Hillary Clinton Endorsement

April 19, 2016 (West Hollywood, CA)

By: Christopher Nikhil Bowen

The political revolution Bernie Sanders began (or more accurately, uncovered) is not over.  However, his campaign as a true contender to be our party’s nominee, is.  It is for that reason why I, without hesitation or mental reservation, unequivocally endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.

In 1999 I watched nervously as my little state became the focus of the nation.  Our Vermont legislature was debating the merits of the rights’ of same-sex couples after the Baker v. Vermont decision in December 1999. Their findings stated same-sex couples should not be denied marriage benefits. In the spring of 2000 Governor Howard Dean signed into law the bill proposed by the legislature instituting Civil Unions. Then-U.S. House Representative Bernie Sanders supported this legislation.

Take Back VermontThe 2000 state elections (held in November) became a vicious referendum on those that supported equality. The culture war battle lines could not have been drawn any more clearly. Conservatives felt the state was being overrun by “white plater” values (a derogatory term used in Vermont against those who had previously lived in New York or Massachusetts and held liberal values). I saw signs spring up along the rural countryside and even some of my neighbors’ lawns, they read “Take Back Vermont”. They were angry. I, like many LGBT members, were scared. I didn’t know what to think.  I knew I wasn’t a white-plater, and I loved Vermont; therefore, I should be against Civil Unions. I was preconditioned by my culture to reject the leftist homosexual “agenda”. I also knew even then that I wasn’t like most of the other boys in my class, but I wasn’t brave enough to come out — especially under such a tumultuous time for the gay rights movement in Vermont and the country.  I was born in India and was adopted nearly at birth. My parents are white but all four of my siblings and I are minorities. Vermont is the second whitest state in the union, we were different enough as it was, coming out just seemed like I was being selfish.

In 2001 I went on to serve as a Vermont Legislative Page in Montpelier.  I listened intently from the House and Senate floor as my friend and state Representative Gaye Symington defended herself against the ravenous right and even moderate Democrats on her vote in favor of civil unions. Gaye Symington watched in dismay as dozens of her allies in the fight for same-sex rights fell victim to hate in the 2000 elections. The “Take Back Vermont” movement claimed many more seats that year. The Democrats were weakened, but undeterred in their quest for equality.

Gaye SymingtonIt gave me pause when I saw Mrs. Symington supporting Civil Unions.  She was a great mother to my friend Sam, and I spent many days at their house playing baseball in the backyard or traveling to Montreal in their funky VW van to watch the Expos take on the Red Sox.  She represented my small town of Jericho, Vermont in the legislature and she was a well-respected mother and figure in our community.  Even though at the time I felt the left was too extreme, I didn’t feel that way about Gaye Symington.  That is what leadership looks like.[1]

In 2002 I was a freshman at Mount Mansfield Union High School, and I decided to write a term paper on Civil Unions.  My mentor Dot Kurth ran a “learning lab” at the High School designed for students who needed extra help on their studies. I often went to her for support and advice. She offered to help with my term paper and even invited me to visit her same-sex  female neighbors to conduct an interview.  I went to their home and they expressed to me their exasperation with the Republican Party.  They said, “[w]e just had a baby, we are the embodiment of family values!  How can the Republican Party tell us we can’t visit each other in the hospital when the other gets sick? What happens to our finances if one of us dies? How can we make sure our child is taken care of?  The system is rigged against us.”  I found myself nodding in agreement time and again, almost in tears at times. I could sense their feelings of anguish and pain.  It was there where I changed my mind, gay rights ARE human rights!

I attended undergraduate university at a southern catholic university, and I tried to slowly come out of the closet. Firstly I unveiled my secret to the closest of friends. The university and the students were not known for their support of the LGBT community, but it was something I felt I needed to do.  The arduous task of coming out became easier with time. It helped that I was in Arlington, Virginia, over 500 miles away from home, and moved to Paris for 6 months to study and “discover myself.” My family finally made me come out to them when I was in grad school.  It was a long process and it was not easy.

