In 2008, I became more interested in politics than I ever had in my short fourteen years of life. I was drawn to Obama, I loved the way he spoke, the rhetoric he carefully used, and most of his views. I carefully watched the debates. I criticized McCain as a person and as a politician. Hillary Clinton also seemed to be a nonsensical choice of a candidate to me. I hadn't even paid attention to what she had to offer, to her views, or her rhetoric. In 2012, I was able to vote for the first time in my life, and I voted Obama into a second term of office. Looking back now, I know I made the right choice, President Obama, to me, was qualified for office.
I didn't like Hillary, and I only didn't like her for one reason: her decision to stay with a man who had committed adultery. As a feminist, it is wonderful to see a woman running for president, but I wanted her to fit the image of the perfect feminist I had in mind; the independent feminist who could leave a man and still be able to get ahead in a world of politics.
In April of 2015, Bernie Sanders declared his campaign for the Democratic Presidential Candidate. I did my research. I read up on O'Malley and on Sanders, I ignored Clinton. I have been satisfied with a general amount of decisions and actions President Obama had taken while in office, I wanted someone who I thought had his same stamina. (Thanks, Trump, for the word.) I was enamored by Sanders. His speeches were filled with passion. His re-electibility and and popularity among voters, and his powerful rhetoric-- his unapologetic, yet charming sincerity, and detailed plans of actions, filled with an immense amount of logic, experience, and intelligence was something I had found with Obama's term, but now I knew I had found it in the next qualified candidate. But Sanders didn't last. I voted for him in the primaries, hell, I rooted for him every single time I saw his face anywhere. I spoke to people about him, I pictured myself hugging him! At the DNC, I had that tiny, Nicholas Sparks good-guy-wins notion that he might make it, that he might win. But Sanders didn't last.
I refuse not to vote. I am a dual citizen and I refuse not to exercise my right to vote. I will forever criticize people who choose not to vote. It is your goddamn right to vote, so use it. I will forever criticize, albeit silently, those who choose not to be informed about elections, but I will not let myself fall to that position. I had to research, I had to meditate, I had to allow myself to have a reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, aside from the fact that I am a Democrat, and aside from the fact that she is running against a misognyistic, selfish, maniac dictator who will, I promise, pick a part all the good that this nation (TAKE A LOOK AT STATISTICS) has benefitted from from Obama's term. But I digress, this isn't a post about why I loathe Trump. I have come to terms with the fact that people will be people, and they will look past rhetoric, the single most important part of a candidate's qualifications, in my opinion, and vote for the person they see their undying views in. I'm the same way, so I'll stop shaming.
This is a post about me valuing Ms. Clinton for who she is, not what. I had to research Benghazi, I had to spend hours analyzing it. I had to research Bill Clinton's infidelity fricken forums. I had to research Hillary's ideals, morals, her promises and those promises kept. I even had to read 1,000 of her emails, because I needed to like Hillary, because I have to have faith in who I vote for. I have to have passion. So this is what I have discovered: I have come to respect Hillary Clinton more than I ever have in my entire life. I have went from hate to full on admiring this woman. I do not admire her because she will be the first female president in about damn time. She is not running to become the first female president. That is most definitely an accomplishment, but I would have to, I don't know, just guess that she has a few hundred other things on her list as to why she wants to be president. I do not admire her for not leaving her husband in a lifetime vow of an unfathomable amount of infidelity rumors, albeit some true. But I don't have to admire her for that. I had to get the hell over that because it has nothing to do with her qualifications to be president, and it most certainly has nothing to do with me. As president, Hillary doesn't get to make decisions about infidelity in marriages, so I do not get to make a decision about her own marriage. Nor do I get to pretend I have walked in her shoes (or pantsuits).
I admire her for her rhetoric, for her poised speeches even in the midst of a patriarchal society of an audience. I admire her for her attention to the human condition, her undying feminism that seeks to continue to focus on gender, not because she will be the first female president, but because she believes in unity and equality. Because when she's giving speeches, she isn't speaking about a woman's body in direct analogy with a pigs, she's just talking about a woman's body. Because she isn't talking about how women should have paid leave and leave men to do their jobs they're "better" at, but because both should acquire those rights because both have skills. I admire her for her attitude, her energy, her perseverance. Lastly, I admire her for her progression, and not regression. I admire her patience on stage with someone intent on destroying her character instead of fighting for his party's life. I admire Hillary Clinton, not because I have to, because I want to, because I have convinced myself to, because for her, unlike her opposing candidate's supporters, I researched her past and was ok with it. I could shut my eyes at night knowing I wouldn't mind her at all as president, because she hasn't said one thing to insult my character. I've only said a million towards hers, along with millions of others. Though, there she stands, pantsuit and shoulders back on stage, preserving, every time.
I changed my mind about Hillary Clinton because this is a Democracy, because I will vote, because I need to vote, and because I refuse to let my voice, not only as a woman, but also as a human being, remain silent.
I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. At this point, I couldn't care less if you are okay with Donald Trump's completely untutored rhetoric. Just get out there and research a damn candidate, believe in them, and exercise your right to vote.
I like to write; point blank. This is a little piece of me that I get to share with the rest of the world, and hey, you know, maybe you'll appreciate it, maybe it'll do nothing for you. But my writing exists, and that's enough for me.
© 2019 Silvia Iorio. All rights reserved.