Hillary Clinton 2016
by Karen Eckstein Sarkissian
Photography by Google Images
The 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary has been long and grueling. It’s exhausting just to follow it. Credit must be given to the candidates, both of whom are senior citizens entitled to retire, relax, and enjoy their well-earned pensions. But instead of discounts from K-Mart and the Holiday Inn, they’re still engaged in a heavy battle that started thirteen months ago and will not culminate for another two. Nearly every Tuesday there’s a too-close-to-call primary election which the media closely monitors on a 24-hour loop. And every day in between the media analyzes what is currently happening and what is going to happen next. See? Exhausting.
So, which candidate to choose? Tough, tough decision. Both have similar views and offer relatively comparable ideas for our future. One, of course, doesn’t trust the other to make sound decisions, and the other doesn’t think the first is qualified. Not all that different from your standard political election. This time, however, is different. Yes, we say that often. But look at who is standing on the other side. There was a time when I enjoyed Donald Trump. He made fun of himself on commercials and in appearances on The Howard Stern Show. He hosted a reality show in which various celebrities hissed and whined at each other while raising millions of dollars for worthwhile charities. It was fun and he never seemed to take himself too seriously. But now he’s winning the favor of voters who think it’s perfectly okay to belittle and, in some cases, physically assault those who disagree with them. Such behavior is intolerable, at least to civilized human beings, yet Donald Trump is bringing it out of the shadows. The exalted leader of the ignorant and violent is within a whisper of leading our country and representing its interests worldwide. Think about that. Really, really think about that.
So, again, which candidate to choose? The candidate we select must be able to beat Donald Trump in the national election this upcoming November. He or she must be successful—and not just against Trump. President Obama had a tough road. Even when the Democrats ran Congress, he had to defend every stance, every opinion, every comment. He even had to defend the color of his suits. Our next president must be even stronger, particularly if we are going to build on Obama’s achievements, and especially if we want to accomplish more of what this country desperately needs, such as campaign finance reform, lower college costs, reduced gun violence, and affordable healthcare.
Hillary Clinton comes to the election more prepared and experienced than any other candidate in history. She’s been serving the country all her professional life. When she graduated law school, her first job was with the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that focuses on protecting and advocating for children. As First Lady, she helped craft and legislate the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provided healthcare to millions of children and advocated for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides unpaid leave to parents and caregivers.
As a Senator, she worked to provide full military health benefits to reservists and National Guard members, and fought to guarantee 9/11 first responders lifetime health coverage. She also worked to expand the Family Medical Leave Act and authored the Pediatric Research Equity Act, which changed labeling on children’s medications in order to ensure safety and efficacy.
As Secretary of State, she worked on the assassination of Osama bin Laden, helped increase the rate of exports to China by 50%, and participated in the creation and implementation of the harshest sanctions ever on Iran. She negotiated the cease-fire in Gaza that stopped Hamas from firing rockets into Israel, and helped ratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. She also lobbied for the first-ever U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on LGBT human rights. Lieutenant General Franklin L. Hagenbeck, who led ground troops in Afghanistan following 9/11, valued her unwavering support of the military during her time as Secretary of State and as Senator. He considered her more “hawkish” than him. And she has always known that Muslim Americans are our first, last, and best line of defense against radical Islamic terrorists.
Secretary Clinton’s policies reflect a progressive concern for national and international issues. She has vowed to make sure every police department across the U.S. equips its officers with body cameras, plans to end mass incarceration, and has called for an end to racial profiling. She’ll work to generate renewable energy, protect every Americans’ right to vote, and invest in infrastructure. She’ll defend Social Security and Medicare against Republican attacks, oppose pharmaceutical price hikes, and make sure suspected terrorists, domestic abusers, violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill won’t be able to purchase guns. Unlike her Republican counterparts, she will defend marriage equality and LGBT rights at home and abroad.
It’s great that Hillary Clinton is a female candidate. There’s nothing wrong with being happy about that, just as there wasn’t anything wrong with being happy that President Obama was African- American. I did not vote for President Obama because he was African-American. I voted for him because he was the best candidate. As an added bonus, I was thrilled and proud that this nation had finally elected its first African-American leader. This year I can vote for Hillary Clinton because she is the best candidate, but I can also be excited that she is a woman.
And that brings me to the “woman” issue. While Senator, Hillary Clinton introduced three versions of the Paycheck Fairness Act and co-sponsored the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Both acts strive for equal pay for women. As Secretary of State, she established the Office of Global Women's Issues, which works to empower women around the world. She is the only candidate in the current election who mentions anything about birth control, contraception, or reproductive rights. Endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, Hillary is a champion of women, and it is an honor to support that.
For several years now, I’ve volunteered for the Youth Mentoring Partnership. We help young people master goals, build toughness, and forge character through physical fitness. Our phrase is “Got Grit?” Grit is passion and perseverance in the face of obstacles. According to Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, grit is more than just resilience. It also “means that you choose to do a particular thing in life and choose to give up a lot of other things in order to do it." She believes that people become gritty while doing the things they love most, and that grit is a better predictor of success than one’s IQ. Our candidate, then, must have grit.
Secretary Clinton defines perseverance in the face of obstacles. It would be difficult to find anyone who has faced more hurdles, both public and personal, and it would be difficult to find anyone with more resolve. She refuses to give up or back down, and has sacrificed greatly. If you recall, she ran for president in 2008 and lost. Think about how much tenacity and strength it required for her to begin the fight all over again? She recently said, "I’ve been called many things by many people. Quitter is not one of them.”
Hillary Clinton got grit? Hell yes, and probably the democratic nomination.