Hillary Clinton: When a Movement is Nothing More than Tokenism

Hillary Clinton Democratic Presidential Candidate 2016

We are the argumentative type; the young people unable (or unwilling) to keep our mouths shut; the bleeding heart liberals so often stereotyped as unshowered hippies with hair tied in dreadlocks. But we do have something in common with this year’s conservative minded GOP: We really don’t want Hillary for 2016.

This is not to say that we don’t fully support the notion that it is about time we had a woman in the White House, we absolutely do. But feminism is not about having a female president to say we did, as Hillary suggested in response to the question of how she differs from president Obama, answering, “I’m a woman.” Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Hillary Clinton has taken it upon herself to make it explicitly clear that she is a female and that if elected she will be the first female president. What could be wrong with that? Although at times, tokenism can lead to beneficial visibility and change, it can also be detrimental. If we are going to have the first female president, it should be because she has the necessary skills and mindset to lead the United States. If we took gender out of the picture, would she still be leading in the polls?

In the eyes of Republicans she just might be the devil incarnate, and she also admittedly sees the entire Republican Party as her “enemy.” In a recent fan video, Clinton told a Trump supporter, “I hope you can see I don’t have horns,” while laughing into the camera and patting her head. No, Hillary Clinton does not have horns, but she has labeled an entire party as her enemy. How then will she as president lead a country with a strong two-party system? If not a moderate, we need a president who can negotiate when, inevitably, there is a difference of opinion. Animosity is never the answer.

But maybe for Hillary, it is what she knows. Her general approach to foreign policy is much more aggressive than most of the Democratic Party. Rather than a government or other political system, Clinton labeled Iran as a whole as one of her many enemies during the CNN debate. However, a country, full of innocent people, cannot be an enemy. A concern, certainly, but not an enemy. Especially considering that they willingly sat down for negotiations. Nobody negotiates with an enemy. Not only did she vote for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, her answer for ISIS calls for more American men and women on the ground in the Middle East and action in Syria.

Hillary Clinton just doesn’t hold up the values that a truly progressive country needs to both move toward and support. For instance, the undergraduate degree (or the opportunity for training following high school graduation) has become a necessity for survival, comparable to the diploma twenty or more years ago. While Clinton acknowledges this, she holds back and makes unrealistic claims about funding opportunities that have already failed. According to the official campaign website, under the Hillary plan “costs won’t be a barrier,” because “Students will do their part by contributing their earnings from working 10 hours a week. And families will do their part by making an affordable and realistic family contribution.”

Assuming that all students could work ten hours a week is, admittedly, not a stretch. It is about the equivalent of a work study job. It isn’t hard to get behind a program where a minimal amount of work allowed a student to get an adequate education. However, with wages at their current state, 10 hours isn’t going to lead to anywhere near the price of college. Furthermore, many students already work one, sometimes two jobs, not only to pay for school but all of the costs that come with living as an adult. Additionally, her ideas on family contribution are outdated. How does one determine what a family can actually contribute when family situations differ so greatly? With the use of the FAFSA, the government makes estimates about family contributions already, many of which are unrealistic and based on nothing more than a number on paper.

Hillary Clinton will make sure that community colleges will be free. The idea of community college as a space between high school and college is wonderful, especially considering the drastic difference in expense. However, many students have the opportunity to take AP courses that eliminate the need for core subjects offered at local community colleges. This is a good place to start, but it just isn’t enough of a promise to get behind. If education is the way for a country to succeed then students need more opportunities to find success. A fully funded state college program just makes sense. Clinton’s plans for educational reform are merely band-aids for the traditional foundations already in place and the system needs more than just a band-aid, it needs a triple bypass.

As amazing as it would be to elect the first female president of the United States, the position is too important to allow tokenism to secure our vote. Gender aside, Hillary Clinton is not the person America needs; her ideas are limited, and her list of enemies is too extreme.

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