Given that the second presidential debate is tomorrow, and the election just a month away, I've decided now is an appropriate time for me to formally endorse Hillary Clinton for president. It wasn't always such a clear and decisive choice. There were many times when I've felt betrayed by and frustrated with the Democratic Party, and been disappointed in Clinton's choice to tie herself as closely as possible to President Obama (whom I've lost respect for over the past two years). However, my trust issues have been with the institution of the Democratic Party, not Secretary Clinton herself. Like everyone else in the world, she isn't perfect, but only one other person--George HW Bush--has been as qualified as she is for the presidency. She was an active and observant First Lady from 1993-2001, and a dedicated senator in New York. Even after unexpectedly losing her primary run for the presidency in 2008, she still campaigned for Obama in a professional manner, and went on to be his secretary-of-state for his first term. Popular complaints about Hillary Clinton are that she's "been there forever" or is a "career politician". This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it may annoy some who'd rather see a fresh face. It means that she's dedicated her life to public service, and has great experience. One of the failings of President Obama is that he was only a junior senator and a community organizer. His lack of foreign policy chops has weakened our nation's standing, disappointed our allies, and emboldened our adversaries. So why should I vote for another kind of "hope and change candidate"--Donald Trump--who also lacks experience?

At one time, I thought Donald Trump would be a positive force in our political system. His boldness in challenging the Left-Wing hypocrisies and political correctness that stifle dialogue and cause society to regress rather than progressing, was one reason. Another was his willingness to admit--unlike others in his party--the failings of the GOP establishment and George W. Bush. However, he's been reckless and irresponsible with his words and actions. At times he is a hawkish interventionist, and at other times, an isolationist who doesn't mind nuclear proliferation, or would seek to make America a mercenary state instead of the global hegemon. He's loath to divulge the details of many of his plans, and flip-flops even more than Mitt Romney did in 2012. He doesn't take criticism well, and has an odd admiration for dictators. Despite being a businessman, his economic policies have been analyzed by professionals who say they'd add billions of dollars more to our debt and only help those at the top--this is what got us into the Great Recession in the first place. Sadly, Trump has failed in his quest to bring the country back together. Although he destroyed the corrupt and useless wing of the Republican Party--the establishment types that backed Jeb! Bush and Marco Rubio--while also sidelining religious extremists like Ted Cruz, he has embraced a conspiracy-theorist fringe among the Right and elevated their beliefs. Despite being a secular person and exposing how hollow the evangelical influence is on the GOP in the primary, he still has recently embraced the anti-abortion and anti-gay platform espoused by his running mate, Mike Pence. And even if he himself isn't bigoted, he has been cowardly by appealing to the worst of American society by using bigotry in political statements just to get votes. Instead of being a positive reformer for the GOP, he has only destroyed it and created a vacuum of power, much like what we see today in Iraq and Libya. 

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I was raised a Democrat, but I feel the party has left me--pardon the pun. It's become too willing to embrace radicals. On the other hand, the GOP is still unwelcoming to people like myself. Ideologically, I'm probably dead center--and it is Hillary Clinton, a proud moderate, who best represents my views. Unlike my other fellow Millennials, my uneasiness about her was that she'd be less hawkish and too much like President Obama--willing to let China, Iran and Russia call the shots, leave our allies hanging out to dry, and standing by idly as Syrian children are murdered. To some degree, I still worry about those things. Her plan to defeat and kill Gaddafi, while well-intentioned, didn't work out as well as many had hoped. But it's important to remember that even if she was the architect of the Obama Doctrine--as Mike Pence pointed out in the debate earlier this week--she wasn't the enforcer. That was the president himself, and so the brunt of responsibility for its failings lies with him. After all, she'd advocated using greater force in Syria and Libya--if followed through, we likely wouldn't see such a large threat from jihadist organizations. In terms of the economy and domestic policy, Clinton is a far better choice than Trump. Her choices for Supreme Court will ensure that Roe V. Wade and gay marriage remain the status quo. On foreign policy, she'll be a far better friend of Israel--and enforcer of the nuclear deal with Iran--than President Obama. Her commitment to bettering the lives of women and children will likely influence her to push radical regimes elsewhere in the Middle East--indeed, around the world-- to improve their abysmal human rights record. And of course, we must remember that there's a reason China and Russia are afraid to see her become president. Clinton's election will also send a powerful signal to women and girls around the world, and especially here at home, that they can do anything a man can do. The symbolism of a president is very important, maybe as important as the policies enacted by one. Which is why, as a brother of a 4 year-old sister, I can't bring myself to vote for someone who talks in a demeaning way about women, or anyone else for that matter. 

So far, the 21st Century has been one of fear, anger, sadness, and misery, whether abroad or here at home. Economic instability, political extremism, terrorism, and hopelessness. Presidents Bush (43) and Obama, opposite sides of the same coin, have caused a great deal of this. President Bush naively though that by toppling Saddam Hussein with our military, Iraq would miraculously become a democracy. Instead, it became a failed state; he laid the groundwork for the creation of ISIS. And President Obama believed that by being more isolationist and distancing ourselves from Israel, becoming less willing to use military force, and "joining hands" with protest movements during the Arab Spring--whether by killing Gaddafi or deposing Mubarak--democracy and peace would sweep the Middle East. Instead, it's allowed radicalism to metastasize, and created a void for a resurgent Russia and imperialist Iran to try and fill. We're just a little over three years away from entering the third decade of this new century---and it's time to have a fresh start and end the madness once and for all. We shouldn't be embracing the racial and religious hatred of the time of the Civil War, nor should we be welcoming in far-left radical movements that should be relegated to the "Free Love" era of 40-50 years ago. It's time to bring back the Third Way, the sensible way, and unify America by improving the lives of everyone and standing up for what's just and what's right. That's why I'm With Her. 


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