Much to the dismay of all around me, I have to confirm that I am, indeed, a supporter of Hillary Clinton -- which, I'm aware, makes me about the least popular young person in the room at any given time. Indeed, some have questioned if I'm even a true Millennial at all. Where's your birth certificate? they ask. Your mother wasn't even born a Millennial, they prod. Why did the term 'Millennial' suddenly become hip and cool? they question. I ponder silently at these very same questions.
They question me.
They berate me.
They wonder how long I've been brainwashed.
WHY THE H AREN'T YOU FEELING THE BERN?!
Heck, when I first told my girlfriend of my intention to vote for Hillary, she responded with the reassuring
It's peculiar, the reality that most of these people who grill me for my choice are my fellow liberals. My Republican friends and family don't really care why I choose whom I choose -- they just know it's a garbage choice regardless. In fact, not a single Republican has questioned my intentions. They disagree, and that happens to be the end of that.
But Bernard fans?
They want answers (well, some do -- most just want to tear into my candidate without mercy). They want blood. They want a mental health screening for me. Regardless of what they want, they'll never be satisfied with what I give them; it's a losing battle.
And here's the unfortunate truth: I don't have a single major problem with Bernie. If by some weird stroke of a god who's completely abandoned Hillary, Bernie gets the nomination, I'll gladly campaign and vote for him. There are just several points preventing me from giving him my vote over Hillary -- the specifics of which are for another post.
I'm a tender young'n of 23 modest years upon this floating rock. I started reading about politics in sixth grade during the 2004 presidential election, and I soon became obsessed with the history, the present, and the future of all aspects -- but specifically, the presidency. I love(d) reading about these giants, their platforms, their speeches, their triumphs, their defeats. Their parties.
And without any interference from my fairly politically diverse family, I decided I was extremely liberal. As a 16-year-old, I shunned my mother for voting for John McCain, despite my daily factoids and unsolicited monologues -- the bulk of which was the audio equivalent of rubbing oil all over Obama's chiseled pecs.
Needless to say, in high school I was known as pretty devout liberal. People would ask me questions, tag me in posts wherein they'd need someone to argue a point, and have me help them write silly papers and prepare debates. Suffice to say that people (specifically, liberals) knew me as a guy who knew about politics. I loved the stuff, so I took a fair amount of pride in knowing things adequately for my purposes. In short, I was a super douchebag when it came to politics. But people generally trusted my views as having been informed.
Fast-forward to 2015. For my part, my interest in politics has skyrocketed, but I don't often argue with people over Facebook as much as I used to (my boo hates it). While I enter year 12 of following politics, I'm noticing a lot more of my contemporaries giving their views on politics. Which is great, I reason, because we need less ignorance and more engagement! And then I look a hair closer and realize that every post is a steamy dump upon the face of Hillary Clinton.
I've not seen a single 'Millennial' (Christ, I hate that word) show support for Hillary. Each one is a die-hard Bernie fan, despite never having shown an interest in politics prior. Which, again, sounds beautiful in theory, because I'm a firm believer in the idea that young people should become fans of politics.
But these individuals aren't interested in politics -- they're interested in Bernie Sanders. And they'll rip apart anyone who stands in his way, regardless of which facts seem to stand in their path. Thus, I see dozens of memes and posts and links that I expect to see from my Republican friends. I'm seeing the same anti-Hillary talking points one sees on Fox News. And yet, these are coming from people who are presumably liberal.
Doubly frustrating is the fact that most of their criticisms and links are quickly refuted with a quick Google search, which is something I'd expect foremost out of my generation. It's a sad day when liberals are sharing Young Conservative memes, without any research having been done. Here are some of my favorite points (see if you can recognize any of these fun un-truths!):
Hillary is a neocon masquerading as a liberal.
This is one that has persisted for a few years; a lot of people have Hillary pinned as not a moderate, not even a centrist -- but as a conservative. Now, when vetting a public officeholder, it is most effective for your point that you cite his/her legislative history. After all, the primary responsibility of a politician is to, well, politic. And fortunately for us, each vote on a piece of legislature given during a politician's tenure is publicly available. For an easy reference to every candidate's positions historically, as well as an organized chart in how they've evolved on issues, I'd recommend the non-party-affiliated site On the Issues. It's very clear, very simple. And according to her legislative history, Hillary is identified as a Hard-Core Liberal. Does she swing conservative on issues such as trade? Sure. But that's not at all impacting of her overall standing. In fact, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whose name has been on the lips of many liberals these days as a potential great progressive candidate for the presidency, the Supreme Court, etc., is actually just as liberal as Clinton. Moreover, Hillary's legislative history is only slightly more moderate than Bernie's. And, it's worth noting, she's technically more liberal than President Obama.
