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June 06, 2016

Op-Ed: Why I’m With Her

LOS ANGELES—Unless you’ve living under a rock, you should know the California primary election takes place Tuesday, June 7. In fact, my colleague Mark Kernes posted an op-ed on Friday about the election and why he’s voting for Bernie Sanders. As for me, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. While, for me, it’s not a case of voting against Bernie as much as it is voting for Hillary, I have been accused of supporting Hillary because she has a vagina. Actually, one of the many reasons I am voting for Hillary is because I have a vagina, and it’s important to me. But more about that later. I’ve also been told I don’t support Bernie because I just don’t know him, and his fans claim he hasn’t received much media attention. In Bernie’s defense, that might be to his advantage. While I don’t agree the media has ignored him, I do believe the GOP has. Yes, I have seen the polls that show Bernie polls better against Trump than Hillary does (never mind that most of those polls still show Hillary beating Trump, too), but the GOP has yet to launch any real attack against Sanders. Republicans have done their best to bury Hillary Clinton—Whitewater, Vince Foster, her email server, Benghazi—for more than 30 years, and she is still here. Maybe the GOP doesn’t see Bernie as a credible threat; or maybe they are hoping the longer he stays in the race the more he will help their cause to weaken Hilllary; or maybe they are hoping he does indeed get the Democratic nomination so they can really unleash on him. Have you heard about Bernie’s 1985 trip to Nicaragua where he was in a crowd that chanted “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die”? Have you read the 1985 Los Angeles Times interview piece on Sanders where he said, “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation”? Have you seen the 1985 video where Bernie praises Fidel Castro? If he gets the nomination, you can bet you will see this and plenty more. (Do I personally think Bernie is the same person he was in 1985? No, but that won’t matter to the GOP, nor will it matter to millions of voters.) To be fair, these are not the main reasons why I am not voting for Bernie and instead supporting Hillary. I have a hard time voting for someone who only joined the Democratic Party a little more than a year ago—and although he has caucused and generally voted with them since taking office, he has said Democrats make him sick—and has done nothing but complain (and sue, which he later withdrew) about the party’s primary election rules and cries foul or claims fraud every chance he gets. My biggest complaints with Bernie lie in the fact he seems to have no real plan to implement his campaign promise of free college tuition (he’s “too busy running for president” to figure it out) or overcome extreme partisanship of the establishment he loves to rail against. For me, his biggest fault is that he’s said he has no interest in continuing the progress made under President Obama. There are more reasons why I am not voting for Bernie, but enough about that. Let’s talk about Hillary, and why I do support her and will vote for her in the primary and the general election. She fought hard for the Clinton healthcare plan, which yes, did fail (thanks to Republican obstruction … where have I heard that before …) but there’s no denying it laid the groundwork for today’s Affordable Care Act. She spearheaded investigations into what we now refer to as Gulf War Syndrome. She helped create the office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice. She played a major part in the investigations into the health issues faced by first responders of 9/11 and drafted the first bill to compensate and offer health services to those same people. (The bill was passed by her successor in the Senate.) Clinton played a major part in the bipartisan compromise to address civil liberty abuses in the renewal of the U.S. Patriot Act. Hillary has actively called out climate change deniers and has a stellar reputation in that area. And as for my vagina? Hillary has done more for women’s rights worldwide than anyone who even entertained the idea of running for president this year combined. Have you heard the phrase “women’s rights are human rights”? She coined that phrase. Is she perfect? Do I look at Hillary with rose-colored glasses? That would be a big "no" on both accounts. (Yes she voted for the war in Iraq, but she later admitted, on multiple occasions, she was wrong; she was against gay marriage for many years, but she has since changed her mind, much as most of the country has.) But do I think she is progressive? Yes. As progressive as Bernie? Yup. (In the two years they were both in the senate, they voted together 93 percent of the time and they are pretty close on many major issues.) Do I hate that we are essentially a two-party system here in the United States? Sometimes, yes. Would I love to see sweeping changes in our government, especially changes that would mean unquestioned funding for Planned Parenthood, an increased minimum wage, and elimination of the gender wage gap and the elimination of institutional racism? Hell yes. Do I think Hillary can bring those changes about in four years? No. But neither can Bernie. But I also believe that, for better or for worse, change will come, and I believe Hillary has much more experience from her time as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State to know how to make a difference with a GOP filled with right-wing troglodytes working against her. And I believe that she will carry on the progress that has been made under President Obama. For me, the bottom line is yes, I would love to have a revolution. But how exactly is voting for a 74-year-old white man revolutionary?

 
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