I think most people would agree that the 2016 Presidential Election has probably been the most divisive election that we’ve ever seen, whether you’re in support of the career politician who’s held just about every prominent position leading up to the presidency itself or the egocentric billionaire who’s most well-known for putting his name on really tall buildings and getting in arguments with people at 3 o’clock in the morning on Twitter.
Needless to say – I voted for Hillary Clinton today – and so for posterity’s sake, I wanted to take a few minutes to write about why I cast my vote in her direction because despite all of the political noise that tends to accompany any campaign, though has been particularly brutal this year between Hillary’s emails and Trump’s wall and a thousand other buzz-worthy talking points, the basis for my own personal vote really boils down to three core values that I want to see in any political candidate, but especially the person running for the highest office in the land…
1. I want a candidate dedicated to moving forward, not demolishing the past.
Frankly, this is very much a Democrat vs Republican issue for me because one of my biggest pet peeves when listening to a candidate speak is hearing that their primary platform consists of repealing what the last guy did instead of building on his work and identifying improvements to make it better.
The Affordable Care Act is no doubt the biggest target of this type of rhetoric right now, considering that Republicans in Congress have attempted to repeal President Obama’s namesake healthcare legislation no less than 60 times in the last four years. By no means is the ACA perfect, however to claim that absolutely no good has come from it and that the only way forward is to turn back time like it never existed is not only counterproductive, but also an insult to the millions of Americans who did gain coverage for the first time under its new rules and regulations.
Any nation is and will always be a work in progress, and we need to keep moving forward and recognize that our biggest issues are far too complex to warrant merely shaking the Etch-a-Sketch clean and starting over every time we get a new leader.
2. I want a candidate who has respect for the office.
I was never a fan of George W. Bush – that’s no secret, but say what you will about the man’s policies, during his entire eight years in office there was never any doubt that he had respect for the fact that he was the President of the United States of America.
Politicians often times get flack for not being relatable to the everyday citizen, however I think sometimes we ourselves fail to recognize that particularly the President isn’t just like the rest of us … nor should he or she necessarily be treated as such.
Something as simple as driving to the store to get a gallon of milk – a current or former President of the United States will never do because even once they’ve left office, they’ll still have Secret Service escorts for the rest of their lives. Walking out in public, or posting something on the Internet, or even taking their families on vacation – all of these things are drastically different from how you or I would just do them in our everyday lives…
…and the reason I mention this is because of this vastly different life that Presidents live, they also need to carry and conduct themselves in a manner that’s different from any of the rest of us, too. It’s simply not Presidential to rant and rave on the Internet like so many of us do when we get bad service at a restaurant or somebody cuts us off in traffic, or to spout off random opinions without consulting with the numerous advisors who surround the President with the express purpose of keeping him informed about their own areas of expertise.
In a way, the office of the President of the United States is about more than just one person – it’s representative of the entire United States of America, so it’s of the utmost importance that whoever fills that chair in the Oval Office acts in a way that’s befitting of the leader of the free world.
3. I want a candidate who doesn’t defer the most basic of civil rights back to the individual states.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”
Granted, even our Founding Fathers had some errors underneath their belts when they first wrote this phrase into our Declaration of Independence over 200 years ago, but I think it’s important that once we recognize these omissions whether it’s the atrocity of slavery or not granting women the ability to vote or the prohibition of same-sex marriage, as a country we need to take a unified stand to move beyond these mistakes to better represent that original statement that our nation was founded on.
Simply put, while some legislation makes sense to manage at a local level, the civil rights of the American people should be a responsibility of our United States.
Sure, there are plenty of individual issues that are important to me with this election as well, from the acknowledgment of climate change as a real thing that needs to drive us to more efficient energy policies to the handling of immigration and why building a gigantic wall across the middle of the desert would really be a ridiculous waste of resources, but sometimes when confronted with a problem as big as picking the next leader of our nation like we face today, taking a step back to identify what’s really important can be what makes all the difference.
For these three values, I believe that Hillary Clinton is better equipped to lead our nation for the next four years than Donald Trump. And soon we’ll find out just how many people agree with me and where we go from here…