If this election has taught our generation one thing, it is that young people are no longer just a demographic, but a political force. In the first presidential election to have as many millennial voters as baby boomer voters, we have already made history: bringing to the forefront of both parties’ platforms issues of college affordability and campus sexual assault. But now the time has come to not just push the course of history in the direction we see fit, but cast a vote that emulates the future we want to see. That vote should be for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
As college students, we stand on the tightrope between childhood and adulthood. We want our future to be shaped by hands that are calloused from 30 years of public service, and inspired by a voice that has stood up for the rights of women, children and all Americans alike. She is not our choice because she would be the first woman president. She is not our choice because she is simply an alternative to Republican nominee Donald Trump. She is our choice because she is willing to not only listen to the future the millennial generation envisions, but also change her vision to meet ours.
Already on the campaign trail, following the massive millennial support for former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and his platform of debt-free college, Clinton heard us. She did not take her victory over Sanders in stride. She listened, she learned and she changed. Clinton has a comprehensive plan outlined as to how to improve college affordability, including free public college for students whose families earn less than $85,000, free community college, debt relief and refinancing options, as well as lowering the interest rates on student loans.
Trump, on the other hand, has said students are “choking” on loans, yet offers little to back up how he would fix this problem. College affordability is a real issue, affecting all of us on college campuses. We successfully pushed it into the forefront of the election, so it is time we finished the job, picking the candidate that took it seriously enough to offer us more than empty promises.
Another issue we are faced with too often on college campuses is campus sexual assault. Just last year it was reported that nearly 30 percent of women at USC had experienced some form of sexual assault. That number is not only astonishing, but also cannot be ignored. Students should not have to compromise their safety to pursue an education, and Clinton has laid out an extensive plan for how she plans to provide support for survivors, key in on educational programs and provide a fair process that encourages survivors to report without fear of retaliation.
Her opponent has taken a different, more muddied stance. Putting aside the numerous claims of sexual assault against Trump and the video evidence released by the Washington Post of him bragging to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about sexually exploiting women, Trump and the GOP platform have taken some stances on addressing campus sexual assault that are causes for concern. For example, the GOP platform reads that all sexual assault cases be tried “by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge,” and criticizes the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX to call for campus investigations and disclosure of all sexual assault reports to the federal government.
This is a deeply problematic stance. Although it can hardly be disputed that higher education has been guilty of mismanaging sexual assault investigations, the criminal justice system has as well. The solution is not to simply cease campus investigations of sexual assault. The answer is comprehensive reform, an analysis of our policies and how we can make them better, and there is no better candidate to implement this type of reform than Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton has been a trailblazer her whole life. When she saw injustice, she did not lose her temper, she did not ignore it. Rather, she listened and then took action. In college, Clinton shifted to the Democratic party because she was moved by the political awakening caused by the Vietnam War and civil rights activism. She was part of the political revolution of her time, and she chose to stand up and take action, dedicating her life to public service.
In 1992, while facing ad hominem attacks for her decision to maintain her career as a practicing attorney during her husband’s presidential run, she rallied against the restrictive gender norms that minimized First Ladies to merely heads of the house, saying “I suppose I could’ve stayed home and baked cookies and had teas but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life” — a radical statement regarding women’s role in society for the early ’90s. And in 1995, she stood up and declared that “women’s rights are human rights.” This is the type of leader we need in this era of change we seek in the world.
During her commencement speech at Wellesley College, Clinton’s words still ring true for this critical time in American history: “One of the most tragic things that happened yesterday, a beautiful day, was that I was talking to a woman who said that she wouldn’t want to be me for anything in the world. She wouldn’t want to live today and look ahead to what it is she sees because she’s afraid. Fear is always with us but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.”
Hillary Clinton does not just want to “live today” and “look ahead” without fear, she has had this same goal since she was a college student like us. She was one of us, she will fight for us, and we can be led into the future without fear in her capable hands.
Without hesitation or reservation, the Daily Trojan endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. She’s with us, and now we’re with Her.