Day 98 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
So, to summarize.
If you’ve been following this blog post (and thank you to those who are, and a special shout out to those who have commented – you make all the work worthwhile), you have heard – so far – 97 reasons I will vote for Hillary. Some of them are sliced pretty thin, some are broadly sweeping. So, how do they add up?
First, the easy parts. Here are the things I truly love about her:
• She does her homework: every day, all the time, on every subject, well beyond what 99.99999999999% of us would do. Ignorance is inexcusably sinful in her world.
• She follows up – this may be one of my favorite discoveries. With all she has on her plate, I would expect her to finish up some legislation and then move on to the next fire. She does, but somewhere in there, she finds the time to backtrack to the passed legislation, research its effectiveness, poke holes in it to see what doesn’t work – AND THEN SHE FIXES IT. I love that!
• She actively listens – She sets aside one day per month to read articles she’s saved about people who are struggling, she stops lots of the people she meets (shopkeepers, teachers, police) and asks them what’s on their minds, and then meets with her policy folks to strategize a response.
• She writes Thank You notes. All the time. To all sorts of people. I wanted to make a separate blog post about this because it touches me, but never got to it. It’s sweet. It makes people feel important. It’s unnecessary, but lovely.
• She has worked her entire life for other people in unexpected ways. Two of my favorite articles talk about her going undercover in Alabama to investigate desegregation of schools (or, more specifically, schools not desegregating) and going door-to-door in small-town Texas registering Hispanics and young people to vote. This is nitty-gritty work for a woman on a path to the presidency (these, plus the canning factory in Alaska amuse me).
Onto some of the grayer aspects of who she is. My primary issue with the Clintons themselves is, and always has been, their looseness with the rules and their sense of personal exceptionalism.
My most succinct summation of Hillary is this:
She believes the ends justify the means, but I do – in my heart of hearts – believe that her ends are altruistic.
Her childhood pastor describes it this way:
“My sense of Hillary is that she realizes absolutely the truth of the human condition, which is that you cannot depend on the basic nature of man to be good and you cannot depend entirely on moral suasion to make it good,” Jones says. “You have to use power. And there is nothing wrong with wielding power in the pursuit of policies that will add to the human good. I think Hillary knows this. She is very much the sort of Christian who understands that the use of power to achieve social good is legitimate.”
This brings me to my next point: anyone who discounts the power or essence of her faith in her work is missing who she is at her heart. I don’t think she’s cynically manipulative. I think she truly believes that everything she does is in pursuit of doing good in the world.
It’s why I think both Clintons always seem a little surprised and perplexed when the world goes after them. “We were curing AIDS throughout the world, why are you bothering with who paid for it? We treated 9 million people!”
At some point, it becomes disingenuous, but I think it’s what’s there.
In this vein, far from “pay for play,” it turns out that giving money to the Clintons is a risky proposition: you may not get what you think you’re paying for. Wall Street and Pharma both received tighter regulations. The “women-hating” governments the GOP likes to reference gave millions to the Clinton Foundation only to have them use it to treat AIDS and uplift women. I keep picturing the Clintons sitting around chuckling gleefully, “Whee hee – we just got Mobil to pay for solar energy! SCORE!”
My next big issue with Hillary is her default to fog. If she could, I believe she would be the Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain while creating policy. Some of it is just who she is; many believe some of it is the household she was raised in (I can believe it, but don’t know that for sure), but, however it began, after 30 years and an estimated $200million in investigations, it is now part of her DNA.
My life couldn’t stand up to the scrutiny she’s been put under. I don’t think many of us could. And after $200million and counting, what have we learned about her? She didn’t want the world to read all of her emails (because, gosh, maybe they’d misconstrue some of what she said), so she did something really stupid. I understand it. I don’t condone it. But I sure understand it. And I’m here to tell you, If anyone spent 1/millionth the time and energy investigating me, they’d find a lot worse.
My strongest initial objection to Hillary was grounded in the visceral loathing she elicits from the right. This concern lingers. And, unfortunately, I don’t expect that to change. However, as fractured as we’ve become as a nation, I remain hopeful that she is uniquely suited to bring us together. She has always worked well with Republicans and, one hopes, that she will be given the chance to continue to do so. I hope her intelligence, hard work, sincere (if somewhat messianic) desire to do good, will resonate with someone, anyone, and encourage cooperation.
My most surprising, interesting or illuminating articles are listed below. This is my “Best of” list (and cheers to the NY Times for writing all of them), so, if you’ve ignored all the policy articles, these represent the softer side of Hillary.