(This article originally appeared in my hometown newspaper, The Daily Hampshire Gazette.)
A Republican friend dared me to name five reasons to support Hillary Clinton without mentioning Donald Trump. Challenge accepted--times twenty! Here are one hundred reasons from Clinton's background, character, and views that make her worthy of our enthusiastic support.
Clinton grew up in a middle-class family (1) with Republican parents, but she was wise enough to become a Democrat in college (2), supporting anti-war liberal Eugene McCarthy for president in 1968 (3) and remaining a progressive Democrat her whole life (4).
She earned a degree in political science from Wellesley (5), writing her thesis on poverty and community development (6). She was student government president (7) and honored as student commencement speaker (8).
She then studied law at Yale (9), serving on the law review board (10). During law school, she went undercover to investigate racial segregation in Alabama schools (11), part of her career-long commitment to battling racism (12). After graduating, she studied at Yale's Child Study Center (13) where she wrote a groundbreaking report on children's rights published in the Harvard Educational Review (14).
As a young lawyer, she co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (15), directed the Arkansas Legal Aid Clinic (16), chaired the Legal Services Corporation (17), and chaired the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession (18). She was twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the most influential lawyers in America (19).
As First Lady of Arkansas (20), she championed Arkansas's Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth (21), chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee (22), worked with the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (23), and served on the board of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Legal Services (24) and the Children's Defense Fund (25).
As First Lady of the United States (26), she chaired the President's Task Force on Health Care Reform (27) and worked across political divisions to help pass the Children's Health Insurance Program (28), the Adoption and Safe Families Act (29), and the Foster Care Independence Act (30). She famously advocated for women's rights in China (31) and wrote a bestselling book about parenting (32) while parenting her daughter in the White House (33).
During eight years in the Senate (34), she learned the legislative process first-hand (35) while working on numerous committees (36) She advocated for 9-11 first-responders (37), rural broadband (38), veterans' health care (39), public schools (40), and clean energy (41), among many other significant efforts (42).
President Obama chose her for Secretary of State (43), and she aided him in vastly improving America's standing in the world (44). She continued to champion the rights of women (45) and impoverished people (46) around the world. As America's chief diplomat (47), she combined toughness (48) with a philosophy of using military power only as a last resort (49). Her many other accomplishments included being part of the effort to get Osama bin Laden (50) and laying the groundwork for the Iran nuclear deal (51).
Her work with the Clinton Foundation helped millions of people worldwide (52). She and her family didn't get a penny from the foundation (53) and, in fact, donated millions of their own earnings to help others (54). And no foundation donors got special benefits from her while she was Secretary of State (55), despite her detractors' false claims.
In her current campaign, Clinton has held hundreds of town halls (56) focused on listening to (57) and learning from (58) the public. She doesn't demonize anyone's ethnic background (59) or belittle her opponents (60), but she isn't afraid to call out those who purposely appeal to intolerance (61). Fact-checkers consistently rate her one of the most honest candidates (62). Despite countless lies told about her (63), she doesn't lie about her opponents (64).
She frequently says, "America already is great" (65). Basing a campaign on optimism (66) is far better than exploiting negativity and cynicism (67). Clinton's campaign can be summed up by one comment to an undecided voter at a town hall: "Whether you end up supporting me or not, I will support you" (68).
Clinton has specific proposals on many issues that will improve the lives of everyday Americans: minimum wage (69), voting rights (70), unions (71), campaign finance reform (72), Wall Street reform (73), LGBTQ equality (74), religious freedom (75), gun-safety regulation (76), equal pay (77), college affordability (78), universal pre-K (79), taxes (80), jobs (81), diplomacy over war (82), reproductive choice (83), criminal justice reform (84), universal health care (85), Social Security (86), Medicare (87), stem cell research (88), immigration (89), veterans support (90), climate change (91), clean energy (92), and a host of other important issues (93).
This list dumbfounded my Republican friend. Republicans have propagandized Clinton for thirty-plus years because they know they can't beat her in an honest campaign (94).
Some people will read this column and still hate Clinton. But that won't stop her from serving our country (95). She'll handle the attacks with strength (96) grace (97), and without cynicism (98).
The bottom line is that the people who know Hillary Clinton best admire her most (99). The people who criticize her most, by contrast, know almost nothing about her (100).
John Sheirer is an author and teacher who lives in Florence. His most recent book is, "Make Common Sense Common Again." Find him at JohnSheirer.com.
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