So, I'm going to get this off my chest because it's been sitting there too long. I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I am not voting for her because she's "the lesser of two evils" or simply because I am appalled by everything Donald Trump stands for. I am voting for her because she has inspired me since the first election I was eligible to vote in. You see, when I was young my family did not vote. They rarely talked about politics because they were just busy making ends meet, and they didn't really believe it made a difference. Well...my 6th grade Civics teacher had something to say about that. She set up a mock election, and I was in charge of campaigning for my chosen candidate. All week, we made posters, and even did a small speech about the candidate we supported, and this lit a fire in me. My candidate lost that classroom election, but I did not lose that fire. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to change the world.
So, some six years later, it was election time and I was 18 years old. Bill and Hillary Clinton were on the campaign trail, and I heard that they wanted so many of the same things I wanted for my family. I proudly cast my vote for Bill Clinton. And then came Hillary... She was a new kind of First Lady. She was used to contributing and DOING. She was not a trophy wife. She was intelligent and opinionated, and she had a drive to make the world a better place. She started working on healthcare and suddenly everyone was up in arms. "A First LADY should not be involved in such matters", they said. Many people wanted her to just smile and cut ribbons at charity events and be content. Hillary was not that kind of woman, and neither was I. I saw in her the strength and independence I felt. I saw that she could stand up for what she believed in and that she did not back down in the face of all the extreme pressure and criticism. Then came the scandal...and she made up her own mind once again. She decided what to do about her personal life, and she remained steadfast and steady under more pressure and scrutiny than most people could take. And while the country enjoyed some of the best financial times in my lifetime, and some strides toward healthcare were made, she fought these personal battles, and never lost her wits.
After her very difficult time in the White House, she did not do as many would have done and quietly fade from public service. She hit the campaign trail to run for POTUS 8 years ago. I did not vote for her in the primary because I felt that one of her opponents was a little closer to my stance on a couple of issues but it was a tough call. I voted for Joe Biden and I hoped that she would be his Vice Presidential running mate. Well, that didn't work out, but she did serve as Secretary of State and once again endured not just the scrutiny due her office, but also jabs about her clothing, hair, and makeup...something no one in her office had ever endured before...because people love to attack a woman that way and it rarely occurs to anyone to think about what a man wears. Still, she did her job. She built and maintained diplomatic ties in one of the most important offices in the world. And through all the tough times in office she didn't crack.
Now, she's running for president one more time. And I am proud to vote for someone who has always been dedicated to issues that are dear to my heart, especially the issues of children and children in poverty. (For more on that, read It Takes a Village, by Hillary Clinton.) I am proud of her. I am proud that she has continuously struggled to improve the world and stress the fact that it does take a village to raise a child. It takes strong role models and people willing to help. It takes Civics teachers and parents, and yes...even politicians. I want my daughter and my nieces and nephews to see that this woman has what it takes, tries very hard, never gives up, and sacrificed much in order to further the values of family, unity, and equality. I am voting FOR Hillary. I'm with her.