Hillary supporters are sometimes criticized for focusing too much on the polls or the horserace, and not enough on why they support their candidate. Well, below are four heartfelt reasons I support Hillary.
1. Our first son
Our first son was born in 2002, after several years of infertility. It was the happiest time of our life. But everything came crashing down in August 2003 when, at the age of 10 months, he died in my car in circumstances I can't even bear to recount. I swore to myself that I would do whatever I could to prevent other families from facing this kind of tragedy.
I got involved in a group called Kids and Cars, which works to prevent children dying from non-traffic automobile incidents, such as kids being backed over by vehicles, trapped in power windows, or inadvertently left in cars. Hundreds of children a year die from these incidents, and most of them could be prevented by simple, inexpensive safety technologies. However, like many safety devices used today, such as seat belts or air bags, the car manufacturers are resisting them. And the National Transportation Safety Association (NTSA) doesn't even monitor these types of non-traffic incidents, let alone work to prevent them. Kids and Cars has been working for years to get national legislation past mandating that the NTSA monitor these incidents and investigate safety devices that could prevent them.
It's been tough going, but there has been one Senator (out of 100) who has sponsored this legislation year after year, and worked tirelessly with her staff to try to get it through. Yes, that's Hillary Clinton. We came close last year, and we are in excellent position this year. There are now 36 co-sponsors (including 7 Republicans, and including presidential candidates Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, and John McCain, for the Senate Bill Hillary has sponsored, S. 694, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act of 2007, and its companion bill, H.R. 1216 is also making progress. (The Consumers Union has set up a site where you can easily send a message to your House and Senate members asking them to support this legislation.)
So, in memory of our first son, I am proud to support the Senate who quietly and without fanfare has worked so that other children like him will not needlessly die.
2. Our second son
Our second son was born less than a year after our first son died. Our joy turned to concern when we learned he had a congenital heart defect and down syndrome. After heart surgery at three months of age and a number of other medical emergencies his first year of life, he became a healthy, happy, loving little boy. Though he was later diagnosed with autism as well, he is highly sociable, interactive, loving, and intelligent. We just need to find the right ways to reach him, to communicate with him, and to help him learn.
Hillary Clinton has been fighting for the rights of children for special needs for decades. In her first job out of law school working for the Children's Defense Fund, she conducted research that led to Congress passing the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, the landmark bill mandating that all children with disabilities be educated in the public school system. later, she helped improve the education of children with special needs by working to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. In 2005, she sponsored an amendment to increase funding for the act by $4 billion dollars. She also cosponsored the Personal Excellence for Children with Disabilities Act, a bill that promised to help schools recruit and retain new special education teachers, and better prepare general education teachers and staff to work with children with special needs.
Most recently, she has called for greatly expanded funding to the National Institute for Health to investigate treatments for children with disabilities. And she has put forth a comprehensive and detailed plan to help children and families affected by autism, with numerous elements that correspond very closely to what families in the autism community have been demanding for years.
So, in honor of my second son, and that he might have rights to the most appropriate education so as to help him meet his full potential, I am proud to support the presidential candidate who has worked tirelessly toward that end for decades.
3. Our daughter
Our daughter was born in 2006. Precocious, highly communicative, and with a great personality, she has the entire world before her. At least I hope so. Like any parent, I would give anything to ensure that my daughter has every opportunity in the world, and never has to feel that certain avenues are closed off to her.
But I am also cognizant of the fact that there are many glass ceilings that prevent women from reaching their full potential in our society. For more than half our nation's history, women could not vote. And, even today, women make up only 11% of the Supreme Court members and 16% of the Senate. And there has never, in the 231-year history of our country, been a woman president.
I would never support a candidate for president simply because she were a woman, but I am filled with pride and pleasure to know that the best candidate in the race this year is a woman. In honor of our daughter, I am pleased to support the candidate that will become the first female president of the U.S. and thus the ultimate shatterer of glass ceilings.
4. Our youngest son
Our youngest son was born in 2006, a twin of our daughter described above. He loves to read, knows three languages, and makes me laugh every day. As he is the youngest of our children (albeit by a few minutes), I think often of his future. What kind of world will he live in? Will he be able to fulfill his dreams?
And when I think of these things, I think of the Bill Clinton administration, and the eight years of peace and prosperity we had. For the first time in my life, there was a president that understood the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial world, and could carry out the responsible domestic and international policies to thrive in that world. The U.S. was respected throughout the world, and we had the strongest economy in our nation's history, with record gains in economic growth (116 straight months of economic growth at an average rate of 4.0 percent per year), job creation (22.5 million new jobs), income (median family income up nearly 15%), home ownership, and a historic drop in poverty (down 15%), all while overcoming the budget deficit and putting our country in the black.
Hillary Clinton was highly involved in the Clinton presidency, and she and Bill are the closest of political partners. She is the only Democratic candidate that I have heard speaking about the kind of fiscal responsibility that Bill Clinton exhibited and that we need once again. So, in honor of my youngest son, and so that he and his generation will not be saddled with trillions of dollars of debt and will instead have a bright and sound future, I am proud to support the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.
There you have it--my top four reasons for supporting Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. I have other reasons, but these are the most heartfelt.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments. What are your reasons for supporting your presidential candidate? We have a terrific field this year and I will be honored to support whoever wins the nomination.