By Patricia Brown
If I told you that one woman and 18 men were running for President of the United States, would you vote for her?
If I told you that the most qualified candidate for president of the United State was the lone woman running, would you vote for her?
If I told you that she was a member of a faith denomination that for more than 200 years has promoted progressive ideas like fighting against social injustice, would you vote for her?
If I told you that she shares the same communications director and an adviser on banking as Elizabeth Warren, would you vote for her?
If I told you that she champions progressive ideals such as women’s productive rights, affordable healthcare— including mental health and substance abuse diversion programs—unions, pay equality, human rights, universal preschool, LBGTQ rights, immigration reform and—unlike her male competitors—sensible gun control, would you vote for her?
If I told you that she got 18 million votes in a presidential election— breaking a glass ceiling—more than any other woman in the history of the United States and more than any of the current 18 male candidates, would you vote for her?
If I told you that you were a woman, or had a woman for a mother, or had a woman for a daughter or had a woman for a wife or had a woman for a partner, would you vote for her?
If I told you that you identify as a progressive would you vote for the best qualified candidate for President even if she just happened to be a woman?
What I am getting at is that the most progressive act a progressive can do in the 2016 election is to vote for Hillary Clinton.
I love what Elizabeth Warren says about how the government should not be making billions off the interest on student loans. I love what Bernie Sanders says about getting big money out of politics. But, Elizabeth is not running, and Bernie can’t win. And, because he is from Vermont, Bernie can’t fight for sensible gun control, but Hillary is. What is more progressive than to take on the NRA?
I do not have to recount as one commentator put it, the “clown car” of candidates on the GOP side. If this is a clarion call, I ask that all of us progressives spend our precious time together working to get Hillary Clinton elected.
Yes, I said “we” progressives because I think that Hillary is the most misunderstood candidate. I believe that if progressives knew about what the United Methodist church stands for they would recognize one of themselves. The Methodist church was started by John Wesley and his brother, Charles, who wrote many hymns, including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing!” They came to America to establish a church, and went back to England defeated. But their church flourished in America.
From the start, the church’s foundation was service and outreach to the poor, the infirmed and the disenfranchised not because the promise of salvation of an afterlife dictated it, but because God’s grace is upon all of us. This, I believe, is the fundamental gestalt of progressives. That we do unto others as we would do unto ourselves and that the less of us are just as human, just as worthy of our care and concern as anyone else. We are all equal under the eyes of God. Fighting social injustice and an ecumenical view of the world is inherent in the DNA of any United Methodist.
This is also who Hillary Clinton is. She grew up in the United Methodist Church, and it was her church leader who took her to see Martin Luther King, Jr., at a pivotal time in her life. She has never abandoned her faith. During Bill’s impeachment, she continued to attend weekly bipartisan prayer groups in Congress and as Secretary of State, she reputedly carried The Book of Discipline, the seminal book of the UMC, with her at all times.
Hers is not a politically expedient faith.
If I have not convinced you because of facts, emotion, gender politics, political expediency or faith that you should work hard to elect Hillary in 2016, then I have to turn to the science, the psychology of voting and, specifically, why progressives vote: because of the proximity of like-minded social groups whether issue or candidate based. Activists like readers of the Community Alliance are homogeneous and have already made up their minds. One study found 64 of 600 voters ever changed their minds.
If 45% of the American electorate—more than Democrats or Republicans—are independents who lean toward the Democratic platform, then they need our convincing. If you are one of the progressives whose identity is not yet set in stone, and are willing to take another look at the qualifications of a great candidate, then we welcome you.
Locally, we have a Hillary for America Fresno Core Team that has been going strong since 2013. It includes Billie MacDougall, Dottie Smith, Gail Gaston, Laura Mares, Ray Ensher and myself. We hosted two grassroots house parties for Hillary, had booths at the 25th Gay Pride Festival and the Clovis Farmer’s Market and a Hillary for America Kickoff of volunteers. To join Hillary for America Fresno, contact Pat Brown at 559-252-9551.
Are we not seeing all women and the historic significance of her presidency in ourselves? Those of us women who have ever been discriminated against know the sting of not being good enough, thin enough, rich enough, pretty enough, smart enough, feminine enough or “progressive” enough, and see Hillary and know what it is to be picked apart. We know that our voices have been drowned, diminished and made invisible. We earn less but vote more. And, we marvel at her courage and tenacity. To keep on running, to champion the fight for the underdog. And, hopefully, to win.
Patricia Brown is with Hillary for America Fresno. Contact her at 559-252-9551.