A few weeks ago, I posted a note on LinkedIn and Facebook asking whether people who disliked Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would consider writing in Michael Bloomberg as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.
Since then I’ve answered this question for myself and evaluated why I think it’s worth voting for Hillary Clinton, despite her questionable judgment and run-of-the-mill, election-year promises.
My reasoning can be boiled down to one word: “Inclusion.”
Our Tendency to Exclude
History is replete with examples of people excluding individuals and groups based on their race, gender, caste or other social classification – things that people can’t change about themselves. Being excluded from a clique, gang, fraternity, sorority, club, religion, school, political party or some other social organization limits what we can achieve. From the standpoint of social evolution, humanity is still crawling its way towards inclusion as a way of being.
What stands in our way is our natural tendency to avoid and exclude the unfamiliar. We fear what we don’t know or understand and therefore avoid or exclude it from our surroundings. If exclusion comes naturally to us because of unfamiliarity, then to foster an inclusion mentality, we must initially create structures that force familiarity. Humans have the unique ability to do this.
The United States, through its constitution and legal system, forced desegregation and made the presence of African Americans familiar in schools and thereby in a wide variety of professions over time, including politics. The stage was set for the collective American psyche to accept that an African American could lead this country and to eventually prompt people to vote for Barak Obama to be president.
Barak Obama’s tenure as president has effectively shattered the glass ceiling for African Americans aspiring to attain the highest office in the country. His tenure has also shattered any psychological barriers in the American psyche that questioned whether an African American could occupy the highest office. Barak Obama’s presidency ushered in a new age of inclusion for African Americans who want to avail of any opportunity the United States of America has to offer.
The Foundation of Presidential Legacy
In the past eight years of Obama’s presidency, I’ve learned that without cooperation between parties in Congress the Senate and the Executive branch little of significance can happen for the people of the United States. The burden on the president to find common ground and use it as the foundation for advancing an agenda is monumental. History will be the final judge of Barak Obama’s success at fostering cooperation during his presidency. Much of his legacy is at risk in the current election because he seemed unable to achieve common ground and thereby secure his achievements.
In the current election, we have a choice between two equally divisive individuals, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
On the most basic level, Donald Trump is a bully, not a leader. To find evidence, you need only look at his demeaning treatment of his ally, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. For all his accomplishments, Christie was reduced, in Trump’s presence, to a sidekick who needed to be told what to do and complied without question. I imagine anyone demeaned by Trump through public comments and brushed aside for the next shiny object is reminded of painful events in the schoolyard when they were bullied and demeaned by a peer.
While Trump’s bully behavior with those close to him may yield compliance, if he’s elected, that same behavior with those outside his circle will generate resentment and resistance to his agenda. His philosophy of exclusion will result in a regression of the American psyche to a less mature and evolved state. Congress and the Senate will remain in gridlock if he is elected. He will not be able to lead effectively because he will not be able to find common ground. Therefore, he will not achieve his extremist agenda.
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, finding common ground with those in the opposite camp will seem like an insurmountable challenge. All of her experience aside, not being able to inspire people from both parties to come together will be a threat to her legacy.
So why vote for Hillary Clinton?
I will vote for Hillary Clinton for the simple reason that she represents, for the American psyche, a significant, social, and evolutionary step towards greater inclusion. She stands on the threshold of shattering the glass ceiling for women and my 9 year old daughter by being the first woman to be elected to the highest office of the United States. Most importantly, Hillary Clinton’s achievement will serve as nourishment for the germinating belief in my daughter’s psyche that she can achieve anything she wants to.
I want my daughter to spend the next four years seeing a woman lead this nation and learn through discussions with her parents and others what Clinton is doing well and how she might do things differently as she navigates, what, quite literally, still is a man’s world. I want her to know that she, like Hillary Clinton, can overcome all social barriers to her pursuit of happiness.
Copyright 2016 by Andrew Shamrao, All rights reserved.