As the Democratic Convention is about to start, Voices4Hillary welcomes Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan, playwright of 2014 Tony Award-winning play, All The Way, about LBJ and the Push to Pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Robert tells us Why Hillary. Feel free to share this, especially with Sanders hold outs.

Every four years it seems like this election is the most important ever but I think this year we are faced with a decision which both defines us as a people and seriously threatens the safety and well-being of the Republic. Maybe even the world. I wish that was hyperbole but it isn't.

President Roosevelt famously said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." If you have watched or listened to the GOP convention, it is clear that Trump, and indeed the Republican Party, no longer have anything to offer but Fear. Fear and Hate. Of Hillary Clinton. Of Democrats. Of immigrants. Of Blacks. Of Latinos. Of Women. Of gay men and women. Pretty much everybody who isn't white and Right.

Don't take my word for it, read the Republican Platform. Read Trump's statements. Read Pence's legislative history. And it gets worse.

Trump #RNCinCLE imitating--was it Mussolini? or was it Putin?

Last week in the NY Times Trump wavered in support of NATO countries on Russia's borders – pretty much an invitation to Premier Putin, who, of course, Trump "greatly admires."

To the South Koreans, Trump would withdraw American troops while entertaining visits from Kim Jong-un. He would withdraw from the Iran Nuclear deal and from the Paris Climate Agreement. There is the famous Wall he will build (but Mexico will pay for) and finally the renegotiation of all our Trade and Security Agreements. This is fantasy-land but with very real world consequences.

To the Bernie Sanders supporters who have not made up their minds who they will vote for, I say this. Thank God for Bernie. He did a great job in raising serious issues and in doing so pushed the Democratic Party back towards its more Progressive ideals. But he got beat. He got beat fair and square and by any metric you choose to use. And then, because he is a man of honor, Bernie stood by his vow to support the Democratic nominee and has now publicly endorsed Hillary. To suggest that Bernie has been compromised or bought or traduced into doing so is disrespectful. If you honored him as your candidate, if you believed in what he had to say and trusted his judgement before, I hope you will continue to honor him and trust his judgement as he continues the fight for all Americans by ensuring that the candidate who best expresses his ideals, Hillary Clinton, defeats the candidate who is the antithesis of everything Bernie stands for.

Together. Bernie makes clear he wants Hillary, not Trump.

Hillary Clinton is not perfect by any means. She has withstood twenty years of the most fierce, partisan and unrelenting attacks against any candidate in living memory, I think it is fair to say that if her critics could have found something venal, something criminal, they would have done so. And they didn't. They didn't.

"I just don't like her." Honestly, I don't know what that means. Is this a High School popularity contest? You'd rather "drink a beer" with George Bush? OK. Fine. But we're voting for the President of the United States here, the most important job in the world, and I could give a fuck how entertaining my President is at Happy Hour.

Honestly, I think there is more than an unmistakable whiff of sexism about much of this antipathy to Hillary, a certain familiar "Women belong in their place or they are bad" notion. Women in this country are routinely held to a double standard which most men could never meet, and for female politicians this is even truer, with their failings exaggerated and their accomplishments all too often undervalued or dismissed. Like the famous quote about Ginger Rogers – "she did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels." I tell you right now, there is no male politician in the country who could have withstood the public scrutiny, criticism, and despicable calumny that Hillary Clinton has and done so with as much grace and poise.

But OK, Hillary is not perfect. Please tell me the politician whose record is unblemished. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. Franklin Delano Roosevelt t ignored evidence of Nazi atrocities during WWII and did not help the Jews of Europe. Truman gave Vietnam back to the French. JFK was blatantly unfaithful to his wife and bungled the invasion of Cuba. LBJ doubled down on Vietnam. Bill Clinton signed the 1994 Violent Crime Act. There is no such thing as perfect in Politics.

Politics is always the difficult balancing act of Idealism and Pragmatism. Bismarck said, "The making of laws like the making of sausages is not a pretty sight." But it is necessary work and I want someone who is smart and tough and tested and the person who most exemplifies that on the entire national scene right now, Republican and Democrat, is Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is not a moment for Amateur Hour.

Some people say they will vote in protest for a third party candidate this year, Green or a Libertarian. I invite you to thoroughly vet their candidates and their platforms; I think you will find they don't measure up. Third Parties have always struggled in this country. They have never succeeded on their own but what they have done is put just enough of a thumb on the electoral scale to guarantee victory to one of the two major parties. This year is no different. We all remember Ralph Nader's doomed candidacy in 2000. Nader had no more chance of winning the Presidency than I did (and I wasn't on the ballot). Nader received 97,421 votes in Florida. George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in Florida by 537 votes and became President as a result. Imagine a world in which Nader had withdrawn before the election. Or in which only 1% of those same Nader people voted instead for Gore. No Bush President. No 9/11. No invasion of Iraq. No ISIS. No Federal failure to respond promptly to Katrina. No Economic collapse. Hey, would you like a do-over on that one?

Do you really want 2016 to repeat 2000?

Some small, otherwise progressive groups actually welcome a Trump Presidency on the extraordinary theory that this will hasten a "Revolution" which will sweep away our corrupted two party system and replace it with - something better. This is nonsense. In many ways, it feels similar to the belief of Evangelicals who actually wish for a nuclear war because the End of Times will mean that the return of Jesus will come that much sooner. Revolutions mean carnage and chaos and they rarely if ever end in the Promised Land fantasy of their adherents. Revolutions eat their own.

But if you really want a revolution, elect the first female President in US History. Just as Barack's election altered in fundamental ways the issue of race in this country, so would the election of Hillary. Women continue to get treated like second class citizens in the United States, they continue to be under-paid and their work undervalued, but a Woman President is a strong signal to the country and the world that times have changed and must continue to change. Prejudice and bigotry – and that's what sexism is – always constrain people and limit possibility. What an enormous amount of energy and talent would be released were we to let go of our prejudice in this regard. That's a revolution.

If you don't vote in this election, or you vote for a third party candidate, don't kid yourself – your actions help Donald Trump. They make it more likely that Donald Trump will become President. That is worth voting against. But there is also something to vote for in this election, and that is Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Addendum on Hillary's Running Mate

Tim Kaine delivers a potential advantage among moderate swing-state voters who might have been harder for Hillary to attract. His political success as a liberal Democrat — with a perfect score from Planned Parenthood and an F rating from the National Rifle Association — in a state (Virginia) with a deeply conservative tradition shows an ability to retain his principles while being pragmatic enough to work with Republicans." NY Times.

There never was or could be one choice for VP that would please everybody, we're much too big a tent for that, but I think Kaine is a very good choice. He does the two things you want from a VP. He could in fact step into the Oval Office should something happen to the President and he helps get the ticket elected. Defeat Trump. Elect Clinton/Kaine.


July 24, 2016

Robert Schenkkan is a Pulitzer and Tony Award winning, two-time Emmy nominated writer of Theater, Film, and Television.His adaption of ALL THE WAY is currently playing on HBO and his film, HACKSAW RIDGE, will be released November 4th.

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