Why I Can’t Vote for Hillary

In the words of CC Bloom from Beaches, “my memory is long, very long.” Before you get ready to pass judgment, I identify with cultural differential feminists, conservative at times, libertarian wannabe, and more liberal than I admit. I am no party loyalist because political parties are slaves to the PACs and lobbyists that donate to them. It does not matter if that politician is Democrat or Republican. I am a Chicago native so when it comes to politics, I remain a cynic and a skeptic. Chicagoans have seen politicians from both sides of the aisle kept cells warm in Club Fed, federal prison. My cynicism may also have something to do with the fact that I majored in Political Science and had to work on campaigns as part of several class assignments. Nonetheless, the young ready to change the world me, relished in my civic right to vote.

In 2007, I was a Hillary supporter. She was a no-nonsense, intelligent, seasoned politician. Hillary seemed to have it all. Surely, she would be the first woman president of the United States. I loved Barack Obama too. My dad volunteered for his campaign back in the day when Obama was just an Illinois state assemblyman. My dad always said “that guy [Obama] can change things.” My father never had kind words for preachers or politicians, so his statement always stuck with me. Unfortunately, my dad died in 2004, before finding out Obama won the Senate race. Obama’s lack of experience held me back. I thought he should get another term in the Senate before making his presidential bid. I figured a Clinton-Obama administration would be perfect and set the Democrats up for an Obama presidency once Hillary left office. Democrats making history back to back.

Unfortunately, once Hillary noticed Obama gaining popularity and electoral votes, she engaged in a smear campaign I thought only the Republicans would dare to start. The election was hers for the taking. When she stooped to mudslinging and fanning the flames that Obama was a Muslim and not born in America, I departed company with Team Hillary. It was a matter of integrity. Lies that are still perpetuated against President Obama sprang from her camp. If this is how Hillary responded under pressure, then she could not represent me.

The racist undertones of her campaign were utterly appalling. When Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. gave his support to Hillary that sealed the deal for me. Forget Obama’s lack of experience on the federal level, he exhibited more poise and diplomacy than Hillary, the elder stateswoman. The way Hillary allowed her campaign to descend into rumors, lies, and race baiting showed deep character flaws. Hillary forever lost my trust. It was  like when Sony emails were leaked and they said disparaging things about women, minorities, and the President and were like we were just joking, we not racist or sexist. Like the phrase in vino veritas, the true character of a competitor is revealed when he starts to lose the advantage. The Clinton’s disdain and utter contempt for Obama was on public display. I was so disappointed in Hillary.

Some readers are probably too young to remember or simply have forgotten the tactics Hillary and Bill used in 2007-08 when they felt that Obama was gaining ground. I never liked the fact that Hillary assumed that because her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had the black vote that she automatically inherited his constituency. It was as if it was a forgone conclusion that the election and the black vote was locked and loaded. In November 2007, Hillary “tells CBS’ Katie Couric that she will be the Democratic nominee, and that the nomination will be sewn up by midnight on Feb. 5, 2008 (Super Tuesday).”

Here are a few examples where Hillary resorted to tactics that resembles today’s Republican presidential race. By December 2007, Hillary started dropping snide comments like “a “fact-check” of Obama’s stump speech line that he’s not running for president because of long-held ambitions cites an essay he wrote in kindergarten titled, “I Want to Become President.” Following snickers from the news media, the Clinton campaign subsequently claims it was kidding.” For those unaware, during slavery and pre-1970, it was commonplace in the South for whites to refer to grown black men as boys to demean them and “keep them in their place.” Hillary’s reference to Obama’s presidential run as a boyish fantasy had racial undertones whether she intended them or not. It started a trend that whenever Hillary attempted to be witty, she came off as either a mean girl or throwing racial comments, even though she consistently apologized that negative personal attacks were not part of her campaign. Need more proof?

