LOS ANGELES, CA – In 1993, at seven years old, I sat in front of the television and watched Bill Clinton give his inaugural address to the nation, in which he challenged a “new generation of young Americans to a season of service: to act on your idealism by helping troubled children, keeping company with those in need, reconnecting our torn communities.”
He was charming, intelligent, powerful, a visionary. He reached through the screen and touched my heart. He was instantly my hero. And I was immediately as taken with his smart, magnanimous wife. For better or for worse, the Clintons would become staples of my childhood, and when they left the White House I was already a young man. What was sure, was I idolized the Clintons for my entire young life, and when they left office it was clear to me that they had done a great deal of good for America, socially, internationally, economically, and beyond.
But that first inaugural address, President Clinton’s call to me and my entire generation, is what resonated most deeply. And what followed was a lifetime of political activism and a passionate pursuit of democratic ideals. And indeed…feminism. In 2000, shortly after the Clinton’s left office, my world was rocked when Hillary announced she would run for United States Senator in New York. The historic nature of a first lady running for high level office was not lost on me. The fortitude and strength of a woman telling the word that she was more than just a spouse, but as deserving of political office on her own merits, was inspiring. And after she had spent 8 years being eviscerated and attacked constantly by the GOP, I found it courageous. I was only 15. Hillary had joined the ranks as one of my heroes. Along with her husband. I loved her.
In 2007, I campaigned passionately for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The loss was devastating, so much so that there could be an entire blog post dedicated solely to that matter. She helped unify the party (a move I deeply respected, even though I was one of the folks who did not need coaxing). Despite winning the popular vote in that primary by some accounts, she put herself aside and campaigned for the future President and then nominated him by acclamation at the Democratic National Convention.
“No way, no how, no McCain.” The words exhilarated me. Her speech at the DNC, the most hotly anticipated of the entire event, showed Hillary coming into her own and also, rising as one of the most influential voices in American politics. A powerhouse. I loved her even more. I might have even loved her more than the O.G., Bill. In fact…I am sure of it.
Fast forward through the end of Obama’s first term. I proudly supported his bid for the Presidency and he rewarded my faith by appointing Hillary his Secretary of State. My awe and respect for the Secretary only continued to grow. Her tenacity, toughness, her work ethic, all apparent as she traversed the globe helping broker peace deals, get Bin Laden, and restore relationships around the world following an era of Bush Cowboy Diplomacy.
In 2016, she released an official campaign video featuring a lesbian couple sharing a kiss. I burst into tears. I wondered: do people understand what this means, how historic this is, the message this sends out? Does anyone notice or understand that this is the first presidential candidate in history to give LGBT folks this kind of visibility and love and acceptance?
Indeed, in 2016 I became the Political Director of this organization supporting her bid for the Presidency, ran to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and even got to meet Hillary Clinton herself, tell her about my lifelong support, and take a selfie. I thought THAT was big.
This week, an admiration and love that began back in 1993 at the age of 7 culminated with a historic moment I will never forget. 23 years after that inaugural address, at 31 years old, I watched Hillary Clinton, my hero, become the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. In doing so, she became the first woman in American history to win a major party nomination for that office.
I stood amongst a crowd of 250 fellow supporters at our Bros4Hillary election results party to witness the moment. My hand covered my mouth as I watched, incredulous, in awe, stunned, and unable to process fully the historic moment. This woman who had been so vilified, worked so hard, and been my idol for so long had made history. Not just for women. For America. For all of us.
Days later, I am still too emotional to speak. As I type this, I have tears in my eyes. Perhaps it has been a long and taxing primary. Maybe I need some rest. Perhaps more true, is that it has been a long and taxing lifetime. And to have us reach this milestone feels earned by all of us. My heart is full beyond words. Gratitude. Service. Love. Kindness. I am with Her, now more than ever.
Onward to the General!
Alex Mohajer is the Political Director of Bros4Hillary. You may contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.