Monday, October 24, 2016

Why I Voted for Hillary

I’ve submitted my absentee ballot voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Election. As I did in 2012, I am giving my reasons in case it helps others make their own decisions.

Here are my key reasons:
  • Life long commitment to making the world a better place
  • Investing in major world changes
  • Agree with her Policies and Proposals
  • I like smart people who work hard

Making the World a Better Place

This is probably what inspires me the most about Hillary – she has had a lifelong commitment to making the world a better place.

This video is her commencement speech at Wellesley College.  She was the first student commencement speaker in the college’s history, and you can see from the President’s introduction the amount of respect she had garnered in her 4 years there. Her speech also shows the core values she was thinking about then, and now.


From her early days she has pushed forward to be in positions of larger and larger impact. While most of us are satisfied making little donations to charities or volunteering, she has risen to positions of power where her work has the leverage to have large scale impact. Take a few minutes to scroll thru the Wikipedia page that lists her various activities and accomplishments - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton.

As a politician (including her political partnership with Bill), she has been in a position to have impact and is close to being in a very powerful position again to have a positive impact on the world. With Bill and Chelsea, she has created one of the most respected and impactful non-profit foundations in the world – raising $2B and employing 2,000 employees to positively impact millions of people.

Hillary believes government is not the bad guy, but is instrumental in advancing our country and the world. She has a pragmatic approach to understanding and trying to solve problems. She understands that there is a need for collaboration between government and business.

Investing in Major World Changes

Thomas Friedman wrote two of the best books on the transformations that are taking place in the world, including “Hot, Flat and Crowded 2.0” - http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/hot-flat-and-crowded-2-0/. Hillary understands these transformations and is embracing them. The world is getting smaller with the US driving much of the change. The Internet, faster and cheaper travel and interrelated commerce means that borders need to decrease and collaboration needs to increase in importance. Moving from fossil fuels to clean energy is an opportunity for the US to lead. Hillary has progressive goals in technology - https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/technology-and-innovation/ and in climate change - https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/climate/.


Policies and Proposals

Having a liberal view of the world, I support most of Hillary’s policies and proposals - https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/. Of particular interest to me are:
I am a bit disappointed she does not talk more about increasing budgets for the State Department, USAID and International Relief efforts (The defense budget is almost 10X the State Department budget). Given her work with the Clinton Foundation, she clearly has a concern for the rest of the world. Her years at the State Department also gave her a view of the positive impacts of investment in education and economic support with other countries. And her famous “Women’s rights are human rights” speech demonstrates that she would balance military strength with more strategic investments.

Smart Hard Worker

Finally, I am voting for Hillary because I like smart people who work hard. She has shown a continued ability to listen and learn and adapt. One of the very interesting articles on Hillary is titled “How Hillary Became ‘Hillary’”. It recaps the 1980 loss of Bill Clinton as Arkansas Governor. Many would have accepted that defeat and moved on to legal careers that had a much higher probability of making money. Hillary figured out what went wrong and made big changes (like adding “Clinton” to her last name 5 years after they were first married).


But What About. . .

Of course Hillary is the best known woman in the world. Being at a position of power for so long brings on lots of slings and arrows. And in building a long resume, there are always losses and things that were not done right. So let me go thru the common issues that people bring up about what they do not like about Hillary and how I make sense of them.

The biggest thing she has going against her is that she is a woman.  A smart woman.  A driven woman.  A powerful woman.  And the first woman to break the glass ceiling in a very big way. The fact is there is a cultural bias against strong, successful women.  Women won the right to vote less than 100 years ago. Male/Female pay is still greater than 1.  Think back to high school and how kids made fun of the “smart girl”. At the 1992 Republican Convention:

"Patrick Buchanan derided Clinton’s “radical feminism.” Marilyn Quayle — a lawyer who gave up her career to support her husband’s — presented herself and Dan Quayle as an alternative vision of the husband-wife partnership. “Most women do not want to be liberated from their essential natures as women,” she said. But the convention drew poor reviews; The New York Times’s conservative columnist William Safire complained that “the party displayed the basest of its base.” From then on, the Bush campaign team confined its direct attacks to Bill Clinton."

I’ve got nothing but respect for a person who has stood up to that sort of headwind her whole life. And I think her success is a watershed for future generations of women. Both of my daughters told me how meaningful Hillary’s Democratic Nomination was to each of them  earlier this year. As Sarah Vowell said:
“When the D.N.C. rolled that montage of non-dame presidential faces I wept so hard I had to open a new box of tissues. Feeling represented does matter in a representative democracy."

Email

As a person with 6+ email accounts – I have some sympathy for Hillary on this count. Sometimes I send CloudBees or RunSignUp or Running store emails from my personal account of vice-versa.  Like Hillary, my emails are a thing of history and momentum and familiarity (I still use Outlook and not Gmail on my computer for example).

Of the 62,000 emails, only 110 were classified at the time of sending. If you add the number of communications that were sent via State Department mechanisms over her 4 years as Secretary of State, the % of classified emails on her server was very, very small.  I tend to think of these as mistakes, not something she was purposely doing to put American security at risk.

In addition, the State Department has been hacked to such an extent that people with security clearances and their families have been advised to protect themselves by doing things like putting freezes on their credit reports. So it is likely her personal email server was less likely to be attacked than the State Department.

This article has a fuller description of the email issue based on (and including links to) the FBI study.  https://medium.com/the-curious-civilian/admit-it-the-clinton-email-controversy-bothers-you-yet-you-dont-actually-know-what-the-clinton-511dc1659eda#.212l10kb0.

Benghazi

To put the blame for the tragedy of Benghazi on Hillary is shameful. Clearly the blame goes on the people who attacked the State Department outpost that night. Were there things that could have prevented it? Of course.  Were there better ways to respond? Of course. Are there things that could be done today to improve the security of all of our foreign outposts? Of course.

The sad fact is that there are dangerous places in the world and the US has a presence in those places for our own interests as well as in the interest of making the world a better place, like Chris Stevens and his team were trying to do.  But bad stuff can happen, and it did.

This article is a pretty good summary of the hearings and has links to the raw hearing conclusions (actually there were three of them). http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/chris-stevenss-family-dont-blame-hillary-clinton-for-benghazi.  Anne Stevens, the sister of the Ambassador, had this to say:
"It is clear, in hindsight, that the facility was not sufficiently protected by the State Department and the Defense Department. But what was the underlying cause? Perhaps if Congress had provided a budget to increase security for all missions around the world, then some of the requests for more security in Libya would have been granted. Certainly the State Department is underbudgeted.
I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself."

Wikileaks

My perception of the Wikileaks information shows what is really happening in the Clinton organization – what happens in every organization.  Understanding the competition, evaluating alternative plans, getting feedback from the electorate, making friends with the right people, etc.  In fact, I like many of the things that have come out in terms of her interest in having government-industry collaboration.  I like her discussions about breaking down borders.

To quote Thomas Friedman again, "Hackers exposed Clinton as a smart politician with a vision and a pragmatic approach to getting things done.” - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/opinion/wikihillary-for-president.html. Or as the Washington Post says “Scandal! Wikileaks reveals Hillary Clinton to be . . . Reasonable.” - https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/scandal-wikileaks-reveals-hillary-clinton-to-be%E2%80%94reasonable/2016/10/10/bbad509c-8f19-11e6-9c52-0b10449e33c4_story.html?utm_term=.f27c61c479ba

Bill’s Infidelities

A woman is not responsible for her husband being an idiot.  Period.

Summary


I’m a proud supporter of Hillary Clinton for President.

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