As a college senior, I became a legislative intern for United States Senator Bernie Sanders.  I could not have been more proud.  I was working on behalf of the great people of Vermont on Capitol Hill.  We were not treated well though, as many on the Hill thought that Sanders was not “going-along-to-get-along.” Staffers of Democratic Party Senators mixed together at lunch and after work. We were oftentimes not extended the same treatment as our boss was an Independent socialist.  I resented their cliquish ways and wore my Sanders employment badge as a true badge of honor.Bernie Sanders

After my post-baccalaureate study at Oxford, I moved to Los Angeles for graduate school and fell in love.  My Panamanian fiancé and I know we are going to live the American dream. I also know we need to fight to keep that dream alive.

I have been a proud Vermonter my whole life. Since the beginning of Bernie Sanders campaign for President and well before, I have been an outspoken advocate for him in my community. However, it is clear to me that Bernie Sanders will unfortunately not go on to capture our party’s nomination.

Our country can now go in two opposite directions when it comes to marriage equality and so many other human rights issues.  We can go forward or we can go back.  I am slated to be married to the love of my life next year, and I cannot imagine a world without that legal right. Actually, I can, and that’s why it is so imperative that we coalesce behind our party’s choice, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton 4.19.16Today, I see unprecedented protections bestowed on LGBT peoples.  As a gay rights activist with the Stonewall Democratic Club and the Stonewall Young Democrats I fight every day to ensure that my community is treated with the respect I know we all deserve. On the campaign trail I’ve heard Hillary Clinton affirm the importance of the LGBT community, of women, of minorities, of Spanish-speakers, of civil rights, of her reluctance to use military force aboard, and so many more issues my generation holds dear.  I cannot afford a Republican presidency, we cannot afford to go back.  I refuse to go back. Stand with me friends as we press forward for a better America with Hillary Clinton.  I have endorsed Hillary Clinton for President tonight, and I urge you to do the same!

[1] Gaye Symington went on to become elected Vermont’s Speaker of the House in 2005, and held that position until 2008.  She unsuccessfully sought the governorship in 2008.

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Posted on April 19, 2016, in Democratic Presidential Primary, Presidential Primary 2016 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Please convince Bernie that it is time for the vitriol and hatred from his supporters to end. He must speak out against the Bernie or Bust movement.

  2. Well said and proud of you. Senator Sanders needs to concede and support Hillary now and motivate his supporters to support her also. Susan Sarandan on the other hand by saying she would support Trump is disgusting.

    • Even if Bernie said vote HRC, I would not. I am planning on changing my voter registration after the PA Primaries. I have been registered and voted Democrat all my life. I don’t like the way Democrats treat other Democrats when they don’t follow the status quo. We are supposed to respect HRC supporter’s decision to vote for her but they don’t respect ours. I hope he runs third party. He could win. He has debated, gotten a YUUUGE following unlike typical 3rd party candidates that nobody even hears about. I am my own person and have the right to vote my conscience. That is the beauty of America. #BernieOrBust

  3. Bernie Sanders made lots of promises to young voters and students that he cannot do as President.
    Free college tuition like in Denmark in America this will never happen and other promises he made to all voters and the American people.
    You never make promises that you cannot do unless you have a majority of Democrats in Congress and Senate.
    Even having a majority will raise questions?
    I always support the Democratic party because of issues with Republicans party major Holocaust issues and Policies.
    I am a conservative and liberal Democrat who supports all diversity people in America.
    This is what the Lord wants us all to do is help each other in life and don’t have greed and selfishness in your heart,because evil is not accepted in the Lord Kingdom.
    I am a Honorable US Military Veteran and please support all our Military Veterans.

  4. Hillary Coattails needs to stop lying and cheating. She still won’t get my vote because I vote for real Democrats. Have fun defending this piece of shit. She’s your piece of shit. Congratulations!

  5. Thank you Christopher. You are a true role model for all of us.

  6. Wow, this is bizarre. Why are you implying that only Clinton supports gay marriage? Have you forgotten about DOMA? Bernie was always for gay marriage, Clinton not so much.
    I will never vote for her. I see a trail of devastation of families and destruction all around the globe thanks to her.

