Hillary & Me: Kindred Spirits

Hillary 3Hillary and I both grew up Republican.

Our first Presidential preferences were right-wing Republicans.

But we both became Democrats as we grew attuned to social justice.

My story

My transition was sparked by reading the newspaper — yes, I was an uninformed voter with my first vote, just following the “home team” that my family rooted for. A little like cheering on the Giants.

But as I was saying, I began reading the newspaper and started to see that Republicans consistently comforted the comfortable and afflicted the afflicted.

I also had a Democratic Socialist high school teacher (a la Bernie Sanders) — who was countered by a right-wing economist, so I heard both sides. I argued with that teacher. But eventually I saw that we have an uneven playing field:

Children who were poor through no fault of their own sometimes had parents with two jobs who were too tired or too busy to help with homework. Or they weren’t educated, themselves, and couldn’t help their kids. The children were often hungry and lacked medical care — making it hard to focus in school. Feed kids and get them to the doctor and they are much more likely to graduate and get good jobs. And they’re much less likely to become teen moms or resort to crime.

And so my outlook changed. I wanted to level the playing field. I started voting Democratic and became active in my community.

Hillary’s story

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary’s Methodist minister took her youth group to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, and his speech opened a whole new way of seeing for her. By college she had joined the civil rights movement. And then the antiwar movement. And then the women’s movement.

As an adult she worked hard for children and families. She worked to develop programs targeting:

  • Child abuse
  • Support for poor kids
  • Public education for children with disabilities
  • Equal education for kids of all races

As First Lady she worked to develop programs and ideas like these:

  • Universal healthcare
  • Women’s rights are human rights

For more info on all of this, see her husband’s speech here.

Hillary: my kindred spirit

I see Hillary as a kindred spirit. We both found ourselves on journeys that inspired us to work to make other’s lives better.

But privileged people feel threatened by those who seek to increase equality. Some of these folks throw all sorts of nasty insults and charges your way.

Repeat often enough, and people start to believe them. Even when they are almost universally false.

Plus, women in power are scary!

Whenever Hillary seeks a powerful office her popularity plummets. And then grows favorable once she’s actually in office.

Between promoting equality and just being women, we have both been attacked. A lot. But Hillary way more than me since she’s so high-profile. Plus, I have a “spam” button on my blog and a class participation grade that keeps students who disagree maintaining basic courtesy.

A revolution to put the people and elites on an even playing field

Many of us are fighting a revolution to empower ordinary Americans, instead of privileging elites.

Stronger together!

Stronger together!

Hillary and Bernie both have a history of doing just that.

Hillary will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will help to remove the corrupting influence of money in politics — as all recent Democratic appointees have done.

Hillary will continue to work for women’s rights and civil rights.

Hillary will help middle-class Americans, as Democrats have through the years, by promoting the minimum wage, the earned income tax credit, equal pay for equal work, the right of workers to negotiate wages, and universal healthcare — among other things.

Some are cynical about Democrats

I personally meet with members of Congress, urging support for legislation including all of the above. The Democrats are always with us. The Republicans almost always block us.

If you want a revolution you must do something about Congress.

Some are cynical about Hillary

Hillary Clinton has been attacked relentlessly by forces that want to sustain privilege for the privileged. Since people are prone to believe the worst about politicians, the attacks tend to work. Even though they have nearly universally been proven false.

But looking at Hillary, I see myself in her.

