Why I’m Sticking With Hillary Clinton

Everybody seems to want the perfect hero, someone they can believe is ideologically pure. But when it comes to politics I think that’s where we often make our greatest mistake. Politicians are not heroes, they are flawed human beings just like the rest of us. No one, absolutely no one, is perfect. Yet the expectation of perfection from our politicians is apparently still a requirement. Getting a politician to admit to their mistakes, let alone apologize for them, is like pulling teeth because admitting they are not perfect and have made a mistake is often a death knell to their political careers. This begs the question: how can anyone learn from their mistakes if they can’t even admit to making one?

I don’t think Hillary Clinton is a hero nor do I think she is perfect. As I’ve said, I don’t think any politician is. I think she has made many mistakes over the duration of her long political career. She herself has recently admitted that, while she did not break any laws, nor did she ever email anything that was marked as classified, it was a mistake to use one email system for both personal email and official business. Honestly, with the amount of time Hillary Clinton has been active in politics and public life, I’m sure it is far from the only mistake she has made. So why do I remain loyal to Hillary Clinton and support her run for the presidency? Mainly it is due to two simple reasons. Her record on the issues I care about is the first, and the slightly more distant second is that the other options besides Hillary are not only disappointing but sometimes downright scary.

Hillary has a history of speaking out on certain issues and to put it quite simply, a majority of the issues she cares about align with my political sensibilities. Health care, gay rights, women’s rights, immigration, the economy, even her more than slightly hawkish attitudes on national defense are all aligned with my line of thinking. Her personal life is none of my business. Her stance on the issues and her willingness to speak out for them is absolutely my business as a voter and an American. And I have long admired both her positions on the issues and the vigor she showed in defense of her ideals.

I’m a proud gay man who joined the Army right out of high school during the days before the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. President Clinton signed onto DADT believing it would be a compromise that would halt the overt discrimination and witch hunts against gay soldiers. I was one of those soldiers, and I remember those dark days, fending off and surviving those discriminatory times in the Army left a scar on my soul. And it was the impetus for me to become a gay rights activist so many years ago for the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and later for marriage equality. And though ultimately Bill Clinton was mistaken, the policy did not do what he had hoped, but it cannot be denied that the DADT compromise was the first break in the dam that began the quest to have the discriminatory ban removed once and for all. The fact that Bill and Hillary Clinton were the first presidential couple to ever speak out in defense of gay soldiers and the humanity of gay people in general was not lost on me.

In a way, for someone I’ve never met, Hillary and I have history. I’ve admired her resolve as First Lady, and later was proud to support her as my Senator in New York, and as an activist I still can’t help but smile when I think of Hillary’s powerful speech to the United Nations while she was Secretary of State to President Obama where she forcefully declared that “Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights” for all the nations of the world to hear, echoing her historic speech of nearly 20 years ago in which she spoke out at the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Hillary Clinton’s politics have pretty much always seemed instep with my own.

So if I am to cast aside my history with Clinton what are my other options? I actually admire some of Bernie Sanders’ positions on the issues, but I cannot support a socialist for president. I love America. I gave up several years of my young life volunteering to serve and defend this country in the U.S. Army. America is one of the few countries where you can be born poor yet rise to the highest of heights in our society. And that is because we are a Capitalist country, and though not a perfect system, without it there would be no American Dream. America is one of the one of the very few places where rags to riches dreams still come true. They happen every day. The economic socialism that Sanders supports would kill the American Dream in my opinion. So no, I cannot support Saunders. Former Governor Martin O’Malley seems like a good guy but just doesn’t have the gravitas or grasp of international politics that Clinton commands with ease. And though I like Vice President Joe Biden, he has a long history of questionable verbal statements and gaffes, and the fact that he did not support the raid that killed bin Laden has always made me question his nerve.

So that leaves me with the Republican candidates, who all have some pretty archaic views that border on and often cross over to full-on bigotry when it comes to equal rights for gay Americans. Surprisingly, Donald Trump seems to be the most moderate when it comes to gay rights. While some Republican candidates flock to the spectacle that is Kim Davis, the Kentucky Clerk jailed for contempt of court after refusing to obey the law and a judge’s order to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, Trump has actually said that he accepts the Supreme Court ruling as the law of the land and thinks people should just move on to another issue already. But as a New York City boy, you could say that I have a kind of history with “The Donald.” He has been quite the colorful character in our fair city for many years but putting it mildly, I simply do not share his views on immigration and I cannot support his so-called immigration plan which entails deporting millions of people as well as an end to birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented workers born in the United States. Nor could I support his run for the presidency.

That’s why I’m sticking with Hillary.

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