As any working mother of two toddlers can attest, it is a victory to claim five minutes to oneself on any given day. Early evenings in our house usually consist of one toddler hanging onto my leg as I cook dinner with another yelling, “watch me, mama,” poised in some precarious situation. There is little time for politics, but this mother of toddlers has decided that there is one trait I am looking for this election year that trumps everything.
Civility. I want a more civil discourse for our children. I want to turn the news on with my two boys sitting on my lap without concern that our leaders will slam someone’s religion or way of life. I want elected officials who know that governing is far more complicated than sound bites, and who take the time to do the hard work of solving problems and working through differences. I want to raise boys who instinctively look for commonalities before differences when meeting new people. I want leaders who are visionary but honest about what we can accomplish, and who respect the diversity of opinions and backgrounds and experiences that comprise this great big wonderful melting pot of America.
I had the honor of working for Hillary. Anyone who observed Hillary in the Senate will tell you that she makes friends across the aisle and lays the groundwork needed to pass legislation. She was often the first to bring another senator a cup of coffee or share credit – exhibiting humility and little ego in the interest of getting the job done. She was impatient when she needed to be, but was intellectually and personally creative when it came to roadblocks, believing there is a way to find a solution to just about everything. She read her briefings religiously, gently told staff when there were omissions, asked questions, expressed interest in just about everything under the sun and was excited about the ability of government to get things done. Zero sum politics is not her style. She inspires hard work and curiosity because those are traits she herself exhibits.
Whereas there is great appeal in Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAnti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Vulnerable NH Republican ties reelection bid to Trump Overnight Finance: Congress poised to avoid shutdown | Yellen defends Fed from Trump | Why Obama needs PhRMA on trade MORE’s (I-Vt.) absolute entreaties to ideals like free education for everyone (as someone who will still be paying off student loans when my one-year old is in college – rock on), but anyone who has spent 10 minutes in Washington knows these types of declarations fall flat. The approach is about as effective as a toddler yelling “mine,” or a politician drawing a Maginot Line in the sand of hollow promises.
Responsible rhetoric is more Hillary’s style. If given the opportunity to serve, she will succeed because she will engage in dialogue with those who disagree. She will take the time to personally get to know members of Congress and what is important to them. It is through a dialogue far greater than throwing barbs on national television that I am cautiously optimistic a new era of civility will take root.
For parents of toddlers who want to raise informed citizens, civility will be the best possible answer to all of those wonderful but endless toddler questions. Perhaps seeing adults working together to address problems on the national stage can even help us to teach children how to solve playground differences. A more civil public discourse will give parents new examples to answer in our own ways why this democracy that we live in is the best experiment in world history. Enough of the name calling. Let’s be real about what we can accomplish together, and let’s elect Hillary Clinton to make it happen. Civility cannot come soon enough.
Blanco is a government and strategic relations consultant based out of Louisiana who worked on Capitol Hill, including time spent in Hillary Clinton's Senate office and the Bill ClintonBill ClintonGingrich to Trump: Don't bring up Bill Clinton's affairs in debate The Trail 2016: Just a little kick Clinton: Cuban 'unsettled' Trump at debate MORE White House.