Strike One

In January 2008, “Clinton tells Fox News that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream couldn’t have been realized without Lyndon Johnson passing the Civil Rights Act, saying, “It took a president to get it done.” Collective eyebrows are raised, especially in the black community.” – NPR

Strike Two

“A picture of Obama in traditional Somali garb (from an official trip) then appeared on the Drudge Report, and Matt Drudge claimed he got it from the Clinton campaign. After stonewalling on the origin question, the campaign later claimed it had nothing to do with it. A Clinton flack then went on MSNBC and argued that Obama should not be ashamed to appear in “his native clothing, in the clothing of his country.” – The Week

Strike Three

“After it became apparent Mr. Obama won the South Carolina primary that year, Mr. Clinton memorably compared the victory to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s two victories in the state, seeming to marginalize the achievement. He also called Mr. Obama’s antiwar position “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen,” a comment that enraged some African-Americans who interpreted the comment to mean that Mr. Obama’s candidacy was a fantasy”. – New York Times

Strike Four

“The capstone came in May, when Hillary Clinton started openly boasting about her superior support from white voters. The effort was not so blatant as George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton ad, but the attempt to play on racist attitudes through constant repetition and association was unmistakable — in addition to playing into right-wing conspiracy theories that Obama is a secret Muslim who was born in Africa. It’s likely why in West Virginia — a state so racist that some guy in a Texas prison got 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote in 2012 — Clinton won a smashing victory.” – The Week

Even when it was apparent she lost, Hillary took forever to concede and end her campaign. Although some suggested that Obama should have Hillary as his running mate, I thought it was utterly preposterous. This woman threw every weapon at Obama such that the Republicans were like thanks for doing our job for us. There would be no way they could work as team. If Obama made Hillary his vice president, I joked that I would not be surprised if an “accident” happened to Obama and Hillary would have to assume the presidency. Don’t shake your head. Hillary’s actions during the campaign made such a thing plausible. The Clinton’s grudge against Obama never diminished even after he appointed her Secretary of State.

In September 2012, when Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, spoke at the annual Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York, Mr. Clinton gave him advice backstage about how to appear in command when facing off against Mr. Obama in their coming debates. – New York Times

Bill Clinton, a Democrat, advised the Republican candidate for president on how to win a debate against an incumbent Democrat president! If you are a party loyalist, then you my friend just committed treason. That was the final nail in my “Hillary will never get my vote” coffin.

So no matter what Hillary says today, my memory is long. I have not forgotten. In 2007, I wholeheartedly supported what I thought was a strong woman of character and integrity, at least better than her husband. Instead, the 2008 campaign showed that Hillary was not above mean girl tactics, mudslinging, and fanning the flames of birther and Muslim conspiracies. After Hillary’s second faux pax, I headed straight to the Obama campaign office and volunteered weekly. At the South Loop campaign office, I saw young and old and different races. That office resembled Martin Luther King’s dream. I wanted to be on the right side of history. I wanted to make my father proud because he was right about Obama. Obama made change possible. I have not always agreed with everything the Obama administration has done, but this article is not about the Obama administration.

Even today, I am disappointed at how dismissive Hillary was to Black Lives Matter. Regardless of how you feel about Black Lives Matter, police brutality and racially profiling minorities is as American as apple pie. Have you seen the documentary The Seven Five? That was police corruption and brutality in the 1980s. Things have not changed. Yet, Hillary did not consider BLM worthy of engaging until they forced her. Hillary looks at Bernie as if he is not a worthy opponent, almost a farce. Honey, Bernie has non-socialists considering converting because the middle class is bleeding out and we don’t see hope. Sadly, my trust in Hillary to be the elder stateswoman and do the right thing by taking the high road in 2008 was misplaced. Since then her current actions have not done anything to restore trust. “Trust is like an eraser, it gets smaller and smaller with every mistake.” That is why I can’t vote for Hillary. I am out of eraser and cannot forget the many mistakes and missteps.

Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.