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‘It’s Never Anyone’s Turn to Be President’
By Claire Kozak, Editor in Chief
Brearley Prep School Newspaper
Manhattan, New York
From THE SCRAPBOOK
The Weekly Standard
JUL 6, 2015, VOL. 20, NO. 41 •
The Scrapbook’s faith in the younger generation has just spiked upwards. A reader emails us an editorial from the Zephyr, student paper of the Brearley School, the very liberal prep school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A tip of The Scrapbook’s homburg to author and editor in chief Claire Kozak for the cogently argued and gracefully written piece, which we reproduce here:
I am, without question, a feminist. I have attended an all-girls school for nearly ten years, and I have had the remarkable opportunity to grow up in an environment that is dedicated to educating and empowering women.
However, Hillary Clinton’s popularity seems to be based on her identity as a woman. Since she announced her candidacy in a video where she claimed to be the voice of the “everyday American,” she has answered very few questions on substantial issues. She’s spoken about a small number of key issues including campaign reform and immigration—topics where her opinion will be popular among the Democratic community.
But mainly, her selling point is speaking for the American people. This might be a noble cause, but it is a campaign strategy that doesn’t tell us much about her plans. And yet, she continues an unusually smooth and silent glide towards the White House. In early February, President Obama’s former campaign manager Jim Messina voiced the phrase that many have now made their own, “It’s Hillary’s Turn.”
This phrase has a complicated history. In past years, it has actually referred to the political tradition of the vice president or vice presidential candidate becoming the party’s nominee. However, the phrase has been appropriated by many of Hillary’s fans to signify her rightful claim to the oval office because it’s time for a woman president.
But the fact is, it’s never anyone’s turn to be president. The presidency is one of the most complex and demanding positions in the world, and when someone is chosen to lead the United States of America, it should be because they are the most qualified person for the job. Gender, race, socio-economic status, or religion should not factor into a presidential election.
Margaret Thatcher did not become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom because of her gender. She earned the votes of the British people with the clarity of her positions. She made it very clear what her policies were, and she won that office three times.
Benazir Bhutto did not serve two terms as the Prime Minister of Pakistan because she was a woman—she led her country because voters thought she was the most equipped person to do so at
Golda Meir was elected as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel because of her politics and previous experience as the Minister of International Affairs. All of these women leaders were highly qualified and clear in their positions.
If anyone “deserves” to be president, it should be because of his or her policies, promises, plans for the country, and political record. It shouldn’t be because the government needs to diversify. Feminism and gender equality are relevant and highly important issues, without a doubt.
And when we do elect a female president, it should be because she is the most qualified person for the job, because she has won the hearts and minds of the American people with her promises and positions on national and international issues.
As of now, Mrs. Clinton has barely campaigned. She has steered clear of major issues like America’s war on terror or her plans for the conflict in the Middle East, focusing instead on the feel-good notion of representing Americans. She has spoken only on issues of little substance, and has avoided controversial and personal topics that need to be addressed.
So, Mrs. Clinton, start answering questions. Start telling us your policies, instead of making general statements about how you want to be the voice of the American people. Show us why you are the most qualified person for the job. Once you can do that, you might get my vote. But you need to earn it, first.
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