This year’s presidential election has been arguably one of the most contentious and divisive elections in American history. Voters on either side – whether they are supporting Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or any of the other third party or independent candidates – have voiced their opinions on their candidates with a fire that some of us haven’t really seen before. Those voters make up an electorate that is on edge, and given the many issues we as a nation face moving forward – issues ranging from civil rights to national security from an unpredictable threat in the Middle East – we need to ensure the person we elect represents America in a firm, but professional and respectable way.
This editorial is not about who not to vote for. Sure, we could go on a rant over what Donald J. Trump has done wrong: using a “loophole” to not pay federal income taxes for almost 18 years that we know of; threatening to ban all Muslims from entry into our country — one comprised of and founded by immigrants; degrading women both by alluding to sexually assaulting them or just belittling them over weight and looks; being sued for exhibiting racism by not allowing black tenants to rent apartments owned by him and his father; inciting violence against his opponent; or demeaning and berating a Gold Star family.
Rather, this editorial is in support of Hillary Clinton. We acknowledge that some of her actions are not perfect. But, on election day, as a member of a democratic society, we all have a duty to vote and we really have two choices for president of the United States. We think the one with more experience, a better temperament, and actual policies and plans to be the better choice.
So how does this affect you, readers of The Record in Madison County?. We could talk national issues but our goal has always been to focus on how things affect our readers and citizens of Madison County.
Mrs. Clinton has said, “I believe a strong America depends on strong rural communities. For prosperity to be real and lasting, it has to take root … in small towns and in rural areas across the country.” Arkansas is a rural state – Mrs. Clinton lived here. She knows the struggles of small town working Americans. She did not inherit a real estate business in New York City like her opponent, who has never lived outside of New York City. After leaving the White House, she bought a house in a small town in upstate New York.
She has a plan specifically aimed toward farmers – to increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers in local food markets and regional food systems. And she’ll create a focused safety net to help family farms get through challenging times. Her plan also calls for a commitment to clean energy by assisting farms that conserve and improve natural resources. She’ll also strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard and double loans that help support the bio-based economy. This is but one plan she’s detailed, while her opponent has yet to produce any real or substantial plans should he be elected president.
Even closer and more specific to Madison County, as first lady of Arkansas, Mrs. Clinton spent hundreds of hours working for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. That’s the same hospital that is building a branch in Northwest Arkansas that will directly affect the children of Madison County. Mrs. Clinton helped grow the institution into the establishment it is today, even helping the hospital secure a good enough bond rating to borrow the money it needed to expand. It’s now taken that expansion into Northwest Arkansas. While Mr. Trump was building his empire in New York City, oftentimes not paying his contractors, Mrs. Clinton was here, working for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, a hospital that will directly affect the health of Madison County citizens.
More generally, Mrs. Clinton has a plan to create jobs. As more people find work, our economy grows. Second, she knows that when the middle class succeed the economy grows. She wants to invest in infrastructure and rebuild or expand our roads, bridges, rail, broadband, public transit, and water and energy infrastructure. Two issues we hear frequently about in Madison County are the condition of the roads and the growth of supplying more water to our citizens. Mrs. Clinton is the only candidate to address those issues with an actual plan. The things Mrs. Clinton wants to pay for are the very things that Mr. Trump has avoided paying for by exploiting a “loophole” to avoid paying federal taxes for at least 18 years.
Further, our staff here at The Record is comprised of people who have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. Mr. Trump’s treatment of women – including, but not limited to his degradation of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, his constant insults toward women he finds unattractive, and the recently-released recording where he made comments condoning and even suggestion his participation in sexual assault – not only shows his true views of women, but highlights the fact that Mrs. Clinton’s rise to the Oval Office is both an example to growing children everywhere and a testament to the social progress this country has made over the last 50 years. Social progress that we believe, should Mr. Trump be elected, could be moved backward.
Let’s address the elephant in the editorial: We think Mrs. Clinton did make a mistake using a private server for her emails, and she’s admitted such. She has not been charged with that as a crime. She has been cleared of any wrongdoing. We know she is not perfect. None of us are. We know the campaign is ugly. We’ve watched the debates — both presidential and the vice presidential debates. She has a lot of political baggage. We know it. We get it. But between the flawed candidates, we believe in her experience and in her plans. We believe she will be the best choice for Madison County. She has a plan that directly impacts our county for the better. Mr. Trump has no plans, no policy and lacks the temperament to lead our country and impact our county.
Most of the people who support Mr. Trump do so because they dislike Mrs. Clinton. We hear nothing from Mr. Trump on policies; in fact, he has no plan. Not only does he not have a plan, but by his own admission, he hasn’t even spoken with his running mate, Mike Pence, about policies on international relations — specifically Syria — should the two reach the White House. People who support Mr. Trump dislike Mrs. Clinton more than they like him. It’s kind of like exercising — we don’t like to do it, but we should. If we don’t exercise — if we vote for Trump — our health declines. Our country declines. If we exercise and vote for Mrs. Clinton, we stay healthy, productive, and able to sleep more soundly at night.
We encourage you to keep our country and our county healthy. We encourage you to vote for Hillary Clinton.