Why I’m With Her, Why I Don’t Have to Like Her and Why I Do

Hillary Clinton 2016 Election Bernie Sanders

She’s seen the world at its best and at its worst—in ways no other candidate has—and she still wants the job because she believes she can make a difference. Especially for women and children.

I like Bernie. I do. He’d be a fun, interesting guy to meet at a party. But that doesn’t mean I want him as my president.

Know who I do want as my president in 2017? Hillary Rodham Clinton. Know why? Because she is the most experienced, most prepared, most capable of any candidate, in the history of candidates. Ever.

Bernie scares me (less than any of the Republican candidates, but still) because he hasn’t told me how he’s going to get all the fanciful dancing unicorns from his head to the real world. I love some of his progressive ideas, but I don’t see him getting us there, and I don’t see him navigating world diplomacy much better than you-know-who. I see Hillary getting us somewhere. Because she does what she does anyway and always has. She knows exactly what she’s getting herself into and she packs the balls of steel in her pantsuits to deal with it. I don’t think Bernie has a clue what he’d be in for.

Donald Trump has revealed an underbelly of angry middle-aged and older white people that is bad and ugly and divisive for our country, despite an unequivocal truth that our country is great. Today. Right now, even with all of our struggles. To say that our country isn’t great—for the not-at-all-thinly veiled reason that we have a black president—is utter fallacy. Having a black president is one of the most beautiful things I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Not because he’s black, but because he is a black man of a certain age who has faced more challenges than any other president in history, and he can’t be broken. He has more than delivered, with grace and class and intelligence and compassion—all qualities I want in my president. And every time he does it, it serves to further piss off a certain faction of our country and their Stepford wives. A skill Hillary also possesses.

The “randy-est” of Trump supporters respond that it’s because of President Obama’s “policies,” which is to say because of his compassion for all people, aka, his people. But all people are our people. If my neighbor succeeds and flourishes, it makes my life and my children’s lives better, not worse. Black people doing well, or black excellence shoved in our faces, like the Obama family has done every day for more than the last eight years, doesn’t take anything away from me. In fact, I believe it enhances my life and the lives of my children.

And, by the way, who among us feels the same, acts the same, or thinks the same as we did twenty or thirty years ago? I actually like Hillary because she’s moderate. I’m not ashamed to say, once again, that I’m not all left all the time. I think people that follow one dogma simply because of a label that’s slapped on it aren’t working very hard to expand their worldview. And I think somewhere in the gray middle is where the right answers sit for our country. Hillary is a mother and a grandmother, and we all know that when our kids have a disagreement and we, as parents, must find a solution for them, it usually makes neither kid 100% happy. That’s how we know we’ve done our job. And that’s probably what people are most afraid of with Hillary. All parties will likely walk away grumbling, and that’s probably a good thing.

Hillary Clinton is the grandma that’s going to grab us by the ear and knock us into next week if we don’t straighten up. We don’t always want that grandma, but it’s what we need. And she’s also the grandma with wisdom and the strong shoulders to hold us up during the toughest times, and a soft comforting bosom on which to rest our heads when we’re hurt. She’s seen the world at its best and at its worst—in ways no other candidate has—and she still wants the job because she believes she can make a difference. Especially for women and children.

I saw Gloria Steinem speak last year during Western Michigan University’s Raise Your Voice lecture series, about ending violence against women on college campuses. One of the most memorable moments I walked away with was when Steinem said that equal pay would be the single greatest economic stimulus for our country. Duh. I’ve been a poor single mother and I’ve been a poor married mother. I’ve lived it. I believe it. If we make our country better for all women and children, we make it better for everyone. We make the world better. And I believe Hillary when she says that she wants to.

