After reading all 1100 comments tonight (from yesterdays post) I was compelled to answer the question I had been asked politely a lot along the way: Why did you vote for Hillary Clinton?
So here goes.
I consider myself a liberal because I strive to care about all people, equally, and I believe that left to our own devices, we are innately all selfish and will put our needs, our wants, our dollars in front of the greater good. It’s not that I don’t think that conservatives care about people, I know they do, my parents care more about people than anyone I know, but like another commenter said liberals value equality over freedom and conservatives value freedom over equality. Both are good, its just a matter of what you want to place in front of the other.
I believe that the governments role in society is to help create programs that will let us thrive and progress as individuals and communities – regardless of your racial, socio-economic and geographic status.
I believe in public education, public health care, subsidized child care, taxes, etc. Every time I see a homeless person I see him or her as a way we have failed. Sometimes I wonder, in horror, if either of our kids will be in that position but most of the time I know that they won’t because they were raised by me and Brian, and we were given the tools to succeed in life, by good parents and strong communities. We were lucky. Poverty, drugs, crime they are all part of a cycle that is fueled by lack of education, unprepared/skilled parents and sub-par positive community support. Too many rich white men, namely republicans, have forgotten the christian values of charity, selflessness and service and instead believe that we are fully responsible for our own successes and failures. And we are to a point, sure. But the fact that I was raised by outstanding parents, in a decade/location that had good public education and that I am recreating those sets of circumstances for my kids is a god damn rarity these days. We are privileged, we must recognize that, and we must not forget and neglect those who aren’t. I want so much less disparity. Right now its just insane.
I believe that many much smaller countries have found solutions to all of these problems through government run programs. But I know that our country is too big and diverse for that kind of reform, sadly.
I also believe that our government is far too bureaucratic, too big and inefficient. I think we waste money right and left, and proper checks and balances aren’t in place and yet every time we place more checks and balances we just waste more money. But I’d rather waste money then not help people.
I agree that the political climate has grown into a ineffective storm of lame policy. Sadly I think that no one understands that more than Obama – who became such a victim of Washington politics, blocking what I deem to be progress at every point.
So yes, I am a democrat and while I don’t believe in ‘Big Government’ I believe we are all teenagers (or maybe toddlers?) and we need guidance from our parents to help us realize we are not the only people in the world and that other people matter. We need some rules, some policies, some guidelines to protect us and to constantly remind us to be better, be more empathetic, and serve others.
Now, is that all to say that I have aligned myself strongly with Hillary the whole time? I have wavered over the campaign but ultimately became pretty darn passionate about her near the end for a few reasons:
I believe that despite and because of her decades in Washington she truly cares about the American people and creating policies that are better for us. I believe that she is highly experienced in government and is extremely intelligent. I realize now that what I love about her is in a way a lot of what people disliked about her – too much time in Washington, too many ties that bind, too much money involved. After reading all your comments I do find them compelling (somehow its so much more interesting coming from you than pundits or media). I frankly also was excited to have a woman president. Furthermore I find Trump’s persona to be repugnant, negative, sexist and latently racist. Again … his persona. He is inexperienced in government (which I see as a negative, but its clear that many of you see this as a positive which I understand because I LOVED that Obama was fresh and uncorrupted). I didn’t grow to love Hillary til the end as I simply didn’t connect to her reactions and how she communicated. I am also deeply in love with Obama so anybody was going to be a hard rebound for me. I wish that I had loved her earlier and campaigned on her behalf more. For this I am ashamed.
What I’m realizing now is that we are all victims of the times, as right now America was looking for an outsider (Trump) and decidedly did not want a career politician (Clinton). Oh how I wish that we had listened to you years ago and nominated someone else this time for both parties. And oh how I wish the GOP had listened and found an outsider that was more experienced and less, well, Trump.
If I may represent liberals here, I think that what a lot of us are reacting to the seeming lack of empathy by Trump and his followers. Listen, nobody thinks letting anybody into this country is a good idea and we all believe that immigrants should go through a process to become citizens. But how he talked about ‘them’ pushed our sensitive buttons in a nauseating way. It turned ‘them’ into ‘others’ and dehumanized the very human situation. That offends our very core of acceptance and empathy – not that conservatives don’t have a sense of empathy, its just that we are hard wired to be angered by anything close to prejudice. That is our instinct as liberals – for good or bad. At the same time I think its easy for a privileged white blogger to say that she thinks that families who fled a dangerous life in Mexico should be able to just come and work and yes, take jobs. Easy for me to say because i’m not losing work. But after reading the comments I realize how much it has indeed affected your family – and with that I am also extremely empathetic and ashamed that I wasn’t thinking about that earlier.
