I used to think that there were only two ways to choose your candidate for political office. One, you could vote the same way your parents vote. Or two, you could vote a straight one-party ticket.
But the world does not see out of only blue-tinted glasses or red-tinted glasses. We see out of a pair of rainbow glasses— ones with many political opportunities, choices,
and opinions to make.
For the 2012 presidential election, I was eligible to vote for my first presidential candidate. I chose to vote for Barack Obama, primarily because I agreed with the predominant issues he stood for. But on the other hand, my immediate family was voting for Barack Obama, and that had a pull on my influence.
Now that I’m 22, a senior in college, and getting ready for the 2016 presidential election, I wanted to make my own decision that was completely informed by my own research.
Personally, I am a Democrat. I researched all of my options, but was quickly able to narrow my choices. And after research and my best attempts to understand the platforms of both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, I came to my decision. #ImWithHer.
I’m choosing to place my vote with Hillary Clinton and I came to that choice with my brain, not with my vagina. Because yes, people have actually said that a vote for Hillary is thinking with your vagina. It might be 2016, but that statement sends women back decades.
I am not voting for Hillary because she is a woman. I’m voting for her because I agree with many of the issues that she wants to address if she becomes President.
I used to think that when you chose a candidate or a political party, you had to agree with all of their opinions and stances— but I realize now that this is not true at all. I see issues from both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but I have more alignment with Hillary’s platforms over Bernie.
I was fortunate enough to get to see Bernie Sanders at a town hall event at George Mason University in October 2015. He gave an impassioned speech and really reached for the millennial audience. I knew I was considering voting for him, so I wanted to attend to see what he had to say. People might shame a woman for voting for a man running for the presidency, over the woman running— but that anti-feminist viewpoint is nothing short of illogical.
You know what equality means? Equally considering all of the candidates, regardless of gender.
Bernie represents a faction of the millennial voters that contain a lot of women who call themselves feminists for Bernie. And that’s fine, in fact it’s great. You can be a feminist who votes for Hillary; but you can also still be a feminist if you choose to vote for Bernie.
I was fortunate again to have the opportunity at George Mason to attend a Hillary rally in February 2016, the day before Super Tuesday. While I enjoyed seeing Bernie in the fall, seeing Hillary speak right before the primary really drove home the reasons why I believe she is the best candidate for the presidency.
At the end of the day, we are not just elephants or donkeys. We are more than our political opinions.
This article previously was published in 2016 by Tote Magazine. © Rachel Shubin 2017