Hillary Clinton Gets Powerful Endorsement from Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 29, 2016, in politics/class inequality, race/ethnicity, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I’d just like to dove-tail on some of the important ideas brought up in this post, mainly about a woman in power being criticized fro seeking a high-profile leadership position. I recently read the book, “Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud,” which focused on a different woman every chapter for an attribute that drove them into massive critique. Hillary was labeled as “too shrill.” As mentioned above, the higher she reached for her goals, the more she was seen as pestering, cold, and selfish for seeking any sort of success outside of being the First Lady. A lot of times I think critics either forget or wanted to turn a blind eye to what Hillary really stands for. Hillary in power does not mean a woman with a shrill voice with too much control – it means we have a voice for those that often go unheard, a voice for the middle class, the women of color, and the hard workers that maintain the economy (we just want to do it t a liveable wage). I am not surprised that those so far right-winged are willing to makes comments about Hillary’s style, choice of hyphenated name, or the tone of her voice when speaking to her supporters. Yet, I am not surprised. Fear appears in odd, buried ways. Fear of change and fear of the loss of one’s power can bring out the petty in anyone.

  2. I really appreciate the story that the author told about how she found her own political opinion in her own way instead of continuing the “family roots”. And how she compared her story to Hillary’s, one can tell that she genuinely supports Hillary fully. Both Hillary and the author just wanted the children that grew up poor and with less opportunity to have a better chance at becoming something greater. According to the author, Hillary had a specific focus on helping under-served kids in poor communities. She advocated for less child abuse and more support for poor kids. As a Libertarian, I respect the values that both the author and Hillary embraces, they both want to empower ordinary Americans and help them to get a leg up so that they can live a comfortable life. It’s interesting that they both grew up republican and eventually chose to be Democrats as their political party.

  3. Her high profile and presidential campaign aside, her experience as a woman and her story growing up is so inspiring and courageous. When she was featured in “Humans of New York” a lot of the comments said that if they read her story before looking that it was a picture of her, they never would have guessed it was Hillary, because her experience was all too common for women all over the world. I think a lot of people, like yourself, share so many commonalities from being a woman and speaking up and fighting for justice and equality. I’ve always seen Hillary as a woman who just wanted to, pardon my french, get s**t done. She was ready and willing to lead this country, and I believe she still has a strong influence today. I know plenty of friends and family who have always been cynical towards Hillary, and at times I found myself feeling the same way. But now I always remember what she meant to women all over the nation and the message she spread following the election to young girls – recognizing their power and how deserving they are of all the chances and opportunities in the world to go achieve their dreams.

  4. I may have to look this up again but I thought Hillary was a Democrat by the time she first casted a vote in a presidential election. I think it was around her senior year in college..

    • I know that she was a volunteer with Barry Goldwater’s campaign. It would be interesting if she switched over to Democrat before casting that vote. Or maybe she campaigned for him before she turned 18? I think she became a Democrat in college. If you information that says she first food for Democrat, let me know. At the least she was a “Goldwater girl” at some point.

    • Thanks for writing in. I just did some research and she was 17 in 1964 when Goldwater ran for president — she supported him but couldn’t vote. So I reworded slightly.

  5. The meaning of my comment was: “always better than Trump”!

  6. She is such an inspiring woman… Like Michelle Obama, maybe…. I enjoyed learning about her and her life–. It is interesting that many times we could be born and hence grew up among a more conservative environment in order to to turn to the left, so to speak… I am thinking of my parents, in particular, who were radicales – a sort of center ideology and then became leftish peronistas.. my mom in particular is absolutely frustrated with our new president Macri, who is a neoliberal of the right wing… My brothers who both have a degree in political sciences, used to worked for a Senator of the previous administration … so you can imagine the dissapointment… Anyway, this is their story… I am less political than they are… And at times do´t even trust my political eye… I used to like a fairly progressive candidate, but at the end, he voted in favor of paying vulture funds… I don´t know… all this reminds me of the series House of Cards, somehow… Buying influences seems to be something so usual and most times reality overcomes fiction… sigh…
    Back to the post… I hope with all my heart that she became president..
    Sending best wishes. Aquileana 🙂

  7. You’ve written the post very honestly, Georgia, what you believe and what you feel.

    • Thank you. Just trying to put a different perspective out there — how I and many others experience and understand her. But a view that doesn’t get out much.

  8. “Some are cynical about Democrats”

    Yes, and Establishment Republicans too!

