When imagining the ideal first female president in a country where equal pay and reproductive rights are still a hot button topic, it’s going to take a lot.
To start with, the role of first female president requires someone who has a track record of putting others first, someone well liked, someone extremely qualified and with as much experience as possible. Perhaps someone who the Gallup Poll found to be “the most admired woman each of the last 14 years, and 20 times overall, occupying the top spot far longer than any other woman or man in Gallup’s history.” It should probably be someone with experience in politics and who understands the role of president. Someone who might have inside knowledge about what it’s like to make those defining decisions that shape a country’s history. Someone who has close personal experience and intimate knowledge of the job.
Honesty would be an important trait. Politicians have a record for being crooked, so how about someone who lies less than any of her competitors in the primaries or in the general election, according to a verification website called Politico. Grace under pressure and a history of standing up for what she believes in would also show honesty and consistency. The first female president should have causes that she believes in. She should be someone with a cause she has fought for decades, something that everyone can agree on like the protection of children, education and access to healthcare.
This person already exists.
As a millennial living in Seattle, I am surrounded by people who are thinking about voting 3rd party or are convinced that there’s just something they don’t trust about Hillary. Worse yet, there are people who call her terrible names and equate her to being “just as bad” as a man with no political experience who has insulted every type of American by name.
When questioned about their actual knowledge about Clinton, most people I talk to don’t know anything about the 8 million children who have health care because of her. They don’t know about the women and children she has stood up for around the world as Secretary of State, or that her first job after college was to fight for the right of children with disabilities to go to school.
While her experience and resume alone demonstrate her ability to lead and govern effectively, Clinton has something else that makes her the obvious choice in the upcoming presidential elections. She sees the big picture of how to make our society better, and that view starts with advocating for the rights of all children and families. When asked what motivates her in a C-Span interview in 2015, Clinton said “I’m running for president because I think that America and its families need a champion. I want to be that champion. I want to stand up and fight for people so that they cannot just come in but get ahead and they can stay ahead.”
As she stood at a podium in Beijing in 1995 and rallied to say that “women’s rights are humans rights and humans rights are women’s rights,” she was not only enforcing the idea that women are humans that deserve rights too. She was calling for a radical shift in the way to assess the health of a country and a new perspective with which to shape foreign policy – a shift that focuses on women and children. When these vital groups have basic rights such as access to health care and education, countries do better. According to a survey of data by the International Montary Fund in 2012, “Closing the gap in well-being between males and females is as much a part of development as is reducing income poverty. Greater gender equality also enhances economic efficiency and improves other development outcomes.”
One major influence in Clinton’s evolution was seeing Dr. Martin Luther King speak as an early teen. “I sat on the edge of my seat as this preacher challenged us to participate in the cause of justice, not to slumber while the world changed around us. And that made such an impression on me,” she said in a 2014 interview with CNN.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is already seeing the big picture of our future as a country. It is the time for us to follow her example and look beyond ourselves. Our time to choose connection over anger. To lift each other up rather than tearing each other down. It’s up to each of us now to join hands rather than form fists.
It’s time for everyone who has an opinion about the upcoming election to do their own research, dig deep and discover that the ideal first female president is already here, and will be on the ballot in November.