Democratic candidate for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton, visited Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Saturday, July 30th. With Tim Kaine, Vice Presidential nominee, Anne Holton, Kaine’s wife and former Secretary of Education for Virginia, and 42nd President and husband of Hillary, Bill Clinton, by her side, this event was part of a bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio. This event signifies Clinton’s place in the race fresh off of the Democratic Convention, and the first female nominee for President visiting Pittsburgh, PA.
While the event was said to start at 4:15pm, Clinton and her team didn’t make their appearance until after 7:15pm. The long awaiting crowd, with thousands of individuals left standing outside, listened to organizers, Mayor of Braddock, John Fetterman, and Mike Doyle, Congressman of Pennsylvania. Katie McGinty, Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania Senate, also spoke to fuel the crowd. McGinty represents another strong female role model running for a male-dominated position.
Looking around the audience, it appeared to be a family show with people of all ages holding up “Stronger Together” signs. Mothers brought their daughters, wives and husbands walked hand-in-hand, and most of all, college students brought their friends to witness this historic moment. When John Fetterman’s daughter accompanied him on stage, she happily walked around her father as he spoke of his support for Clinton. Being a little girl once myself, I can assume she didn’t understand everything her father was saying or why the crowd was shouting, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary”, but she had an idea that history was in the making. While Hillary Clinton and the Democratic ticket need every vote they can to win this election, this fight is not just for the working men and women or the age group over 60, but for the youth. The president who is elected in November of 2016 will guide our next four or eight years: whether it’s the end of our high school career, the thick of our college experience, or the beginning of a first job. It’s the youth’s time and generation, so why would we not vote for whom we believe is our next leader? Why would we ignore the chance to make history, to cast a vote, or to become educated in the forefront of a changing nation?
I have admired Hillary Clinton for as long as I can remember. Seeing a female role model making change allowed me to believe that I could do whatever I set my mind to. As Mark Cuban, a businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist born and raised in Pittsburgh, spoke about his experiences with failure and success, it hit home. Cuban told the story of how he made it to where he is today, but before that, he was just an average teen, “with job after job after job.” He failed many times, but once he got where he was going, creating MicroSolutions and Boardcast.com, Cuban realized “that all [he] had to do was to be right just once.” The story behind Cuban’s successes is discovering at a young age that working together and sharing ideas, plans, and accomplishments is key. He stated, “In Hillary Clinton’s America, the American dream is alive and well.” The American Dream is about taking a stand together, and knowing that this election is “one of the most important decisions” we will make as a country. During the rally, Cuban endorsed Hillary Clinton, commenting on her leadership, and how she will help our generation have continued success. As a teenager, I shared a connection with Cuban when he told his story about being a youth. Looking at where he is now, whoever becomes President will determine if my generation can succeed as Cuban has in his life.
Then, Tim Kaine, despite a hoarse voice, let his excitement about joining the Democratic team shine. Welcoming and funny, Kaine assured the crowd that Clinton “is the best qualified person to be President of this country.” Both Kaine’s and Clinton’s speeches focused on raising the number of jobs in the country. He stated, “Do you want a ‘you’re fired’ president or a ‘you’re hired’ president?” As the youth are getting ready to start in the world, Kaine commented on the importance of jobs so everyone can make a living. The Vice Presidential nominee talked about Donald Trump’s phrase, “Believe me.” As a sixteen-year-old launching into my junior year, somedays I just need someone to have faith in what I am doing, and Kaine told every member of the audience that Hillary, “believes in you.”
It was time for Hillary Clinton to take the podium, and as she did, the college students in front of me waved their hands enthusiastically, a couple kissed, and I realized that our country is changing, moving forward, and beginning to discover that equality, not hate, is the answer. Clinton can enhance that progress. The Presidential nominee spoke about her family’s connection with Pittsburgh, and how she often traveled through Pennsylvania as a little girl. She grew up believing that we need to “give people a chance to fulfill their dreams” and have “an opportunity society.” Jobs were the topic at the Pittsburgh rally due to the high number of unemployed workers. “Equal pay for women’s work” will be a large goal she will tackle as President because this is “everyone’s issue.” Pittsburgh has reinvented itself with “more success stories”, and as a youth, I felt a sense of relief when Clinton commanded, “America’s best days are ahead of us!” For students, Hillary will make community college free and will ensure that everyone can afford to go to school. A college student in front of me couldn’t let his smile fade as he cheered, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” If college is for figuring out what our passion is and for getting a good job, why should students have to pay off a lifetime of debt?
While journalism has and will always be my passion, this year I decided to start a business of my own. Clinton was speaking to me when she said, “I want young people to feel like they can start their own business and can take chances.” Clinton concluded her speech with this, “The American dream is as big as we make it!” The rally ended with Hillary and Bill Clinton, Kaine, and Holton introducing, talking, and taking pictures with the thousands of individuals in front of them. An all-day affair ended with tears, husky voices, hope, and faith in what this country can achieve.
I stood next to my mother, her 29-year-old co-worker, and a little girl, with eyes as bright as the history Clinton has made. A community came together to celebrate and listen to what our nation could be. My generation has been outspoken with politics. A large majority of students at my school were for Bernie Sanders, others for republican nominees. As Hillary stated in her speech, while not everyone agrees with politics, we can agree that standing up for whom we believe can be our generation’s next leader impacts the race immensely. As Bernie Sanders supporters are beginning to endorse Clinton’s cause, they know that we need to go forward on the progress made. Hillary Clinton has taught me that the opportunities, talent, and determination my generation has to offer can make history because we are stronger together.