Go Ahead, Hillary, Earn My Everyday American Vote

2006_04_13_Chicago_SpeechHillary Clinton just announced her candidacy for president. She wants to be my champion. She wants to help out all the nice everyday folks, like me, with the economic deck stacked against them. She wants to show she’s more tech savvy – announcing on Twitter instead of the Tonight Show – and she wants me to vote for her.

Well, simply put, she will not get my vote just because she’s a girl. She has got to be able to carry my message in Washington.

I have watched Hillary Clinton hint at running for a while now, and along with the rest of the country, I have been interested in seeing how she would step out to say, “I am running for president.” The video today was not surprising or anything I did not expect. It was beautifully shot, skillfully edited, colorful, home-style, broad-based, and clear. She has met us and feels sure that we need her.

I want Hillary to know, however, that I will not vote for her if all she brings to the table is that she is simply a woman in politics. That’s not enough to earn my vote.

In fact, this is a pivotal moment for women in America. We finally do have a candidate who is not only well-versed in the ins and outs of Washington back rooms and living rooms and tea rooms and secret rooms, but she is the first woman in my lifetime to have the nerve and the training to take the job and do it as well as anyone, man or woman.

What makes me nervous is the campaign, that she will blow it.

She is recognized by nearly 100 percent of Americans. But I worry she will take her critics too seriously and, in an attempt to become “every woman,” she will dumb down, stage too many grandmother photo ops, have too many lady teas to win voters in the Midwest and the South, and forget the role of president is also Commander in Chief. Too often portrayed as a hawk when it comes to her approach to world conflict, I worry that if she adopts the soft sell, it will mask a really aggressive woman to the point where her real nature will be obscured. She is one really smart, really well-educated, tough cookie who would more likely prefer to share a beer in front of the television to a coffee with the girls. And ultimately I don’t care which she prefers as long as she knows the answer to that call in the middle of the night, as wrong-headed as that ad was at the time.

It’s my hope that she won’t try so hard to reach women that she will forget that top notch public schools, universal pre-K, and better daycare opportunities, or longer maternity leaves benefit men too. It’s irritating to me when I hear that these are “Women’s Issues.” Higher wages for our lowest paid workers should be the goal, not just higher wages for women. Changing the mindset that has kept women’s wages low is a very different struggle. At the end of the discussion, it’s easier just to give women different titles in order to pay men more for the same work – I’ve seen it, we all have seen it. But raising the minimum wage is a gender-neutral way to benefit everyone.

That’s what I want. I want Hillary certainly and I want her to find a gender-neutral way to the top spot. I will not vote for a girl just ‘cuz she’s a girl or I would have voted for Sarah Palin. Sarah’s a grandmother too, you know.

We’re all little tiny fishes, so go ahead and hit the road, Hillary. We always need a champion and right now, it just might be you.

 Anne Born is a New York-based writer who has been writing stories and poetry since childhood.  She blogs on The Backpack Press and Tumbleweed Pilgrim and her writing focuses on family and life in a big city after growing up in a small one.  She is the author of “A Marshmallow on the Bus” and “Prayer Beads on the Train” and a photographer who specializes in photos of churches, cemeteries, and the Way of St. James in Spain.  Most of her writing is done on the bus.  www.about.me/anneborn. You can follow Anne on Wattpad, Instagram, and Twitter at @nilesite.

And, if you would like to read more about Hillary and the love-hate relationship many women have with her candidacy for president, you can pre-order on Amazon today the forthcoming book, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradoxby Joanne Bamberger (Editor)

Image via Wikimedia Commons/In the public domain

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