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Presidential qualifications not determined by gender

The second semester of my first year at the University of Maine was the time I really consider myself to have become politically active. I began reading more about local and national politics and made friends with other students who were interested in the same thing. I became so invested in politics that it was basically the only thing I discussed with my peers.

Normally, I would lament about how little credentials I felt Donald Trump had, or how I thought Hillary Clinton was a crook and the like. By the end of that semester the majority of my political discussions began to run together in my mind. However, one particular conversation with a friend during that time stuck with me for a long time.

When the topic of Clinton came up during class one day, my friend admitted that she was only voting for her because she’s a woman. I was appalled at this confession.

I refuse to vote for someone based solely on gender. To me, giving my vote to a candidate based on the gender criteria is superficial. In my perspective, gender is the least important identification of a presidential candidate. I don’t believe that I should be expected to vote for a woman candidate simply because she’s a woman. Being a woman isn’t enough to be considered for president of the United States.

Why should we give our vote to a candidate based on a very small part of her identity? Being a woman is a small part of my identity, but in any case, I wouldn’t expect to achieve any kind of success because of this description. Clinton has extensive credentials that can help her become president — she doesn’t need to rely on any female advantage.

There are far more important reasons to choose a president. Why should we allow race or gender to be so significant?

This is the first presidential election I have the ability to participate in. Ever since the two nominees were chosen following the primaries, I have been going back and forth between which to choose. How can I be expected to vote for a candidate I do not support? By and large, the American public is ignorant. This is quite understandably not a popular statement, however true it may be. Many Americans seem content to support a candidate based on one identifier, instead of looking at the candidate objectively.

Back in 2008, I was 11 years old. My only and most vivid memory of the presidential election that year was watching an episode of “The View” where the topic of discussion was Barack Obama. I can still remember the women on the television screen talking about how amazing it was to have a black politician run for president. Of course, at that time, it was considered a huge step towards racial equality in the Oval Office.

I remember being told that Obama running for president was so historic that Americans should give him their votes solely because we’d never seen a black man in office before. Similar to Obama’s 2008 presidential election, Clinton’s campaign is backed by much female support simply because Americans want to see a woman president.

I do not mean to convey that I’m anti-feminism or against furthering equality of the U.S. presidency. In fact, I consider myself to be a feminist and support more diversity within the White House. However, feminism is not just about the progress of women, but rather, achieving equality for both sexes. In that right, it doesn’t guarantee a woman the presidency simply because she’s female, but understands that if she is elected to office, this will be a huge step in advancing gender equality.

We should not place our trust or the command of our country in a woman whose biggest advantage in the presidential race is using the fact that by electing her, we will once again mark our history books.

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