With surprising frequency over the years I have been asked variations on the questions “How can you possibly support Hillary Clinton?” and “How can a Christian vote for a pro-choice candidate?” Last evening I had a dear and earnest friend who has grown entirely disenchanted with Donald Trump ask me to help her find her way to being able to support Hillary. So, even though it will alienate some friends and readers, I’d like to offer an impassioned defense of my vote and why I believe it is imperative that Donald Trump be defeated next week.
- I believe in, and am inspired by, Hillary Clinton. I have followed the work of Bill and Hillary Clinton ever since I lived in Arkansas in the 1980s; I enjoyed the peace and prosperity of the 1990s when Bill was president. Hillary has distinguished herself in her own right. She’s worked tirelessly as an advocate for children and education and marginalized people. She has lived out the social gospel imperative of her Methodist background, seeking to make the world a better place. One of her classmates at Yale School of Law recalls that “Hillary was always the smartest person in the room” and that was what attracted Bill Clinton. A commentator on NPR recalled her time as our New York State Senator that she “knew where every pothole was in Buffalo.” During her four years as the most traveled Secretary of State in history, she visited 112 nations. She has a broad and deep understanding of governance and a commitment to improving the lives of all Americans. We need someone of her intellect, vision, and tenacity as our leader.
- I am sympathetic to opposition to abortion, but I support Hillary Clinton anyway and I do so for historical reasons. Under Pres. Obama abortion rates have dropped to their lowest level since 1973. Abortion rates drop under Democratic presidents because of their support for the social programs that make life easier for single mothers, because they are more likely to care about the baby after it comes out of the womb, because they make funding available for education and contraception. In the first twenty years of Roe v. Wade we had sixteen years of Republican presidents and four of a Democratic one, yet no one got rid of Roe v. Wade. Realistically, we are not getting rid of abortion, certainly not by Donald Trump, who only recently became ‘pro-life’ because of political expediency. I appreciated what Hillary had to say in the 3rd debate: Abortion is a deeply personal and anguishing decision that a woman has to make and she should be able to make it consultation with her doctor, her family and her faith; the government doesn’t need to be involved. We are better served by trying to minimize the need for abortion and by promoting legislation that cares for babies after they are born. Read Rachel Held Evans for a more comprehensive statement on this. (I’m trying to be brief here!)
- I have been horrified by the candidacy of Donald Trump. Trump has made a mockery of the American electoral process and I believe him to be wholly and fundamentally unfit for public office. The list of reasons I oppose him is too long to include here, but I’ll quickly enumerate a few highlights. He is running only on his reputation as a “successful” business tycoon and yet he refuses to release his tax returns to prove it to us. He has declared bankruptcy six times, frequently failed at business, stiffs those who work for him, has not paid taxes for two decades, and the money he has made has been by disreputable businesses and casinos. Had he merely put the money his father gave him in a money market account he’d be far richer than he claims to be. He is opposed by all living US presidents and yet is supported by Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and the Ku Klux Klan. He lacks the experience, temperament and sound judgment to lead our great republic. He represents a clear and present danger to our nation, our allies, and the world. He doesn’t understand our constitution let alone our complex foreign policy. He is a morally bankrupt serial philanderer who is no friend to Christians. It is painfully obvious to me that he is–and has always been–out for one person only: himself. His attitude towards women, African-Americans and Hispanics is deplorable and as a father, teacher, person of conscience, patriotic American, and evangelical Christian, I could never vote for him. I have a 20-year-old daughter and I would never leave her alone in a room with Donald Trump so how could I vote for him to be the leader of the free world?
- It is time for a female president. I want to see a female president in my lifetime. I want my daughter and my students to experience this last barrier to gender equality be smashed. I want a truly egalitarian society that celebrates the contributions of all persons. Hillary Clinton has bravely and graciously fought, not just against Trump, but against sexism, misogyny, the male establishment, the Russians and our own FBI, decades of investigations and witch-hunting by the Republican establishment (which has failed to yield a single result) and centuries of oppression. For 240 years half of all-Americans have been excluded from the most elite power circles of our government. American girls have never had a role model in the Oval Office. Most Americans claim to be “ready for a change in Washington.”. What more dramatic change could we see than having a woman’s perspective and leadership? A male-dominated society of white privilege does not change on its own. We must work actively to overcome it. If not Hillary, then who? If not now, then when?
- We are better than this. Donald Trump has appealed to the worst in us as Americans, to a smallness and pettiness; he has run a campaign based on fear and xenophobia. He has mocked a disabled reporter, belittled a gold-star family, and suggested that his opponent be imprisoned or assassinated. I recently showed a movie to my 11th-grade American history class: “The Patriot,” an inspiring tale of the hardscrabble everyday heroes that won the battle for independence and established our nation. It was not for this that they fought and died; it was not for this that the founders sequestered themselves in an oppressively hot Philadelphia Hall in the Summer of 1776, contemplating treason against Great Britain and envisioning a new government built on liberty that the world had not yet known; it was not for this that our boys stood guard, shirtless and shoeless, in the snow at Valley Forge and stormed the beaches of Normandy; it was not for this that we survived and overcame slavery, the Great Depression, assassinations, two world wars, and the attacks of September 11th. America was founded on the rule of law and has inspired the world with our ideals of liberty, equality, brotherhood, and freedom and it still stands today as the last great hope for humanity. We have not come this far and survived this much to allow Donald Trump to sit at the desk of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
And that is why #I’mWithHer. Please join me in voting for Hillary Clinton on November 8th.