    “Some are cynical about Hillary”

    Of course!!

    She attacks Wall Street but has taken in over $50 mill from hedge funds.

    She is for “working Americans” but supports expanding the H1B Visa and other outsourcing programs.

    The only truly authentic candidate in the race was Bernie Sanders. While I cannot support anything he believes (well maybe one or two things), like Ted Cruz, he should have told his people to “vote their conscience” too.

    Donald Trump is not the enemy of the middle class and a threat to this Republic. It is the Establishment of each political party and the privileged interest they represent. At least I can say our party shunned the Establishment. We have been fighting internally against it for decades. But, with the Democrat Party….it’s the same old same old. More of the same.

    With Hillary Clinton, the middle class is going to get more of the same which NOTHING!!!!

    • There’s nothing wrong with investing in Wall Street.

      Regarding H1B Visa and other outsourcing programs, I have two thoughts: 1) because other countries put much more emphasis on math education, you sometimes need that H1B visa. 2) sometimes you have to outsource because you become uncompetitive globally. Where that’s the case you need to do something to create jobs to make up for outsourced jobs. Since almost all of the gains have gone to the top 1% — which ends up hurting them because people have no money in their pockets to create sales and profits — I believe we need to tax the insane gains and use that money to pay workers to do things that need to be done in America: education, infrastructure, health care, childcare, environmentally friendly landscape, bolster the arts … Things that are good for us all.

      Donald Trump hired people to listen to right-wing radio. He repeats what they say, which makes the working class feel like they’re understood. But if you look at the few policies he has offered, they help the rich, not the middle class.

      In fact, he lies a lot. He tells people he will pay them and then he does not. He trumps up Trump University, but it’s all a scam. His own “Trump” manufacturing goes to China and Mexico even as he complains about China/Mexicans. And why is he afraid to release his tax returns?

      In so many cases he redistributes wealth from middle class and poor Americans to himself.

      If he ran America the way he runs his businesses he would bankrupt the United States and stiff the middle class.

      And otherwise, he is just scary when it comes to international politics. He’ll have us in World War III

  9. Yes, I am also interested – even in Australia we keep an eye on your ridiculously long election campaigns. Trump is a joke, but Hilary is not turning out to be an automatic choice either. Is it because she’s a woman (maybe, but not entirely). Is it because she is so establishment with a lot of political baggage? Is it because people don’t warm to her? I have no answers, but I enjoyed reading about it from your perspective, so thank you for that!

    • You’re welcome!

      Her current unpopularity seems mostly due to these 2 things I wrote about — and I’ll be writing more on at least one of these:

      Privileged people feel threatened by those who seek to increase equality. Some of these folks throw all sorts of nasty insults and charges your way. She’s been attacked on — and found innocent of — a variety of things:

      Hillary has been pilloried with false charges for a quarter of a century. Nothing much has turned out to be true. But the false charges are heard so often that most people now believe she is corrupt.

      “Whitewater” was revealed to be nothing but a bad business deal.

      Republicans accused the Clintons of murdering their friend, Vince Foster. Five different investigations — and a huge waste of taxpayer money — found no truth to the matter.

      Republicans accused Hillary of culpability in Benghazi. Several investigations — and more millions of taxpayer dollars later: Nope.
      Hillary Clinton gave highly paid speeches to Wall Street, so she is corrupt. Actually, she was on a speaker circuit that pays hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech — for all audiences. Her paycheck is similar to other celebrities.

      Private email server? Most State Department staff use private email because the government server is not efficient. Made sense to Colin Powell. FBI director James Comey found no evidence that Mrs. Clinton did anything nefarious, so she was not charged. And, the State Department’s server was successfully hacked. There’s no evidence that hers was.

      Repeat often enough, and people start to believe them. Even when they are almost universally false.

      Plus, women in power are scary! Whenever Hillary seeks a powerful office her popularity plummets. And then grows favorable once she’s actually in office.

