On a balmy day in May 1969, Hillary D. Rodham stood before her classmates at Wellesley College, prepared to give what would become the College’s first student commencement speech. She had not yet begun the 41 years she would spend in public service, nor had she famously articulated the importance of women’s rights in Beijing, China. At the time, she was a student, much like all of us, but her words from that day have continued to define her political philosophy: “If the only tool we have ultimately to use is our lives, so we use it in the way we can by choosing a way to live that will demonstrate the way we feel and the way we know.” Throughout her extensive political career, Secretary Clinton has dedicated herself to promoting social justice and economic equity. As she aims to break the highest glass ceiling, it’s worth noting her credentials: First Lady of Arkansas, Senator, First Lady of the United States and Secretary of State. With a history of experience and decades of service, it is clear that she will be the President that America needs and deserves. Unreservedly, the editorial board of The Wellesley News endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
Endorsing Hillary Clinton should not be for the simple explanation that she is less harmful than Donald Trump. Indeed, last Monday’s debate was yet another demonstration of Trump’s shortcomings. Trump lacks any constructive agenda or even consideration for Blacks, Latinx/Hispanics, Muslims and other marginalized minorities. At this stage, our country needs a leader with a vision for progress and equality — one who values evidence-based solutions, analytically examines problems and epitomizes strength as well as resilience. Given the divisive nature of this election season, we, as a Union, need a President who is powerful enough to mend a fragmented country back together.
Secretary Clinton’s economic proposals have consistently demonstrated a clear vision for the future of our country. Her intention to tax Wall Street bankers in order to create more working class jobs displays her commitment to helping families during a time of economic disparity. She remains steadfastly committed to passing legislation that would benefit women and children, as she has done for much of her career. Her policies outline a desire to close the wage gap, provide paid and family leave and to protect female health and reproductive rights. Her promise of racial equality distinguishes her from her opponent. She demands voter and immigrant protections, while concurrently fighting against gun violence, environmental injustice and educational disparities. Clinton, unlike her opponent, is a candidate who understands and reacts to the actual realities of American civic life.
Hillary Clinton is now steadfast in her visions, but we also acknowledge that over the past 40 years, Hillary Clinton has reversed some of her political stances. Previously, she was in favor of trade deals but now opposes them. She once defined marriage as being between a man and woman but now champions LBGTQIA rights. Indeed, Secretary Clinton has backtracked on various critical issues, and we do not endorse capricious policies. Rather, the News recognizes that Clinton’s views mirror and follow the liberal opinion with the public’s best interest in mind. Her ability to grow and find synergies in the public opinion is a hallmark of some of our most revolutionary Presidents.
Moreover, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is an alumna of this College, we, as Wellesley students, are not obliged to stand wholeheartedly behind her every action. Our siblinghood begets constructive criticism; our motto — not to be served but to serve — embodies the spirit of Wellesley, to pursue a path that brings positivity to our communities, in whatever form that may be. In that quest, Wellesley siblings can, do and should hold each other accountable to the fundamental pillars of community: honesty, respect and integrity. Expecting Secretary Clinton to embody these three qualities is natural. While the media selectively magnifies her apparently dubious qualities, we should investigate them critically and justly. We can and should disagree with her opinions and ask of her, as we would of any President, to do better.
The outcome of 2016 election is clear: the President of the United States will either be a polarizing candidate with no political experience or a seasoned politician whose values are embodied by many of us. America needs progress, but we also need a leader who can progress with it. One of Secretary Clinton’s most powerful qualities is her ability to respond to the country’s current needs and demands. While divisive rhetoric may tear us apart and disillusionment render us to political silence, we are, without a doubt, stronger together. Finding unity in our diversity is crucial to the forward motion of our nation.
In this critical election, we must not be condemnatory and disillusioned in our voting process. Too many members of our generation believe that abstaining from voting or selecting a third-party candidate better aligns with their personal beliefs. However, in doing so, we abuse our privilege, discounting the power of our voices and our votes. Hillary Clinton is not perfect, but holding her to a higher standard of perfection than any other male candidate is an injustice. Communities that do not activate themselves, and do not harness their power and agency perpetuate silence in which the oppressor thrives.
Only one candidate has proven, time and time again, to be a unifier with the willingness and stamina to both bring and keep us together. We, the Editorial Board Staff of The Wellesley News, are with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Photo courtesy of Matt Rourke/AP