By Taylor Frey
Elm Staff Writer
Even as the 2014 election cycle heats up, the 2016 presidential election is stealing an outsized percentage of network coverage and column inches. While the 2014 elections creates an important political battle, the fight for the White House in 2016 will have a larger say in the trajectory of America and its politics. In the most politically divided era since the Civil War, presidential elections do more than dole out executive power; they force a divided people to converge upon the polls and choose one individual who will serve, not as the voice of Republicans or Democrats, but as the voice of America as a whole.
If we are to successfully transition into a new era of prosperity in the face of such divisive politics, we will need to elect a president with the experience and fortitude to be successful in the Oval Office, as well as the knowledge and empathy to be the president of conservatives and liberals alike. That individual is Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While political pundits can debate the successes and failures of Clinton throughout the years, it is imperative that Americans stop listening to the pundits, and remember that anyone who has been involved in public policy for as long as Clinton will have made some mistakes. Context is important. Even as the politicians attack Clinton for a few overanalyzed political failures, they would be hard-pressed to find an individual who has accomplished so much in situations with the same level of partisanship and institutional challenges. Having failed at some tasks is not a sign of weakness in Clinton’s case; it is a sign that she is not willing to put a challenge aside because of its difficulty.
From taking-on healthcare, to standing up for safe and legal abortion and becoming the first First Lady to march in a LGBT pride parade, Clinton has never been one to shy-away from the third-rail of politics. That being said, many of the so-called failures addressed by her opponents are baseless – the longer an individual is in politics, the more the pundits will argue over their merit. You cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and you certainly cannot have a successful political career without making a few enemies in the press. Clinton is no exception.
What her opponents should be focusing on as they prepare to cover the 2016 race is the experience and qualifications Clinton brings to the table. The recent special edition of “Time Magezine entitled, “Hillary: An American Life,” seems to say it all. Unlike any other likely candidates for the post-Obama White House, Clinton has lived a life of diverse American experiences. Forged in middle class values, empowered by a New England liberal arts education, sharpened by the Ivy League, and strengthened by her religious convictions, Clinton has spent her life serving America.
As her Twitter handle indicates, Clinton’s life as a wife, mother, lawyer, advocate for women and children, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, First Lady of Arkansas, Congressional staffer, First Lady of the United States, senator for New York, Secretary of State, and soon to be grandmother not only make her the top candidate for the presidency, but also give her a well-rounded understanding of the American people. This understanding adds to Clinton’s wealth of relevant experience, and her political acumen make her the ideal president. It is so easy to think of Clinton as a creature of Washington D.C. and Democratic politics that people often forget how Clinton has spent most of her career outside the beltway and was certainly not always a Democrat. In fact, at one point in her life Clinton campaigned for Republican Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater, served as president of the Wellesley Republicans during her undergraduate career, and completed an internship with the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C.
As Clinton’s life and qualifications are examined with a critical-eye, the caricature painted of her by many in the media quickly falls apart.