Liberal Column

Voting Clinton means progress over prejudice

/ The Daily Orange

As a liberal columnist for a college newspaper, I don’t feel that my endorsement of Hillary Clinton will come as a surprise, so I will not beleaguer that point. What I do feel is important is why I have put my faith in Clinton and why she must become the next President of the United States.

I do not place Clinton on a pedestal or hold her as someone above mistake or scandal. She has clearly made mistakes, from her private email server to her paid speeches to Wall Street banks. But these events are dwarfed by her accolades throughout her life, which clearly demonstrate the dedication of an individual to the service of others.

Clinton’s accomplishments as both a public and private citizen represent an endlessly impressive list that would make her one of the most qualified presidents we have ever had. But there remains one qualification Clinton has had since birth: The importance of Hillary Clinton being the first woman president in our country’s history should not be understated.

After a 227-year undefeated streak for men in the White House, Clinton is poised to upset that status quo. When Barack Obama became the first black president, a generation of black children were shown that they could hold whatever job they wanted so long as they put in the hard work necessary. This by no means solved race relations in the U.S., but it may have been the largest single victory for civil rights since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the same way, Clinton’s election tells a generation of young girls they deserve a spot at the table as much as any man. Like Obama’s election and the issue of racial inequality, this clearly will not immediately bring about total gender equality. But for such a qualified candidate to also be a woman, one of the largest pillars of the patriarchy may soon crumble.

Finally, we must address the misogynistic elephant in the room. Donald Trump’s candidacy has been continually treated as a joke by many in the media and entertainment industries, something that must end if he is to be defeated. His candidacy is not about “making America great again,” but the politics of fear, racism, xenophobia, sexism and demagoguery.

The U.S. does not need a “strongman” president, someone who believes he can bend the nation, and the world, to his will. We need a pragmatist who understands the issues, the factions, and the solutions. Trump’s immature, unsophisticated views do little to reflect society as it truly exists, a complex web where nuance marks every issue.

I supported Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. Like many young voters, I was drawn by his focus on issues primarily on the mind of America’s younger generations, such as climate change, college debt and income inequality. But the majority of Democrats chose to vote for Clinton, a decision I have come to have greater and greater respect for.

Clinton’s years in politics should not dissuade voters as the mark of a “Washington insider,” but rather reassure the country of her confidence and composure in the face of the difficult decisions faced by the president throughout their tenure.

Over the past 595 days, voters have heard from more than two dozen candidates who feel they deserve to be the next president of the United States. On Tuesday, that contest will come to an end and only one candidate will be declared the victor.

Obama put it best during a speech in support of Clinton: “We know the progress we’ve made despite the forces of opposition, despite the forces of discrimination, despite the politics of backlash. That doesn’t stop with my presidency. We’re just getting started.”

We the people must rally around this national progress and elect Hillary Rodham Clinton the 45th president of the United States.

Cole Jermyn is a sophomore environmental resource engineering major at SUNY-ESF. He can be reached at cdjermyn@syr.edu and followed on Twitter @Cjermyn8.

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