Mrs. Clinton announced her campaign for the presidency on April 12, 2015 with a 138 second youtube video, entitled “Getting Started.”
The video leads off with desaturated, documentary-style, verité images of several Americans, uniformly middle-class but diverse in every other way (race, gender, age, sexual orientation), presenting a glimpse of their story and their dreams.
Clinton does not appear or speak until the 90 second mark. Her statement is so succinct, there is no need to boil it down. She does it for us. Here is the reason she is running for president:
“Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion….So you can do more than just get by…you can get ahead…and stay ahead.”
Is this the sum of our hopes and dreams: to get ahead, and stay ahead? Ahead of who? Ahead of what?
This is her central platform? To help us pay our bills on time, and maybe helps us ‘get ahead’ of the Jones’ instead of just keeping up with them?
Don’t we have larger hopes and dreams? For peace and an end to wars? For cleaner air and water? For healthy food and better schools? For justice and racial reconciliation? For safer neighborhoods and stronger communities? For an end to hunger and poverty, here and around the world?
When a 2016 presidential campaign announcement make no mention of these larger issues and aspirations, it reduces all of us to the role of consumers instead of citizens. It is worse than uninspiring. It is cynical and deflating, and maybe even offensive.
Do we see ourselves as more than consumers? Will we be citizens, with all the responsibilities it entails, and vote as such?
Extra Credit reading:
Politico offered a great analysis of her use of the term “everyday Americans.” (Are you an everyday American? Is anyone inspired by being labeled ordinary, average, everyday?)