"What we are doing in this campaign, it just blows my mind every day because I see it clearly, we’re taking on not only Wall Street and economic establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment. So, I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund and Planned Parenthood. But, you know what? Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time. Some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment."
Let me first say that I respect Senator Sanders. I am honored to have met Senator Sanders. I am thankful for Senator Sanders' support for issues I care about, such as automatic voter registration and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Should Senator Sanders win the Democratic Party's nomination, I will work to help elect Senator Sanders as President of the United States.
I placed that hashtag on the end of some Tweets I made in response to Senator Sanders' comments late Tuesday night. And yes, I support Hillary Clinton. Actually, that's an understatement. I am totally a Hillary fangirl. I own that to the point I described myself as such in an interview I gave while waiting in line to attend the Democratic Forum at Winthrop University. I'm such a fangirl that I was the first person in line to get into said forum.
The hashtag took on a life of its own, as hashtags do, which is great because it opened up discussion on lots of issues from many different perspectives. Even though I don't agree with all of those perspectives, including some from people who support my candidate, discussion that is reasonable and focused on the issues is what makes our country stronger and moves us forward.
Now let's look at the clarification that was made by Senator Sanders about his original statement:
“That’s not what I meant. The question was the endorsement. I am a very very strong supporter of Planned Parenthood. I think they are doing a fantastic job under very difficult circumstances. Very strong supporter of NARAL. Strong supporter of the Human Rights Fund and I think I have a hundred percent voting record for all these organizations. What I said in response to a question about endorsement – what I meant to say anyhow – is that sometimes the grassroots are asking ‘how does it happen if somebody has 100 percent voting record in support of your issue and doesn’t get endorsed?’ And that sometimes the leadership of an organization may look at the world a little differently than the grass roots.” Senator Sanders went on to give a very emphatic "no" to the question of whether or not he views groups like Planned Parenthood as part of the establishment. He also said that a week out from the election, "the Clinton people will try to spin these things."
I'm glad Senator Sanders clarified that he does not think groups like Planned Parenthood are part of what he's fighting against, but his comments, including his most recent ones, don't reflect the way I look at the world.
I want girls and young women to see accomplished leaders like Cecile Richards and Hillary Clinton and say, "I can be that too." I don't want young people to associate the word "leadership" with people who dwell in a separate world from us, don't understand our struggles, and are not listening to us and fighting both for and alongside us.
Secretary Clinton is running for the office of President of the United States at a time when there are huge issues to address in terms of both domestic and foreign policy. Back last June, she gave a speech on voting rights where she said:"Now what possible reason could there be to end pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and eliminate voter outreach in high schools? We should be doing everything we can to get our young people more engaged in democracy, not less."
She was talking about my state, North Carolina, and she was talking about my issue, the actions taken by my state legislature and governor that removed a program that registered over 150,000 teenagers in its short existence and gave them the tools they needed to be prepared to vote. Let me tell you, it's extremely rare to hear any leader, even at the state level, talk about this, much less one of the most accomplished women in the world who is running for our nation's highest office.
So here I am, as grassroots as one can be as a 14 year old high school student, doing what I can in order to expand opportunities that encourage young people to help build our future as a nation, to become the new "establishment" and honor the work of those who came before us to achieve progress not by tearing it down, but by making it stronger.
And there is Hillary, fighting for me and fighting along with me as both a grassroots activist who understands the big issues and the smaller issues that contribute to and are systematic of them, and as an established leader with the experience necessary to identify, work toward, and accomplish real solutions.
We cannot afford to allow those who have established themselves as opponents to equality, prosperity, security, and even science to continue to push regressive policies through our states and in our federal government. It's going to take more than a voting record to stop ALEC and the Koch Brothers from continuing to establish their agenda that hurts women, minorities, young people, and the poor and middle class. It's going to take establishing the leadership in our state and local governments and in Congress that's going to work with whoever wins the nomination to get things done. Hillary Clinton has raised over $18 million so far to help the Democratic Party work to establish the kind of leadership across the country that won't constantly interrupt one of the most astute advocates and leaders for women's health during a five hour hearing over a work of fiction designed to attack our access to healthcare, birth control, education programs, and safe, legal abortion.
As a young woman, I live in a world where less than 20% of Congress is represented by people of my gender, I could be paid less than a man even if I attain the highest level of education, and my rights, the expansion of my rights, and my access to healthcare and comprehensive sex education are under constant attack. My female body is treated as an impediment to the education of boys. As a young person who cares about my country, I live in a world where less than one-quarter of my fellow young people turn out to vote.
If you want to say that because I'm a proud Democrat and #ImWithHer it means #ImSoEstablishment, I will take that label and wear it with pride. This Clinton person is happy to