The "LOCK-HER-UP! LOCK-HER-UP! LOCK-HER-UP!" chant that erupted from time to time during last month's Republican National Convention went up and down my spine like fingernails on a blackboard. Who is this person they want to put away? She certainly doesn't bear any resemblance to the Hillary Clinton whose career I've been following since 1992.
How did this concept that Hillary's not to be trusted get legs, and such vicious legs at that? It's easy to blame the media and the ever-news-hungry 24-hour cycle, more specifically FOX News. It is just as easy to put the blame on our eager-for-dirt public or our American preference for the new and latest model.
Hillary has been under continuous public surveillance for the past 42 years, ever since Bill Clinton started running for office. Like the rest of us, Hillary may have stumbled from time to time along the way, but she has done nothing to deserve the vileness that has been heaped upon her.
Today I'm laying out my reasons for believing that Hillary Clinton is a sincerely trustworthy choice to take on the leadership of our great nation.
I must confess that I am not an objective observer on the scene. I served as a Democrat in the Idaho legislature for 12 years, and my son Bruce worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations for 12 years. We share Democratic concerns for fairness and equality, and are proud of it.
At the top of my list, I trust Hillary to appoint wise and fair justices to the Supreme Court. Hillary has a lawyer's respect for the law. Despite the abundance of lawyer jokes in constant circulation, lawyers make their living by understanding, interpreting and, in most cases, revering the law.
Hillary has stated that her litmus test for Supreme Court nominees will be a pledge to overturn the high court's ruling on Citizens United. That's the ruling that took away the limits corporations and labor unions can spend on candidates' election campaigns. The approaching spending spree we are about to endure is nothing short of obscene.
I trust Hillary to continue her lifelong work on behalf of children. Fresh from Yale Law School, she went to work for the Children's Defense Fund, walking door to door on a project meant to improve the lives of children with disabilities. When Congress rejected her health care proposal in 1994, Hillary helped prepare and promote Senator Ted Kennedy's SCHIP — the State Children's Health Insurance Program of 1997.
I trust Hillary to bring resolve and common sense to the issue of gun violence. The canard that she wants to do away with the Second Amendment is the usual gun lobby nonsense. Nobody's trying to take our guns away. Hillary has called for a "return to common-sense gun safety reform." How can any reasonable person oppose that idea? Hillary is fearless; she can stand up to the National Rifle Association, which cares more about American gun manufacturers than it does about the interests of sportsmen and hunters, or the safety of our children and grandchildren.
Hillary's campaign is understandably focusing on the states where the economy is sluggish. Her economic proposals are tried and true. Aiming tax cuts at small businesses and the middle class, taxing the 1 percent, raising the minimum wage and making college more affordable are all ways to improve the lives of everyday Americans. "It's the economy, stupid," is still the mantra for a national campaign. We are reminded that Bill Clinton is the first and only president to have balanced the budget in nearly half a century.
I trust Hillary to work for peace. She does know and respect the military. She was also the country's top diplomat for four years, visiting 112 countries and traveling nearly 1 million miles in the air. She will be tough but not trigger-happy.
And then there's the woman thing. I must admit I would love to see a woman inaugurated as president in my lifetime. Not because of her gender, but because of her qualifications, her values, her ability and her heart. Hillary's declaration at the World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 that "Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all" still stirs my soul.
Most people do agree that Hillary is the most prepared of all the candidates who have put their names forward in this past year. She's so capable that many find her hard to relate to, much less swoon over. I say, get over it. We're looking for a president, not a Facebook friend — a strong, sane, sensible leader we can count on in a crisis. Hillary has devoted her adult life to serving America. In this election, with so much at stake, she's the only candidate we can trust. ♦