Hillary is a liar and flop-flopper who will say anything to get elected.
From this particular point comes the fan-favorite nickname "Shillary" -- the idea that Hillary is beholden to interest groups. Again, the facts just don't support the idea; there's never been a shred of evidence that she's changed a vote strictly because of money or an interest group. One of the core bricks of this argument tends to lie in her reversal of stance on gay marriage. But if one turns back the clock to 2008, when 51% of Americans, and 42% of Democrats were opposed to same-sex marriage, and then takes a look at the current state of things, it becomes clear that a lot of Americans have evolved on the issue. In 2008, Obama was opposed to same-sex marriage, but no one would argue that he's been by far the most pro-gay president in our nation's history. He changed stances, Joe Biden changed stances, a lot of people changed stances. A debate ad nauseam could be had on the presumed reasoning behind these decisions, but I would personally assert that all I care about is a person's current voting record. And like the Democratic party in general, Hillary decided -- for whatever reason -- to be on the right side of history. And as long as her current and henceforth stances on the issue are progressive, I couldn't care less what she thought eight years ago. Or what most Americans thought eight years ago.
Hillary is a bitch.
Ol' girl Clinton has been paired with this epithet for decades now. Just today, a coworked shared a story about someone she knows who was under Hillary for many years in the 90s, and who basically confirmed that Hillary is a "bitch". Let me make this abundantly clear: I couldn't care less about how she acts in private. I don't know what it's like to have your life lived under a microscope, and to be a nonstop victim of public scrutiny for every minor action you make. And if I'm being honest, I wish Obama had been more of a "dick" -- he tried for too long to appease an impossible opponent. I like that Hillary can be feisty and prideful, because that's unfortunately what it's probably going to take in this political climate. I suppose it's personal preference, but I prefer my candidates with a little habanero bubbling under the tortilla (and no, I've no idea what that means). Being blunt, Hillary doesn't take shit. And Lord knows the GOP has tossed a few tons her way during the past two-and-a-half decades. She's a thick-skinned bitch, And I like it.
Hillary is too much a part of the establishment.
Or she's "too elite" of a politician. Here's the thing: Women have never been the "establishment" in American politics -- they're inherently unwanted outsiders to many. This connects to the previous point: Hillary had to be a bitch to claw her way into a ring that didn't want her. And through her dedication, she's somehow become known as an elite politician. Which, to me, isn't a bad thing when you align pretty closely with me on the issues. After all, I wouldn't decline to have an "elite" doctor perform my surgery. This whole rhetoric is just baseless propaganda -- it makes no sense, and carries no weight.
Hillary is a criminal.
Again, another Fox News talking point that doesn't actually have any sort of factual backbone. Despite those aforementioned nonstop allegations and assertions from the GOP, there have only been controversies -- many of which are artificial, and no actual wrongdoing. Period. Rose Law Firm? She kept and handed over all the records. Nothing. Whitewater? Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars pumped into an investigation that yielded nothing. Benghazi? Again, millions of dollars later, no wrongdoing. Fully dropped. Emails? She abided by every rule, every parameter, despite a raving Fox that would have you thoroughly convinced otherwise. She did nothing that hadn't already been done by a previous Secretary of State. Dropped.
If nothing else, the GOP are persistent with their efforts. But they aren't successful.
Hey, look! I actually supported Hillary without having to condemn Bernie a single time. Because here's the reality: Your expressed support of a particular candidate doesn't require you to automatically hate his/her opponent. I like Bernie, I really do; I've nothing truly negative to say about he or his views. I just enjoy Hillary for several reasons which are important to me. You'll never see me share an anti-Bernie meme, and you'll never see me using lame names like "Bernie Panders" (which is used by those who were punted as babies).
I like Bernie, I really like Hillary. It's as simple as that. I feel strongly, but attacking Bernie would be exhausting -- and run antithesis to what I believe is the correct way to navigate to progress. And no matter the person for whom you're voting, I'd beg and plead you to please do at least a modicum of research before espousing negativity unto your own base. A house divided against itself, they say...
Politics as usual.