5 Reasons Real Progressives Have a Hard Time Saying #ImWithHer

Women for HillaryI admire Hillary Clinton. She is an intelligent woman who has worked hard to overcome incredible hurdles in a male-dominated system to become a full-fledged and respected member of the political establishment. But that is exactly it. She is a member of the establishment who would probably not have the support of many truly progressive women if she were a man.

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Now, I get it. Hillary Clinton has been (and probably always will be) subject to a litany of unfair criticism and scrutiny –- her hair! her pantsuits! her shrill voice! her husband’s indiscretions! –- because she is a woman. And as women, we should be outraged at the inherent sexism rampant in politics and the media. She is a powerful force paving the way for women to stand at the podium with the patriarchal elite (or at least well-connected and well-monetized), and she deserves our gratitude for making inroads into the establishment. Hell, she should be proud to say, "I made it."

But -- despite what iconic feminists have recently implied about a certain treason women are committing by not being in Clinton's camp -- that is where our obligation ends. While a woman should never throw another woman under the bus (yes, Madeleine Albright, there is a certain place in hell for women don't stand up for other women), a woman should never be shamed into sacrificing her ideals in a statement of blind feminism. That does not work here. I mean, by those standards, we should also be supporting Carly Fiorina, who is basically an affront to all women everywhere and the exact opposite of what feminism stands for. And support for Fiorina is something a real feminist will never, ever proclaim (with good reason).

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Sure, Clinton has a record of standing up for our rights as women in the United States and abroad -- but is she doing any more than, say, Senator Bernie Sanders? (Sanders actually has a 100 percent approval rating from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice, despite their endorsement of Clinton.) In fact, if Clinton were a man and she made the same statements or "evolved" on as many issues as she has, then you probably wouldn't think she was an ideal progressive candidate at all. You might very well -- like many millennial women (6 to 1 in Iowa to be exact) who do not see Clinton as their representative and are #FeelinTheBern big-time -- have problems with her so-called progressive politics.

Here are just a few of the reasons many progressives have a hard time saying #ImWithHer.

1. She voted 'yes' to the war in Iraq.
I know, I know, Bernie Sanders is harping on a decision that Clinton made as a senator more than a decade ago. But it is a decision that has propelled the Middle East (and the entire world, for that matter) into chaos and is the precursor, many believe, to destabilizing the region -- which undoubtedly gave rise to ISIS. Clinton, of course, has tried to weasel her way out of it, saying, "I think that's a lot of jumps in logic that to me doesn't really add up. The Iraq War, there's no doubt, contributed to instability. I'm not going to in any way deny that. But you cannot draw a direct line." Sanders's response to the former secretary of state's explanation: "It is not just experience that matters, it is judgment." Indeed. And there is a candidate running for president whose judgment did prove to be correct at the time and in the moment. 

2. She is cool with resorting to the death penalty.
Sure, she would want to limit it to "particularly heinous crimes," but given that 4 percent of people on death row are actually innocent, this does not seem to be a very liberal plan. It also does not seem to be a plan that many Democrats would support, as a 2015 Pew Research Center survey showed that 56 percent of people in the party oppose the death penalty. Well, if people are going to vote with a knee-jerk reaction, then I guess Sanders should have 56 percent of the Democratic vote!

3. She prides herself on the support of warmonger Henry Kissinger.
"I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time," said Clinton, unprompted, at the February 4 Democratic debate in defense of her job at the White House. That's the same Henry Kissinger who was Richard Nixon's secretary of state and continued to embroil the United States in a seemingly never-ending war in Vietnam (among other dubious "accomplishments"). Let's just say if Clinton were not a woman, this rousing endorsement from a known hawk would not sit well with liberals who want to see the United States reduce its involvement in wars overseas.

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4. She makes decisions based on the political climate.
The woman, er, president, whom I want in the White House has to be someone who does not continuously waver on his or her ideals -- and doesn't simply make decisions based on what he or she thinks will be favorable. When asked her opinion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement -- an agreement that many liberals initially saw as a way to ship jobs oversees -- Hillary Clinton stated, "I waited until it had actually been negotiated because I did want to give the benefit of the doubt to the administration. Once I saw what the outcome was, I opposed it."

The same can be said on her "evolution" on the issue of same-sex marriage -- which is kind of odd for someone who in 1995 declared women's rights to be human rights. LBGTQ rights are human rights, too. Right?! Sure, many politicians -- even our progressive Bernie! -- have evolved over the years and become more outspoken for certain causes. But don't defend your past decisions -- um, supporting your huband's Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA) -- with false information

5. She is too cautious in making access to fundamental rights, like health care, a real reality.
Yes, health care has come a long way, baby. But there is one way to actually ensure that all Americans have access to health care -- and that's by implementing a single-payer universal system that will provide health care for everyone. She has even accused Bernie Sanders of wanting to dismantle Obamacare with his Medicare-for-all policy and destroying all the progress that the Obama administration has made -- a disingenuous statement at best about someone who simply wants to move the system farther to the progressive left, giving the 29 million Americans who still lack health care a shot at receiving this basic human service for women and their families. Hmm.

So while Hillary Clinton is a woman, we must remember that right now she is a Democratic candidate first and then a woman ... not a woman who is the best progressive candidate simply because she goes by "Mrs." In the end, if she is our Democratic nominee, a vote for her will hands-down be better than anyone on the right -- but, until it's down to one, we have options ... real options that make it difficult to stand #WithHer in a vote that seems prompted by knee-jerk feminism. And this comes from a feminist who is desperate to see a woman running the free world during my lifetime. 

 

Image via © Emily Molli/NurPhoto/Corbis

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