Halt the Hillary Hate

Rising Voices 2015-2016 fellow Abby Richmond with her brother on election day 2008

If you know anything about me, you know that I love Hillary Clinton. I’ve been infatuated with Hillary since 2008 when she ran against Barack Obama. One of the most iconic pictures from my childhood is a blurry photo of eight-year-old me holding a sloppily drawn sign for Hillary on Super Tuesday of that year. I didn’t know too much about politics back then, but I knew fervently that Hillary was my favorite candidate. I still remember my crushing disappointment when Hillary didn’t win the nomination (although admittedly I do love Obama). Flash forward to 2016, and we’re in the midst of a wild and unpredictable election. My incredibly liberal high school peers have decisively picked out the candidates they hate. Names such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are thrown around every day with disgusted sighs and long, negative Facebook posts. Another name included in this list of villains? Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is openly scorned at my high school, and I’m not quite sure why. My town is probably one of the most liberal places in all of Massachusetts, so the Hillary hate seems random. Unfortunately, it’s extremely common—at least among Newton teenagers. The majority of my peers and classmates are obsessed with Bernie Sanders—without ever giving a clear explanation as to why—and despise Hillary without ever providing a good reason. It’s even spread to the far corners of social media. If you’re a millennial, you’re likely all too familiar with Bernie’s face all over your Facebook or Instagram, usually placed next to an unflattering picture of Hillary in sexist memes. The ‘Hillary hate’ online has even reached the point where multiple Bernie supporters at my school blocked me on Instagram shortly after I posted a picture appreciating Hillary Clinton for International Women’s Day. Ugh.

In school, I overhear worrying dialogue every day. “I hate Hillary Clinton,” a boy in one of my classes randomly declared a few weeks ago. “Why?” I probed him. “Bro, I don’t want to start an argument right now. I just hate her,” he replied indifferently. With difficulty, I bit back the retort I wanted to give to his non-sensical logic and replied instead, “Well, that’s not a very good reason, is it?” Instances like this have happened more times than I can even remember. I often suspect that the reason many of my classmates can’t explain why they hate Hillary is because this opinion did not originate with them. Most of my peers are just a couple years away from voting…what does this mean for the election process in our country? I, for one, am scared.

Here’s the thing. I genuinely like Bernie, but I’ve educated myself about both the candidates, and after learning as much as I can, I still prefer Hillary. I had the chance to meet Hillary at a fundraiser in October, and I was blown away by her impressive foreign policy knowledge, her passion for women’s rights, and her authentic desire to improve the lives of the people of this country. I believe that she has the experience, the smarts, and the disposition to run our country, and I know she would make an amazing president. To me, the fact that she’d be the first woman president is just the icing on the cake.

I understand that many people support Bernie because they believe strongly in his platform of reducing income disparity in our country, and I respect that. The kids in my school who follow politics and are informed on the candidates’ positions have my respect, regardless of whether they prefer Hillary or Bernie. I really enjoy having intellectual conversations with them about the presidential race—conversations that expand both my perspective and theirs. I respect the fact that we support different candidates, and their knowledge makes me work harder to learn about the issues and be a better advocate for Hillary.

As the Hillary hate has grown, I’ve started working harder to speak up on this topic with my peers. Whenever my friends put forth an inaccurate statistic about Hillary, I make it a point to email them multiple sources that correct their point. If someone I’m connected to on Facebook posts a negative comment about or photo of Hillary, I do my best to counter it with a post that does her justice. When I hear a very liberal peer repeat misinformation about Hillary that obviously originated from a right wing smear campaign, I try to remind them to be critical of the source.  On Super Tuesday I recruited a bunch of my friends to join me in holding up signs for Hillary outside our local voting place and having civilized conversations with voters explaining why we support her. Although one Bernie supporter told me I didn’t change his position, he did make me step up my game in defending some of Hillary’s policies, and I respected him for that.

I hope that by the time we’re all allowed to vote, my friends and classmates will take the extra time needed to become fully informed. Whether you like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, or EVEN Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, I’ll try to respect our differences as long as you try to defend your choice with facts and real reasons. I really hope to one day see a social environment that is open to new ideas and welcomes political dialogue. Until that day comes, though, I’ll just keep trying to change minds respectfully and knowledgeably, one step at a time. And hoping that the Hillary haters stay home on election day.

This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.

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You seem to assume that most people who like Bernie at your school are sexist and misinformed, at least, that's how your article comes across. But the people you talk to most likely actually don't want to get into a political argument in school. The reason most people hate Hillary is because they value something different in their candidate than you do. They value transparency and consistency, which Bernie has much more of than Hillary does. They value a candidate who has a progressive stance on issues that don't specifically regard them /before/ it's popular (ie. Bernie w/ Gay rights. Being for gay rights in the 1900s was NOT easy at all compared to today, and yet Bernie was standing up for gay rights a good 20 years before Hillary was in 2013)

And that's totally fine. We don't have to value the same thing in our candidates. But don't assume everyone who hates Hillary is a sexist boy.

Abby: Many people are intimidated by smart women. Do not EVER let this hold you back. Many women hate Hillary because she's smart. The achievements of women in all areas have been discounted and hidden for over 200 years. Art that was completed by women over 200 years ago is just now being taken out of storage and being shown because women were not considered worthy. Many women writers, I'm sure you know, used male names, so they could get paid. A book you might want to read is: "The War Against Women" by Marilyn French; this is a 30 year old book, but reads like it could be yesterday's news. Women's accomplishments in Science is just now coming to light. Women have been held back in all industries since the Industrial Revolution. You cannot make people stop hating, but you can set an example by never letting them get you down, and never holding yourself back. Hillary is a great role model and she would love to meet you, I am sure of that. Thanks for writing.

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How to cite this page

Richmond, Abby. "Halt the Hillary Hate." 11 April 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 20, 2024) <http://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/halt-hillary-hate>.