Additionally the way he spoke about women we found deeply disturbing. While I don’t think that he thinks that women are inferior, he has consistently re-enforced sexists notions of looks, beauty and sub-par worth. I think that he thinks that women are as intelligent as men because I’m hoping that he is a smart human and most smart humans know that. But historically he has belittled women and placed value (or removed value) based on boobs, beauty and pussy. I don’t know how to rectify this in my mind or with my daughter. YET.
Lastly while he may not himself be a racist (I’m trying to have an open mind here) he has not squashed, punished, stopped or repudiated the racism that has happened in or around his rallies or campaigns. He can’t control the actions of all his consituents, but he can do his due diligence as a human being to not only not incite it, but ask for it to stop. He seemed to like it and that is horrifying to us.
I know there are a lot of liberals out there throwing around the ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ accusations to you voters, but i’m not actually one of them (although I do think that for some it is a factor). I really kept trying to put myself in the shoes of you and at times I definitely saw his appeal. So when he incited violence for the sake of an applause or laughter, I wanted to cry in fear of my children as all of you seemingly applauded. I hope that now that he is president and he got what he wanted that he will no longer pursue that method of destruction.
I think the larger picture problem is that his thoughts don’t represent ours to the world. We are kinder than he is. We are more accepting, more loving, more articulate, more prepared, more experienced. He embarrasses us.
And since abortion came up so strongly…. as soon as the birth control pill (or whatever form) is available over the counter and free or very inexpensive (at CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc NOT a random hard to get to government store that is only one 9-2) then we can talk about pro-choice versus pro-life. For me, personally, its less about control over my body, and more about education and access. I know how to prevent and handle/grow my unwanted pregnancy, but many, many, many, many do not have the sex education or the access to EASY birth control. Planned Parenthood was vital to me in my 20’s to get access and if it got shut down we would see hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies from people who aren’t prepared to parent, which begins terrible cycles of general badness. Until there is proper sex education and, way more importantly, easy/free access to birth control then the pro-choice/pro-life is a conversation I will never entertain. Nobody, NOBODY wants an abortion.
After reading all your comments I truly feel enlightened and more hopeful. Its not that I like Trump more, its that hearing from real people with intelligently formed arguments brings me hope. I have tried over the last 9 months to find media that is unbiased and its so impossible. The media has done an absolutely offensive job of relaying the real information to those of us who want it on both sides. I read ‘HillBilly Elegy’ by JD Vance and LOVED it and that did help. But otherwise we see swasticas and ‘Hillary is a CUNT’ t-shirts all over the place, next to real quotes by Trump – all told by old white men. He made it easy to dislike him, its true. He did a great job of terrifying us with his absolutely non-issue based, non-sensical rhetoric while seemingly loving the violent nature of his crowds. I’m so happy and relieved that very few of you that supported him, really liked him. It sounds like it was time for change and sadly he was the candidate that offered that. We failed as a country seeing this need for change and certainly our media is very much to blame.
It was a bad year for all of us. But after reading this I truly feel like I understand more. Listen, if you call yourself a liberal I have something to say – OUR JOB, AS LIBERALS IS TO BE OPEN MINDED, PROCESS INFORMATION FROM ALL SIDES AND COME TO OUR OWN CONCLUSIONS. To be BIG, think BIG and include everyone in our thoughts. Just because we personally vaccinate our kids does not mean there isn’t a decent argument against government forced vaccinations. Just because we don’t like guns doesn’t mean they should be abolished. There is no way to move forward productively without researching the other side. And if you don’t do that research, you fail as a liberal. That ‘other side’ is now 50% of America. Its OUR JOB to try to understand, empathize, communicate, compromise grow and progress. Trump or no Trump we have to listen, be empathetic, open-minded and kind.
We can do this, America. It’s what we have been trained to do our entire lives. This is our emergency open heart surgery and we have the skills, I promise. We can save this DOA situation and nurture it back to health.
Or dear god, if not, we can hope for a transplant, right? 🙂
Now is your turn, democrats to RESPECTFULLY talk about why you voted for Hillary. Go forth, respectively.