What it’s like being a woman canvassing for Hillary Clinton

It’s not easy being a Hillary fan

As an 18-year-old woman of Latina and Irish descent from a hometown with a predominately liberal population, I have the great privilege of being able to say that I’ve been subjected to very minimal discrimination in my lifetime. I have always had the support of my community in expressing my personal opinions, political or otherwise, and have never been ridiculed for them.

You can imagine then my great surprise when, upon my arrival in Tucson, Arizona, I saw individuals driving around in cars with “Support Trump” stickers displayed across their back bumpers and “Make America Great Again” hats proudly sported on their heads. While this new scenery certainly came as a change of pace for me, I took no offense because I have been raised to respect everyone’s opinions, especially politically, regardless on what they are based.

Let me begin with some background. I am working with the “She Wins We Win” campaign which is committed to making sure knowledge about Hillary’s stellar record of achievement over the decades on women’s rights—both domestically and globally—as well as civil rights, human rights, children’s rights, and economic justice, grows exponentially. She Wins, We Win is not only a source of information on Hillary’s record and her vision for the future, but it is building upon the enthusiasm of voters who want a strong woman in the White House. As a feminist myself I was ecstatic when I heard about this position being available to students and immediately jumped at the opportunity to get on board with the campaign.

On my very first day out I was approached by a young woman who had been participating in a young Republicans rally on campus. She walked up to me and informed me that Hilary Clinton was a f—-ing b–ch. Shortly after this encounter I approached a couple of girls who ignored me entirely and then yelled “Go Trump” while pumping their fists in the air once they had passed by me. But the encounter that saddened me the most on my first day of canvasing was a young, slightly built woman who scurried over to me and tapped me lightly on the shoulder. When I turned to her to ask her if she planned on voting in the upcoming election on November 8th she assured me in a whisper so quiet I had to strain to hear her even though just a few inches separated us, that she was, in fact, a Hilary supporter and would like to pledge her support provided I did not tell anyone. I promptly asked her for what reason she was so ashamed to be voting for Hilary. She looked me directly in the eyes with a look of terror, more intense than any I have ever seen in my life, and said “I don’t want to be beat up.”

Later on in that week I received more exceedingly rude and unwarranted comments about Hilary, about individuals’ discontent that I was canvasing for such a candidate, and that they felt it spoke negatively to my character to which I responded I hoped they had a great day and I was sorry we couldn’t see eye to eye. I had Trump supporters interrupt my conversations with comments such as “Build that wall!” These typically would not cease until I acknowledged the commentators, at which point they would laugh and walk away. I had people scoff at my efforts and roll their eyes in my face. But none of these encounters rattled me the way my exchange with the young woman who feared for her safety because of who she chose to support had.

There is absolutely no excuse for a citizen of the United States of America, the self-proclaimed greatest country in the world, the land of the free and home of the brave, to feel as if they are not free to express themselves. The very First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. There is a great injustice being inflicted in this instance, made even more disturbing by the fact that this is occurring on a public university campus. How can students learn and inherit knowledge to their fullest capacity if they are fearful of the repercussions of speaking their minds and asking questions considered to be at all controversial? The answer is they can’t. We can’t allow for individual development and discovery to be hampered by fear.

Our troops overseas are risking their lives each and every day to protect our constitutional rights as a nation. Not only is hostility towards these rights disrespectful to them, it is also disrespectful to our Founding Fathers and the backs of all the Americans before us upon who this great nation was built.

So yes, I absolutely respect everyone’s individual opinions and it is not appropriate for me to judge any other individual’s opinions or try to change them. But I simply can’t respect the manner in which some of these opinions are expressed; filled with anger, hate and scornfulness. We, as American people, strive to make progress in all aspects of society that diminish discrimination across the nation. This includes discrimination of all kinds: race, gender, sexual orientation, and even discrimination based upon differing political ideologies. Therefore, any candidate encouraging discrimination and inappropriate behavior that instills fear in our fellow citizens is not a candidate who can guarantee forward progress and, therefore, is not the candidate for America.

University of Arizona