What disturbs me most about this election year discourse in particular is that there are those with a nonsensical visceral dislike for Hillary that they claim they can’t quite put their fingers on. Largely, I believe, because they don’t find her attractive. Women are just as guilty of this as men, and it isn’t just Hillary. For some, instead of feeling empathy or compassion, deep in their shriveled, empty, Grinch-like hearts, they feel only disdain and disgust for people who aren’t physically attractive; for autistic kids and their parents who have the nerve to go out in public; for mature women or women who aren’t considered “pretty;” for people who are fat; for people with physical deformities, unless there is some triumphant news story or Facebook post attached. And until they become mature enough to keep such things buried where they belong, they actually say out loud things like, “Why do you even exist? Why don’t you just kill yourself?” Or, they call “women [they] don’t like or who reject them, ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs’’ and ‘disgusting animals.’”

In 2008 and now again in 2016 Hillary is up against bullies and mean girls, pure and simple, and those of us on the playground who aren’t brave enough to stand up for her. And she’s come up against that likability problem—and more than survived—her entire career. Hana Schank aptly describes the phenomena in her must-read piece about Generation X’s Hillary problem over at Salon, when she talks about Hillary’s earliest angry feminist fans being “off-putting.” But Hillary didn’t shrivel up and die in 1998, and she didn’t wither away in 2008. She pulled herself up by her wide-calf bootstraps and excelled. She has shrugged off more congressional hearings than the average bear. And she has landed on her feet as deftly as Cat Woman, so many more times than nine, because—asked and answered, and answered again—from Gingrich to Gowdy, it’s all nothing more than GOP smoke and mirrors.

And finally, I’m with Hillary because there is no one I’d rather have at the helm of our country, facing down Putin or anyone else with a pathological need to prove that his submarine is the biggest, than Hillary Rodham Clinton. And that’s why I like (most) everything about her, including, and maybe especially, her laugh.

KIM JORGENSEN GANE is every woman, every mom, every writer. After many Erica Kane worthy iterations, she is firmly rooted back in her hometown, content with writing, selling real estate, and producing/co-directing Listen to Your Mother®, Southwest Michigan. She is wife to a taco truck owning photographer, aunt to a trombone, baseball, and video game playing live-in nephew, and mom/stepmom to a mine, a his (two grown, married daughters) and an ours: a middle grade, cello playing, dragon-obsessed boy and his furry brothers—two standard poodles that follow her everywhere.

At her website GANEPossible.com, Kim writes about politics and other things that matter, including parenting through midlife crisis, infertility, health and wellness, personal empowerment, real estate and life in beautiful southwest Michigan.

Image via Flickr.com

  • SanityNow1

    Great post. Very intelligent, articulate, well thought out. Thanks!

  • Green Diva Meg

    well said. thanks!

  • I am with you Kim!

  • Cathy Chester

    I agree completely, Kim

  • Wow! So well said. You nailed it about Hillary.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    #ImWithHer and #ImWithYou, Kim. Great post and every single voter should read it.

  • Yay! I’ve been saying this, especially about the White Guy Liberals who keep saying really nasty and mean things about Hillary – they simply hate her and she does not deserve it. At all. You guys should know better.

    • IKR?!! Those White Guy Liberals are killing us! I hope they Feel the Bern in their shorts!

  • Hi Kim! I so agree with all your statements. I like a lot of what Bernie says but just don’t have confidence that he could come anywhere close to delivering on his promises. Meanwhile, I strongly believe that Hillary will prove that a woman can AND SHOULD be president –not just because she is a woman but because she is the right woman for right now. I am so looking forward to her proving to us all that she was the right choice for us to make come November. ~Kathy P.S. Sorry to hear you won’t be coming to BAM–would have loved to have talked more with you about it!

    • Oh my gosh, Kathy. I would have LOVED to talk with you more about this (and anything else) at BAM, too! Deeply sorry I can’t attend, was looking so forward to it! Listen to Your Mother comes first this time of year, sadly (and wonderfully), and our show had to come early in the season this year. I agree that a woman absolutely can AND SHOULD be president! I think it would make a world of difference. I hope Elizabeth Warren steps up one day, too. xo

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