    • Senator Sanders have been an allied for the gay movement early on, but to say he was always pro gay marriage that’s an overstatement. He only showed support for gay marriage in 2009. He did supported civil unions since 2000, so i would assume he evolved liked Hillary Clinton did. What matters is that they did not when. Hillary has been an allied of the gay community as well, she supported civil unions way back in 1999. In 2013 she stated her support for gay marriage.

    • Right…That is what I am saying.

    • So have fun with your Trump of Cruz you deserve!!!

  7. Mary, I am sorry you feel that way..maybe you need to stop using hate and discover the good Sec. Hillary has done since she was a young woman.

    Do not believe all you are told by those who will gain by your distrust.

  8. I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. She does not represent me. I don’t think it’s fair that his supporters are being backed into a corner to vote for her when they do not feel she represents them or the democratic party for that matter. I am hoping that if he does not get the nomination he goes third party. There are many that like you switched support because they feel he will not be the nominee, however, if he runs as third party they will vote for him. I will not let corporate insiders buy my vote. Hillary has insulted Bernie Supporters by saying that they are naive and don’t do their research among other cheap shots she has made. I am a grad student. I do nothing but research. Many of Bernie Supporters are college educated or college students. She cannot get my vote by default. I will not vote blue just because it is my favorite color. I am Bernie or Bust.

  9. Thank you so much for your endorsement and for saying this, Christopher. I want to see a united party and defeat the GOP in the fall; we must keep LGBT rights/marriage equality front and center. Hillary Clinton will do that. (And there’s no chance in Hell Trump or Cruz will, especially not Cruz.)

  10. Never in a million years will I have a party tell me for whom to vote! That is making a game out of politics, nothing but power plays. It is not democracy. I’m sorry you caved in and are now nothing more than a shill for the party. I see nothing in your nine opening paragraphs to convince me that it is anything other than a sad show of your attempt to make excuses for your switch. Show some respect for due process and wait for the convention. Thanks for listening.

  11. All of you who hate Hillary and declare you will not vote for her–should she win–will deserve the Trump or Cruz you get…Don’t even assume that if Bernie wins (AFTER ALL), he and his backers will demand that Hillary supporters vote for him…They will demand that Hillary implore her backers to vote for Bernie…You damned fools can’t have it both ways!! If you think so, you will certainly deserve the Trump or Cruz you deserve!!

  12. Sanders supporters wake up!! I am sure the average age of you commenting is mid 20’s. You have no idea what it is like to really have to fight for ANYTHING. You are clueless to how the US political system actually works. You are clueless if you think you WILL get something for free. NOTHING is free! There will never be enough 1 percenters to pay for all the programs Sanders wants to initiate. On top of that there is that little thing called CONGRESS. A President just does not wave a magic wand and poof, all this money will go to people who want it. It needs Congressional approval. So now you will sit on your asses and not vote for the candidate that defeated Sanders because she defeated Sanders, oh and you don’t like her because of all the bad things she has done in the past. Do you even know how long the RNC and conservative media outlets have been attacking her with falsehoods? I’m sure you don’t because it has been longer then most of you have been alive!! Why don’t you take the time to educate yourselves on Hillary Clinton rather then just listen to a bunch of drivel and believe it because it’s on the Internet. You really want our country to have a President Trump or President Cruz. Go ahead, stay home, put your heads in the sand and wait till the election is over and pray that it didn’t go to one of those two. If we do you will have yourselves to thank. You will have forfeited any right to complain about the direction or condition of our country because you chose to do nothing to prevent it. Christopher I commend you for making a logical and educated decision on your endorsement.

  13. Trump is against the gay community, against foreign born Americans, against women. Trump promotes hate, ignorance, war. Trump appeals and is running on the basest of human passions. Trump is stroking and validating the selfishness and the very greed we want to eradicate. If Sanders does not get the nomination, he still will be a senator and he is terrific as a senator! He is a tremendous voice in the senate. After the behavior of the republicans in congress against president Obama, I really feel that it does not matter who the democratic president is, unless we also have a strong democratic senate. So far we have had Warren and sanders, fighting for us. I need senator sanders to be a strong voice in the senate!

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