Hilltops
Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

Pictured (left to right): Kiana Brigham ‘17, Omar Russo ‘16, Ethan Kelly ‘16, Dan Gilbert ‘17, Victor Nous ‘17, Will Schultz ‘16, Lauren O’Brien ‘16, Amanda Robinson ‘16, Ambar Perez ‘17, Delaney Shephardson ‘16.

It’s Okay To Be A Woman And Support A Male Candidate

03.01.16


Lauren O’Brien


As the race to the White House is quickly narrowing down, with two left on the left and five remaining on the right, more and more dirt on each of the candidates is becoming public knowledge.


New celebrity and politician endorsements occur almost every day as the candidates strive to win in the early caucus and primary states. Many candidates and their supporters have said many radical things out of desperation of votes; most of the time, these statements don’t go over well with the general public.  


As a liberal, my focus has been on the Democratic candidates during the primary season as I decide who my vote will go to. And while I’ve been a Bernie Sanders supporter from the beginning, I’ve had a few experience that really solidified my vote.


At the beginning of the month, Hartwick’s Political Science Club hosted a trip to Manchester, New Hampshire, where students were able to canvass and phone bank for the candidate of their choice during the weekend prior to the primary.


As New Hampshire is a very important state in presidential elections, I felt very fortunate to experience this first hand. The most impressionable moment for me was attending the 100 Club’s Democratic Rally. Hosted at the Verizon Wireless Center, the arena was split in half: the left side for Hillary Clinton supporters and the right for Bernie fans. After listening to many New Hampshire Congressmen and the head of the Democratic National Committee, we were able to hear Bernie and Hillary speak. It’s one thing to watch political candidates speak on the television, but it’s a totally different experience to view it live.


Bernie spoke first, with passion and drive in his voice. He spoke of mostly domestic issues, including climate change, repealing Citizens United, marriage equality, and creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. But he also spoke about Planned Parenthood, pay equality, and paid maternity leave, which really resonated with me. I’ve heard him speak about these issues through the media, but hearing his voice in person discussing women’s issues really pumped me up.


Hillary spoke next, and of course she spoke about women’s issues and other problems that face our nation, but I just cannot find myself feeling drawn to her. She has flip flopped her opinion on the issues based on popular opinion in order to gain votes. To me, she feels inauthentic when she speaks.  Again, only my opinion, but that’s how I feel.


Following Bernie’s speech, a few of us were interviewed by The Washington Post and The Guardian because of how excited we were throughout Bernie’s speech. By the end of his speech, six or seven media reporters were crowded in our area because of our intensity for Bernie. One question I was asked was, “So even though you’re a woman, why do you support Bernie?  Obviously Hillary would have an invested interest in issues that regard gender equality?”


I think about when Gloria Steinem, who has been one of my role models, suggested that young women only support Sanders to gain attention from boys, and when Madeliene Albright stated that, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” alluding to women who gravitate toward Sanders. And while they are both highly respected women, I cannot agree. Intersectionality is much more important, as it takes not only gender into account, but also race, class, and other social constructs. For example, a middle-class white woman is going to have very different needs than a Latina, transgender poor women.  It is naive to assume that they are going to need the same things strictly because they are women. Sanders seems to be the only candidate that is addressing issues of intersectionality, not just feminist, which explains why millennial women lean toward Bernie.


I would love to see a woman in the White House, I really would. But I want it to be the right one: a candidate that resonates with me and seems genuine. There is this assumption that if you are a woman, you should support Hillary. I feel that Bernie will fight for gender equality just as hard. So, for my lady Bernie supporters, I know that you are not supporting him to get attention from your peers, and no, you are not going to hell for having your own opinion.


Continue to be proud in whichever candidate you choose, and remain up-to-date on the latest issues concerning the candidates. New York’s primary is coming up on April 19, so be sure you are confident in your vote and your candidate, whomever it may be.