I’m going to do something I’d never thought I’d do: fill your newsfeed with yet another article pertaining to the 2016 United States Presidential election and yes, I’m going to talk about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (hint: I’m emphatically supporting her and I’m unapologetic about it.)
Let me start off with my central point: a vote for Hillary is a vote to change history and the world. No, not because she’ll hail in some type of new economic stimulus (although I’m sure she’ll do just fine with our economy #ThanksObama) or because she’ll save us all from the evils of the GOP (looking at you Trump/Cruz/and the “moderate” Kasich) but because she’ll do one thing that’s never been done before: become the first female President of the United States, ever.
While I have tried not to get into “it” (read: online trysts with my friends on social networks who are #FeelingtheBern) the question I beg to ask is: what’s so wrong with wanting the right woman to be the President? This is one, but not my only reason, I will cast my vote for her both in the Democratic Primary in California in June as well as in November (and, if you haven’t guessed, I do not believe or promulgate the reasoning or rhetoric that Bernie Sanders will come from behind and win the Democratic Party’s nomination because I passed 5th grade level Math.)
Although my support for Hillary has never waivered (check my Twitter feed) I do have to say that if my support for her was ever in question, it was solidified last week on what pundits were calling “Super Super Tuesday” not because she won all five primary states in question: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri but because I was there, with my friend, mentor and academic mother: Marie Cartier and as we watched the results pour in, she began to cry not because she too, like myself, is an ardent Hillary supporter but because of these few words: “Finally, for once, it seems like it’s possible that a woman can be President.”
I’m not a religious man; I’ve often written about my struggle with religion but I’ve never doubted my spirituality and/or faith in signs. To me, that moment was a sign that I was in the right place, at the right time and experiencing something I’ll never forget. G-d may or may not exist (FYI - if G-d does exist, G-d is most certainly female); what does exist is my faith in other people who have lived lives, seen and lived through experiences I haven’t or could never even image, and in those special moments learning from the emotions and passions they’re exhibiting and passing onto me.
As a gay, white, privileged, cisgendered man, being President is always something that I could possibly aspire too. However, being a woman, getting the right to even vote only 96 years ago, as well as having major disparagements and vilifications facing you not because you’re not qualified but solely based on your gender, being President is something that not only could and did seem impossible but also was and still is, even though we live in the “greatest country in the world.”
I agree with Dr. Tiller’s famous statement: “Trust women.” It’s always been my motto and more importantly, I believe and trust in Hillary Clinton not because she’s just a woman but because her qualifications and record will make me proud when my nieces look at their iPhones or televisions or read in history books that we had a female President while they were growing up.
I think the biggest reason I want Hillary for President is because she makes me believe that there are higher purposes, greater hopes, and even a hints of possibilities that this country, while embroiled in rallies, fear-mongering, and hatred on the other side of the political aisle, has the possibility to ride through this storm of insanity and come outside on the other end better, stronger, and changed for the better.
So, when I’m asked why I support Hillary for President, my response isn’t her litany of qualifications or the recounting of her esteemed career, but rather the explanation of that feeling I got while holding my friend Marie’s hand and toasting not to Hillary’s wins but to the possibility that I will be alive when history is written and our country changes for the better; while some may call that feeling, a moment of grace, or being in the right place at the right time, I simply now refer to it as the moment I felt as if I experienced the some aspect of the divine.
So #HillYes? You betcha.
John Erickson is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Religious History at Claremont Graduate University. He holds an MA in Women’s Studies in Religion; an MA in Applied Women’s Studies; and a BA in Women’s Literature and Women’s Studies. He is a Permanent Contributor to the blog Feminism and Religion, a Non-Fiction Reviewer for Lambda Literary, the leader in LGBT reviews, author interviews, opinions and news since 1989 and the Co-Chair of the Queer Studies in Religion section of the American Academy of Religion's Western Region, the only regional section of the American Academy of Religion that is dedicated to the exploration of queer studies in religion and other relevant fields in the nation. He is currently the President of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh's LGBTQA+ Alumni Association, the Vice- Chair of Public Relation and Social Media for the Stonewall Democratic Club, and the Non-Profit and Governmental Liaison for the Hollywood Chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women). When he is not working on his dissertation, he can be found at West Hollywood City Hall where he is the Community Events Technician and works on policies and special events relating to women, gender, sexuality, and human rights issues that are sponsored or co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood. He is the author of the blog From Wisconsin, with Love and can be followed on Twitter@JErickson85