Out of the bars and onto the phones: A crowd gathered at Henrietta Hudson to watch this week’s presidential debate. Now let’s all hit the phones. | DONNA ACETO
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it is essential that we elect Hillary Clinton as president on November 8.
For all the opportunities that 35 years in public life provide to critics – some who are sincere and justified – Clinton’s candidacy in 2016 offers one of the most progressive visions ever articulated on the national stage.
She is on board with advancing major unfinished pieces of the LGBT political agenda, including the Equality Act that would confer on all of us the nondiscrimination protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in employment, housing, public accommodations, access to credit, and other areas.
Clinton has spoken out on threats to the dignity and well-being of the transgender community posed by the wave of inflammatory rhetoric mounted on the question of public restroom access.
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She has called out those on the right who have tried to dress up their bigotry and resistance to simple equality in spurious religious claims, and she understands well how those are linked to the Supreme Court’s dangerous 2014 ruling that allowed Hobby Lobby as a corporation to assert a religious opt-out from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that its prescription drug benefits include contraceptive coverage.
As secretary of state, Clinton made an historic 2011 speech to world leaders in Geneva making clear the US position that “gay rights are human rights,” and she backed that rhetoric up with a repositioning of LGBT issues within the State Department’s worldwide priorities. LGBT human rights activists say that while in previous years they often fruitlessly banged on the State Department’s door, under Clinton and President Barack Obama’s leadership, State utilized the expertise of these activists to improve the effectiveness of its own efforts worldwide.
Clinton sat down this year with leading AIDS activists and endorsed the thrust of their goals, offering solid hope that the progress made during the Obama years in putting science – and not moral judgments – at the fore in developing policy toward the epidemic will continue.
Clinton is a natural on the question of HIV/ AIDS given her lifelong commitment to expanding health care opportunities for all Americans. With the Affordable Care Act facing challenges from both continued Republican recalcitrance and the recent threats by some leading insurers to pull out, America needs a president committed to building on Obama’s progress, which for all the poisoned backlash aimed at it, has brought health care to more than 20 million Americans previously uninsured. Not enough, but not a record we can afford to retreat from.
Clinton’s progressive agenda is clear on a host of other fronts: raising the minimum wage and protecting union rights, expanding paid family and medical leave, ensuring universal pre-K education, eliminating student debt at public colleges and universities, putting sensible gun control measures in place, reforming our immigration system in a just manner, refocusing criminal justice efforts to divert non-violent offenders into alternatives, continuing progress on measures urgently needed to slow climate change, and fixing our corrupt campaign finance system.
On the minimum wage, many will want to push a Clinton administration harder. On criminal justice reform, Clinton has acknowledged the adverse impact of policies enacted under her husband. Democrats have only recently ginned up their courage on gun control. And if a President Clinton cannot deliver on meaningful immigration reform, patience with the Democratic Party in the Latino community will likely begin to wear thin.
But one thing is clear: the alternative to Hillary Clinton is simply unthinkable. As Donald Trump has demonstrated over and over again, he has neither the policy knowledge nor the temperament to be president. His flailing flip-flops make it impossible to discern what his true beliefs are, but in promising to consider as a Supreme Court nominee a federal judge Lambda Legal termed “the most demonstrably anti-gay” nominee in memory or in talking about criminal penalties for women who have an abortion, Trump proved he will do anything to appease the most rabid forces on the extreme right.
Whether about Mexican immigrants or Muslims, he has made explicit appeals to racism; in talking about Russia, ISIS, NATO, and Iran, he has shown utter naiveté about national defense and diplomacy; and in his reckless threats against Clinton, he exhibits an alarming appetite for political violence and thuggery.
Our responsibility is clear. We must help defeat Trump and elect Clinton. Each of us can make phone calls on Clinton’s behalf – and choose the swing state where we’d like to target those calls – by visiting https://www.hillaryclinton.com/calls. For daily updates on what swing states – from among about half a dozen to eight – are most critical, visit Nate Silver’s polling data at fivethirtyeight.com or the New York Times’ Upshot assessment.
There are only 40 days left until the election. The time is now.