pen rainbow

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday—Why I'm #StillWithHer

I was with her in 2008, and I'm still with her



#StillWithHer

Since 2008

It's very unlike me to express my political views.  

It's not something I do very often, mainly because a discussion about politics usually leads to a flaming argument.  I am a firm believer that no one has the right to harsh my mellow because he or she feels the need to vent his or her own personal brand of political frustration.    

The bumper sticker mentality of posting political memes on Facebook is lazy and cowardly.  I don't do it, and I think that anyone who does, should be ready and willing to explain exactly what they mean.  I'm not talking about cute kittens and inspirational sunsets.  I'm talking about graphics that express an extreme political point of view in an in-your-face and often oversimplified manner designed to provoke a response. 

If you post bias, then be ready to defend it.  Elevate the dialogue to a thoughtful exchange of ideas, if at all possible.  Something more than, "If you agree, then share this!"  

Otoh, I like talking about laws and how they are made.  I enjoy the long, arduous process that brings people together and forges agreement out of raw and frequently divergent discourse.  I love the determination, the skill, and the willingness to work in an imperfect system.  It is civilized government in action and an opportunity to affect change for the better.

I am drawn to leadership when I see it.  It is a personal quality that resonates with me, especially in women.  Based on my experience, it is simply harder as a women to get past all of the labels assigned to strong women.  It's an impossible situation.  Express your strength as a man, and those qualities are generally perceived as positive.  Express your strength as a woman in exactly the same manner, and those qualities are guaranteed to be perceived by more than a few as threatening.  

Now that I'm 58, I understand the familiar dynamic.  Smile more.  Soften yourself.  Assert, but don't assert too much.  Read the room; figure out how much to say before they start to hear nagging.  Keep it short and sweet, like an old family friend.  Turn down the emotion, but exude nun-like devotion.  Frankly, this is a skill that I admire because it does not come naturally to me.  I run my flag up the pole and see who salutes.  If no one salutes, then I go back and figure out a new approach.  I am task oriented, which takes away from the niceness factor when I'm focused on planning and doing.


"I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me."  ~Hillary Clinton

This was an interesting statement in her acceptance speech at the Democratic convention.  It's a pretty fierce declaration coming from someone who has spent her entire adult life in public service.  That was her saying, "I know that some people don't like me.  But, judge me by my accomplishments, on what I can do."  

She's right, some people don't know what to make of her.  It is hard to communicate ideas when your audience is thinking about how frumpy or how stylish you look that day.  Or, how much makeup you have on.  Or, the tone of your voice as you present ideas that may not land squarely with everyone.  

Sure, everybody noticed the sleeping opossum draped over The Donald's head and Bernie's Stay-Off-My-Grass, curmudgeony style.  But, those less than complimentary attributes became part of their overall personas, and the public embraced them.  If Hillary had shown up with even the slightest hint of a wild animal on her head or a touch of Bernie's political rancor, she would have been perceived as unfit for the office of the presidency.   

It's exhausting and frustrating, and she's had to put up with it all of her adult life.  But, as her party's nominee for President of the United States, she publicly acknowledged that she is not the most popular girl at the dance.  It was a risky move, but quintessentially who she is.  

It does not matter if she's cute or not.  It matters that she made the choice to spend her life in the arena of community service doing work that is mostly thankless along the way.  I dare anyone to spend a year doing the kind of work that she has done.  I'm pretty sure that most of us would say, "To Hell with this!  I'm going back to my cozy life."  And, she never had the option of walking away from failure by declaring bankruptcy.  It simply did not apply to the type of work that she was doing.

#StillWithHer because she has always been an advocate for families and children, and she has devoted her life to this cause.  She recognized decades ago that the rights of children need protection from a system that fails to meet the needs of all children.  It is something that she is passionate about, among other things that affect all of us.  

#StillWithHer because she has spent her life in public service.  It's not fun, and it's not nice.  It is the kind of work that most of us choose not to do.  She is driven, and she never gives up, even when others tell her that she should quit and go home.  

#StillWithHer  For every little girl who has ever been told to be quiet and stop causing trouble...watch and listen, girls.  Hillary's a pretty great example of how to get things done when the odds are against you.

#StillWithHer because she chose a running mate who is a civil rights lawyer.  Tim Kaine is the right man to stand up to the insidious wave of bigotry and racism that has managed to sneak back into our lives.  I, for one, am sick of it.  Tim Kaine is the right man in the right place at the right time to help lead by example and give people the courage to speak up against intolerance and bigotry.  

#StillWithHer because she was part of the team who got Osama bin Laden...and she has the experience to deal with future terrorism.  This job alone would keep most people awake at night, but she has the knowledge and the experience to manage the responsibilities of the presidency, as well as the personal fortitude and the diplomatic skills to deal with global terrorism.  Donald Trump is cracking under the pressure of the campaign trail, and he is an embarrassment to our nation.     

#StillWithHer because she has the best resumé for the job.  Bottom line, she is the most qualified candidate.   


• Clinton • Kaine • 2016 •