Written by Shirin Zarqa-Lederman
To my girls,
First, let me say, I am so proud of the women you are becoming, so much so that I felt I owed it to you to explain why I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton regardless of whether or not she becomes the Democratic Nominee in the 2016 Presidential Election. Though I would love for you to see a woman represent the product of one of the greatest revolutionary movements in human history, Madam Secretary defies everything that feminism has become. Feminism was a fair fight for equality. Equality as a human being, is what we should all be fighting for and I will continue to teach you and provide you with examples of what a woman, a believer of feminism is, and I will do so by promising you that I will NOT vote for Madame Secretary.
I have raised you to stop and pick up the litter in front of you, and recycle it. I have taught you to take care of the earth using the tools that Mother Nature gave us to cultivate and nurture the land that we often take for granted. I have taught you to rely on your own resources. Hillary Clinton has long been a supporter of fracking, a process by which natural resources are raped from the earth, disrupting its natural balance and contributing to the increase in earthquakes, flash floods, and Florida’s disappearing coastline. Hillary Clinton has accepted money from Monsanto, which encourages spraying our food with poison and cloning it to create more. GMOs have been tied to an increase in childhood diseases and disorders. That is not how women protect the young. That is not the character of the women you are growing up to be.
I have raised you to believe that as Einstein once said, “peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved through understanding.” I have taught you that every man, woman, and child, has a right to be heard, regardless of whether or not we agree with them. I have raised you to believe that silencing someone who disagrees with you is oppression, and that oppression limits our God-given potential. In this election, she has sabotaged her opponents and their supporters in an effort to squash the competition, complicit in election fraud, money laundering and silencing her opponents from reaching out to their supporters on the Internet. Not playing by the rules is not a characteristic of the women you are growing up to be.
I have raised you to believe that silencing someone who disagrees with you is oppression, and that oppression limits our God-given potential.
I have raised you to believe that individuals in power have a duty to help the powerless. As first lady, Hillary Clinton stood by her husband when he took advantage of a 20-something-year-old intern who was simply fascinated that the President of the United States was interested in her. Madeline Albright, who recently said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” too, stood by President Clinton and allowed that 20-something-year-old to be bullied into hiding. That is not “help[ful]” to the woman, the intern, who was victimized by a man’s abuse of power. Lately, she has used her femininity to suggest that females should vote for her simply because of her gender, though her poor judgment makes her “unqualified” from becoming this nation’s leader. That is certainly not and example of the women you are becoming.
I have raised you to believe that children have the right to a healthy and happy childhood, regardless of who or where they are from. Hillary Clinton refuses to condemn the state of Israel for their “disproportionate” use of force in the summer of 2014 that slaughtered 532 children. She still has not condemned the actions of the Israeli government that continues to support apartheid policies in the state in Israel, and she certainly has not called it a crime against humanity, though the International Criminal Court has confirmed a slew of Israeli war crimes. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has dragged the country into more wars and dismantled the regimes of the Middle East. The situation has caused more children in Syria to die fleeing for safety and drowning in the ocean or being blown to bits for staying in their homes. That is certainly not the women you are becoming.
I have taught you to be women of conviction.
I have taught you to be women of conviction. I have taught you to be certain of your decisions and think through your decisions so you can defend your decisions. I have taught you to break the stereotypical image of a woman who cannot make up her mind. Hillary Clinton supported the war in Iraq, which she now regrets. She supported DOMA-an act to ensure marriage is between a man and a woman – which she now regrets. She supported actions that led to the death of Americans in Libya, which she now regrets; she supported trade policies that cost Americans jobs, which she also regrets. She supported the 1994 crime bill using the term -“super predators,”- leading to the dramatic and disproportionate increase of arrests and convictions of blacks and Latinos. She regrets that too. The women you are becoming have no regrets.
I have taught you to be human. Only when you are human can you qualify yourself as a feminist, a civil rights activist, an environmentalist, and a humanitarian. Above all, I have taught you to be proud of the women you are becoming; never apologizing for your gender or using it as an excuse to hold yourself or others from achieving their potential. I have taught you that when your judgment is sound, when your character is solid, and when your integrity is your greatest asset, you will never need any excuse because no one and nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.
I write this, because regardless of how this year’s election turns out, one day you will ask – because of the women I have raised you to be – why I did not vote for Hillary Clinton. And my response will be the same then as it will be now; you deserve better. You deserve someone who spends his or her political career fighting for equal pay, not one that takes up the cause when it’s popular. You deserve a leader, a role model, that has compassion and empathy for the vulnerable and will stand up and stand against those who oppress -even in the face of adversity and even when standing up means standing alone. You deserve a leader as remarkable as you. I love you ladies, and I love the women you are becoming.