#NotReadyForHillary, insincere campaign
When I was in eighth and ninth grade, Hillary Clinton was making her first bid for the presidency. On the brink of high school, I was full of big dreams for the future, and Clinton, at the time, represented the heights women could attain. When Barack Obama won the candidacy for the Democratic Party, I shifted my support to him just as Clinton did. I was convinced that having a minority in a position of power could only mean good things for my community and for minorities as a whole. They promised to end war, to close Guantanamo Bay, to be champions of human rights and in all my naiveté, I believed them. I celebrated Obama's historic victory and awaited the momentous changes to come.
I've learned a lot since then, as I'm sure many in my community and other minority communities have. There has been an explosive, hopeful response to Clinton's decision to run again, and it has deeply frustrated me. I am fully aware that such an analysis of her as a candidate and as a person may be considered anti-feminist to some. But the precise reason I think it's necessary to be critical of her record and history is because there is this expectation that she will champion women's and minority rights. It's not just that this hasn't been the case — it's that a campaign run on those grounds is a callous and calculated dishonesty. Like Condoleezza Rice, Clinton doesn't deserve to be celebrated purely on the basis of her identity. We have become so narrow-minded about what success for women looks like, that we cannot perceive it outside of climbing the political, social ladder. The blood on their hands matters, the lies and deceit matter and the ruthlessness matters. These considerations should be enough to strip anyone of honorable recognition, political giants or not.
Clinton has had a significant hand in violating human rights. In 2003, she voted in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and remained a fierce advocate of it despite the hundreds and thousands of deaths. As President Obama's Secretary of State, she presided over the expansion of illegal drone attacks. She has been a huge advocate of expanding military operations in the Middle East, which, as you can imagine, has resulted in numerous civilian deaths — hundreds, by conservative estimate. I suppose brown women overseas are disposable, because if their lives were considered just as valuable as the lives of American women, perhaps we wouldn't be so quick to label Clinton a feminist, a champion of women and a beacon of success.
Even though these senseless murders should be reason enough to make anyone rapidly decide against supporting her, in my time at the University I've discovered that few people are concerned about the lives of innocent civilians overseas. Let's turn to other considerations, like the fact that during her time serving on the board of Walmart, she did not defend the rights of labor unions, even while campaigns were being held against them. While practicing as a lawyer, she defended and won a plea bargain for a child rapist who she knew was guilty. Finally, she has played a huge role in escalating the drug war, resulting in the expansion of mass incarceration and playing a role in how U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.
Do we have better options? This is the wrong question to be asking. If you put your faith in politicians — worse yet, the politicians presented to us on a silver platter — you are looking in the wrong place for social betterment. Would I rather vote for a Republican candidate? Absolutely not, but I wouldn’t give my vote to any candidate who is an active participant of the political games that rob people of their lives and autonomy on a regular basis. All these candidates represent the same exact values and ideas, just with different window dressing. Who can we gravitate toward that does not actively contribute to this war machine, both domestically and internationally? That’s what we must deeply and seriously deliberate. However, let it be said that you shouldn’t need a “better option” to choose not to vote for Clinton. Casting a vote in her favor, whether she is the lesser of two evils or not, is an act of support. While she hasn’t won the candidacy just yet, as someone who deeply believes in human rights, I actively choose to champion them by saying no to Clinton.
Sara Zayed is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in computer science with a minor in mathematics. Her column, “#Realtalk,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.