In the winter of 2008, our family discussed Presidential candidates with the same passion we see today, but without the acrimony marring this year’s primaries. Our children, then 20-somethings, were supporting Senator Barack Obama, while my husband and I supported Senator Hillary Clinton. When the primaries ended, we switched our allegiance to Senator Obama, and spent a week in Nevada walking precincts to get out the vote for his successful Presidential run.
Today, we are once again privileged to be supporters of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Just recently I recalled a letter my husband sent our daughter that winter after one of our discussions, and as it did then, it continues to underscore our reasons for supporting Hillary Clinton.
I share it with you now in the hope that you too will join us in supporting her bid for the President of the United States of America.
I thought of another more personal reason why I have decided to support Hillary Clinton in her run for the Presidency.
I know that you remember when the Jewish Community Center was attacked by a neo-Nazi in Los Angeles, but I don’t know if I ever told you this story.
It was November of 1999, only a few weeks after the horrific incident that injured 5 children and counselors at the JCC and killed a postal worker. As the Director of the JCC, I led the recovery efforts. When politicians and celebrities visited, I didn’t want the scene to turn into a photo opportunity- they could visit to help with the healing, to support the people who had suffered, but not for “PR”.
When the then First Lady, Hilary Clinton, asked to hold a press conference on gun control at the JCC, it was approved on the condition that the First Lady would visit with the children and teachers beforehand to thank them for their courage. Of course, the children wouldn’t really appreciate a “speech”, so we asked that the First Lady read them a book. We chose The Rainbow Fish, a favorite picture book about sharing and friendship.
Her staff found our requirements irritating. They insisted that the First Lady would only visit with the teachers and children for a short time – 3 minutes to be exact. One staff person went so far as to read The Rainbow Fish out loud for 3 minutes (as a test run), and then prominently paste a Post-it note that read “END NOW. GO TO PRESS CONFERENCE!”
I shuddered to think that the First Lady would be reading to a group of children only to stop abruptly and walk out. When she came into the room where about 100 children and teachers had congregated, she began with remarks of respect and gratitude for the courage the teachers showed the day of the attack. The adults in the room teared up. The children knew that they were meeting an important person, someone called the First Lady, but they were most excited that she would be reading them a favorite book.
As she began to read, and she read with animation and enthusiasm to eager listeners, only I knew that the story would be cut short when she reached the Post-it note. She paused briefly when she reached the little yellow sticker and to my amazement, she pulled it off, crumpled it up, and tossed it gently at the feet of the staff person who had placed it in the book. Disregarding the instruction, she went on not only to finish the book, but took the time to hug many of the children when she said goodbye. No one but me, and now you, knew about this private act of caring and compassion.
So, why am I voting for her? Of course I agree with most of her political views, but what I most agree with is the person I saw that day – a leader who cares about people and who does the right thing.