First off, in full disclosure, I’ve been a Hillary Clinton supporter since this race began. I admire her perseverance. Her practical perspective speaks to my own pragmatic politics. Her genuine belief that government can be an agent of change for the better. Her willingness to listen and adapt are important qualities in a leader — her history of taking the time to learn the system and then find ways to effect change from within is how long term change happens.
For me, it was an easy choice. And I was happy to jump on the #imwithher campaign early on.
This year, I have a renewed energy when it comes to the presidential race, something I quite frankly haven’t had in a long time. Unlike most voters, I usually disengage in presidential years. I pick a candidate and then I support him (or her!) as we in New Jersey often do — from afar, because we are a blue state with a late primary.
But this year, something amazing happened: my girls took notice of the race. In my house, politics is the preferred topic at dinner, in the car, and pretty much everywhere. But we talk about it on a personal level – what mommy ‘s job is, what that meeting we went to was about and we strive to make politicians people. They aren’t caricatures of evil fat-cats and enviro-crusaders. They are people who disagree about how to make this country a better place and work to compromise.
With that context, I was surprised when my oldest started talking back to the TV, “No Donald Trump, you won’t be president, Hillary Clinton will” and when my youngest started jumping up and down in excitement whenever ”Lillary” came on the TV.
When my five-year-old picked up a campaign sign that was lying on the ground and started chanting “Hillary for president,” I was proud and amused. And so I’m all in. We make Hillary cookies (while I laugh at the irony) and, while I pester friends and family for support, I try to tamp down expectations when Abigail asks when Hillary is coming over to our house.
I do all of this not just because I believe that she is the most qualified, most experienced person to run for the presidency in my lifetime but because I love the spark she has ignited in my 2-and 5-year-old daughters. Their excitement is pure joy. They aren’t just excited that a woman could be president, they expect it. They are also subjected to enough news programming to have similarly emotional reaction to one other candidate. In their eyes, Donald Trump is a mean bully who does not deserve the presidency. In the simplest of terms: “Donald trump is mean and Hillary Clinton wants to help people.”
If a five-year-old can see it, then how can so many adults miss it? For this election, I’m investing in my children. I’m going to work hard to build a country that raises people up, that doesn’t build walls to lock us out, that embraces diversity instead being scared of change. I want a future where my daughters see their potential as limitless — not just because I tell them it’s so but because they see it.