      • Thank you Georgia, I have more of an understanding of Hilary’s problems now. Why are people allowed to accuse other people falsely? Isn’t that libel?

      • Libel laws are different here.

        Public officials are rarely if ever subject to them.

        And partisan Congress members can simply decide to have a congressional investigation.

        Or, sometimes the attorney general agrees to investigations because he or she doesn’t want to appear political — trying to avoid looking like taking sides, Even when there is no merit to the case..

      • Hmmm. Some people complain the political and libel laws are too strong in my country, but I don’t really like what loose looks like.

      • “Nothing much has turned out to be true.”

        OMG!!! How can you say such a thing?

        Hillary said she got permission for the private email servers….The Inspector General said she did not.

        Hillary said she NEVER sent any emails deemed classified at the time….The FBI Director said that was false.

        Hillary said she turned over all emails to FBI……The FBI Director said that was false. There are fact still missing thousands of emails.

        The decision not to pursue charges against her was a political one. But, you assert she is not elitist and privileged. Look at the number of people (including service members) whose security clearances have been revoked over much less. But, she got a free pass.

        Sounds like one set of rules for one group of people and another set for others. I call that privilege.

        These just facts. Not a witch hunt. Not “false charges.” Just facts.

      • The decision against charges was not political. The FBI director is nonpartisan and trusted on both sides of the aisle — until he made this nonpartisan decision. And then suddenly the partisan GOP didn’t trust him for his nonpartisan decision.

        None of the things you mentioned above merit charges. Because they did no harm. She had no intent to harm the United States. She did not harm the United States. The State Departments computers were hacked but there is no evidence that hers were.

    • Sara,

      “Is it because she is so establishment with a lot of political baggage?”

      Ditto!!! You get it!

      As much as the good Professor wants to say Hillary is not an elitist, nothing could be further from the truth. Which is precisely why Trump, even as bumbling as he has been, is tied with her. Mr. Trump will win in November.

      America is about to make a huge swing politically. While the Republicans got a candidate that was not the establishment choice, the Democrat Party chose Hillary Clinton, a quintessential establishment player. But, America is having none of it come this November.

      The establishment elite has failed ordinary Americans. This election is Mr. Trump’s to lose. Mr. Trump will not make America great. Hillary Clinton is just another President Obama. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for more of the same. But, Americans have signaled that they do not want more of the same.

      • I don’t entirely disagree with Huggy.

        The problem is money in politics. Which I am working to fight.

        The Republican-appointed members of our Supreme Court have voted to strengthen the power of big money in politics. Once you have that system you can’t unilaterally disarm or the other side wins because too many Americans get their political information from clinical advertisements. They’re watching a TV show they like and a political ad comes on.

        If you unilaterally disarm you lose. Bernie Sanders was an exceptional case because he did well in the primary, and the most politically interested voters vote in primaries. Meanwhile Donald Trump got a lot of free media. And because he is the only one voicing the concerns of right-wing conservatives — we’re hurting and we blame outsiders (Mexicans, China) for our problems — there’s no way he was going to lose any of those people regardless of what he said.

        But a lot of people don’t understand that the problem is the money,

  10. Pankaj Agarwal

    Georgia, great post!

  11. My first presidential vote was for George McGovern. Then I went home, all optimistic, to watch the returns on TV and saw Richard Nixon sweep almost every state. After that kind of start, it’s a little surprising that I kept voting, at least every Presidential year.

    • Someone was just telling me that he did the same thing. He was a young idealist voting far left and one of his political science professors told him there was no way he would win because he was too far left. Guy didn’t believe him because all of his friends were so excited about McGovern. Until after the election. 😦

  12. powerful words – very interesting (I’m in England) and enlightening

    • Thank you! Wrote from the heart.

      One of my cousins emailed me to tell me this: “I could have written your latest post – figuratively speaking of course.” And she shared a similar experience. So I guess Hillary and I are not alone.

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