In seven days time, America will be waking up to a new president, either the most qualified president, or the most disastrous.
With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump running for president, both candidates are making US election history as the most hated candidates to ever run. But when you put Clinton up against Trump or any other candidate, to me it seems like no contest.
Clinton is the obvious choice.
Yet America, and even some of my own friends in the UK are under the impression that Clinton is as bad, maybe even worse than a man who continuously discriminates against people of colour, women, and the disabled, and is under investigation for tax fraud, and even child rape. But I’m not here to talk about Trump, that man doesn’t need any more attention than he’s already had.
Now, I have to be honest, when I first went to America last September, it seemed so stupid to me that anyone would even consider voting for another candidate. But as the primaries began and I learned more about the democratic candidates, I became an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders.
Not that I was then against Clinton either. It’s just that Sanders’ policies, beliefs and ideas are very similar to what we already have here in the UK; universal healthcare, cheap/free higher education, minimum wage.
Yet when those around me, who had too been a supporter of Clinton upon our arrival to the US, also began supporting Bernie, their attitudes towards Hillary started reflecting that all to familiar Republican rhetoric.
This bothers me.
For over thirty years, Hillary Rodham Clinton has received constant backlash from not only republicans but also the media, who still today continue to paint her as a shrill, cold, robotic, untrustworthy woman unfit to hold any position she has done over her impressive career.
And it is the media in particular who have created this defamatory image of the most qualified candidate to even run for president.
“A special place in hell”
During the primaries when Sanders’ momentum was at its peak, many women including myself, were having their feminism questioned for not supporting Hillary. When Madeleine Albright damned non-Hillary voting females, in my opinion it was the worse thing that could have happened for Clinton and her push for female votes.
It highlighted what a stark gap there is between second and third wave, and even fourth wave feminists. What it means for a woman to have her own vote, not that of her husbands or her fathers opinion, but her own, is that she decides who she is voting for.
To assume that a woman would vote for another woman based purely on that candidates gender, is frankly insulting to female voters. What it assumes is that women will vote for a fellow female regardless of policy, speeches, or experience, or in other words, that these aren’t things we even think about.
What Albright, and in effect Gloria Steinem and Clinton, implied when telling us we would be going to hell for not supporting Hillary, was that we would actually be going to hell for making our own choice, the very thing they, and women before them, had fought for us to have.
When the issue arose in my Women in Politics class, the same rhetoric began to creep in from some of the other students, from both Republican and Democratic students. It was no secret that our teacher was an avid Hillary supporter, but when other students began listing their media fuelled excuses for not voting for her, I had no choice but to speak out.
You see, all though I became a supporter of Bernie, it was in no way, shape, or form because of Hillary as a candidate. As I said earlier, I purely leaned more towards his policies, with them being so similar to what I already live with in the UK.
Hillary, the hero America deserves, but not the one it needs
But what I explained to my professor and my classmates was that if I could vote in the primaries my vote wouldn’t go to Hillary, not because of her emails, her trustworthiness, or her voice, but because she has been so hated for decades by Republicans that as soon as she took her seat in the Oval Office, she would have every door slammed in her face by Republicans every time she would attempt to put her policies in to action.
Not only would she not be able to fulfil her promises she campaigned on during the election, but it was most likely that in the future when the next female candidate runs for president, Republicans, and likely Democrats alike, would say “no little ladies, you had your chance with Hillary, we’re not making that mistake again.
Republicans and the media would sabotage her presidency to a point where no other woman would stand a chance in future elections, and America would have to suffer through another 44 men before making another crack in Washington’s glass ceiling.
At the time I was of the opinion that, although Hillary was as qualified as any other candidate, was as presidential as any other candidate, and as worthy of any other candidate, her presidency could have negative ramifications for the future women she has inspired during her campaign.
However, when the primaries were over and Clinton became the Democratic nominee, I was right back with her.
Yes Bernie will always hold a special place in my heart, but Hillary has what it takes to beat Trump, and to be a great president. Yet, she is still having her qualifications and ability questioned.
While she’s not the first woman to run for president, she would be the first female president, and the most qualified.
Not only has she lived in the White House and have personal experience of how a presidency works, but during her professional life she not only excelled in her “pipeline” profession, but continued to excel in her political career after her time as first lady.
Yet with lawyer, Senator, and Secretary of State on her CV, she is still considered by many as unqualified to be president, while man with no political history, multiple bankruptcies, and a reality television show is somehow qualified.
Even as first lady, Clinton played a major part in the political side of the White House, going against the norm of the traditional first lady, a stark contrast to America’s grandma, Barbara Bush.
Clinton went through many makeovers, behaviour changes, and even a name change in order to appeal to the American public, and has become a byproduct of everything she was expected to be back then, using those changes in her campaign today.
Now a grandmother to two grandchildren, Hillary’s too grandmotherly. Considered too emotional and loud, she’s now too robotic. She did’t dress feminine enough, she now is too well dressed. She. Can’t. Win.
No matter what Clinton does, it is never enough.
Republicans and the media have demonised her to an extent where it is now an American past-time to hate Hillary Clinton. Many voters don’t even know why they hate her, they just know they should.
And yes, previously I believed Republicans sabotaging her presidency could be damaging for the future political careers o women, but she’s had backlash and sabotage for 30 years from Republicans and the media and has never let it affect her ability to do her job, and she sure as hell won’t let it affect her as president.
But honestly, if you truly feel Hillary is as terrible or worse that Trump, ask yourself why.
Can you really say that everything she has done in her career including her mistakes (and she’s made mistakes just as every politician and political candidate has done), is really as bad as you think they are, or is it just bad because she has done them.
Honestly, if you were to take her CV and write a man’s name at the top, would you still hate him as much as you hate her?
Would his voice be shrill?
Would his suits be dissected and analysed on 24hr news cycles?
Would his wife’s extramarital affairs 20 years ago affect his current campaign?
Would his health be newsworthy?
Would his love for his grandchildren be questioned?
Would his grandchildren even be discussed?
And regardless of whether Clinton is running against Trump or any other Republican candidate, no matter what, she is and always will be the most qualified person in the room.