falls short. Health care has been her fight for decades and she’s not stopping now.
I trust her to take on substance abuse and to work end the stigma of mental illness.
I trust her to fight for veterans.
I trust her to fight for the Dreamers.
I trust her to fight to reform our criminal justice system.
I trust her to fight to end gun violence.
I trust her to fight inequality in all its forms.
I trust her because she understands that the problems we face are multi-faceted and complex. That more often than not there is not a one-size fits all solution to a problem. That intersectionality requires working on numerous fronts to address what looks to be a singular problem.
I trust her to fight for us, not because she says she will, but because she’s been doing it for decades.
I trust her to fight for us, because she IS a fighter. No matter how much is thrown at her, no matter how many times she’s knocked down, she stands back up and gets to work.
Which brings me to my final point. At her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said:
“Too often, we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us, but it is the real possibility of progress, of that better life free from fear and want and discord, that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.”
At the end of the day, Hillary gives me hope. She has a spirit of deep optimism that I often struggle to find. Not a blind faith Panglossian “everthing’s great” optimism, but a deep abiding faith in the American people and in the future of our country and the world.
I don’t know where she gets it. It is something deep in her core. She has a resilience and strength that gives me hope just enough ledge to keep my toes on.
And that’s why I’m With Her.