Let’s break the glass ceiling, but NOT #WithHer
Columnist Annamarie Rienzi shares why she will not be voting for Secretary Clinton
Rejoice! America is on track to break the highest glass ceiling in our generation’s lifetime. Soon, young ladies across our nation will finally have a role model who has reached the highest office in all the land. It’s fantastic that we’ve finally come to a point in our country where voters realize that women are just as fit to be president as men. We will elect a female president not because we are in favor of the idea of having a female president, but because that female is a candidate that shares our vision for America’s future, and because we can trust her to carry out that vision.
Having this path drawn out for young women in this country is so important because, as former Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande of New Jersey often said, “If you can see one, you can be one!” This means that those young ladies will feel more confident in their decisions to take risks because they see that other women who have taken the same risks and been rewarded with success. What a vital piece of advice from Casagrande who truly lived every aspect of that mantra as the founder of New Jersey’s Young Women’s Leadership Institute, a mentorship program for young ladies in high school who have an interest in public service.
Who knows, perhaps the first female president is right here among us. Maybe she is the young lady who is in front of you at Starbucks? Maybe she sits in front of you in Macroeconomics? However, one thing is for sure. She will rank among 40 or 50 of the most powerful people in the world, and it will be an amazing moment in history for the entire world to behold.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should not be that woman.
The girls of this country who are aspiring agents of change should not read their history books and recall Secretary Hillary Clinton, the United States’ first female president, as a liar. They should not have to think for a moment if it is morally acceptable to be trustworthy to only 36% of voters as Sec. Clinton is because trust is undoubtedly a vital trait to hold the office of the President of the United States. I hope that they don’t look back on a trailblazer surrounded by so many scandals, like the infamous Emailgate where Sec. Clinton was accused of breaking protocol and using her family’s private email server to discuss confidential matters of national security. She may have been in the clear when F.B.I. Director James Comey failed to recommend indictment. However, the recent re-opening of the case after more emails surfaced that are relevant to the F.B.I.’s original recommendation adds another layer of uncertainty around Sec. Clinton’s innocence.
We owe it to future generations of young leaders to provide them with a great woman to look up to, a woman that they can be proud to follow. I have too much faith in the women of my country to believe that Sec. Clinton is the best we have to offer.
Aside from the dubious lack of incarceration, if Sec. Clinton is elected to be our next president, I fear for the generation of young ladies who would then look to her presidential run for inspiration. I pray that if she is elected, Sec. Clinton has something of a moral turnaround and leads the country in a forthright and honest manner. I would certainly not hold back my praise if that’s the case, considering the alternative. However, even if that occurs, within her campaign, these girls and women will see deception, corruption, and a game rigged in their new role model’s favor. They are not seeing a strong female president elected on her merits; they are seeing a woman who cheated her way to breaking through the highest glass ceiling.
Because of her untrustworthiness among many other undesirable traits, I feel that Sec. Clinton hurts the case for women in their present and future careers as political leaders. By being so dishonest to the American people, she perpetuates the harmful stereotype of women in power as being snakes and reinforces the often held belief that female leaders are liars. Let’s not continue that stereotype by electing a lifelong, calculating, untrustworthy power-grabber. That’s hardly what we want to show the next generation of women leaders.
And to my peers who are struggling to make this nearly impossible decision between two candidates that are the antithesis of role models, I remind you that your choice is not binary.
Annamarie Rienzi is a frustrated voter and junior in the School of Public Affairs.