Monsignor William J. Linder
The presidential election this November may be the most critical election yet for American voters.
The candidate that you cast your ballot for will either launch the nation forward into a new era of progressive thinking and leadership, or will drag our country backwards. The next president will either shine in the individual’s actions and attitudes towards fellow Americans or will cast a shadow of fear-mongering and divisiveness that will undoubtedly extend to our international neighbors and allies.
As the founder of New Community, I have had the privilege to become personally acquainted with Hillary Clinton on several occasions. Allow me to share with you some of these stories.
Years ago as First Lady, Hillary visited Babyland at New Community to learn about the challenges that teenage mothers face by hearing from them firsthand. It was a big to-do, with dignitaries and media swarming inside and outside of Babyland, hoping to borrow the First Lady’s ear or snap photographs.
Instead, Hillary slipped inside a room with the teen moms, away from the crowds, so that she could learn about the challenges they face by looking them in the eyes and listening to their personal stories.
In similar fashion, Hillary showed great leadership during the Clinton Administration’s trips to Ireland to help broker a peace agreement in the violence-plagued region of Northern Ireland. Her dedication to meeting with groups of women helped built a coalition of support across Northern Ireland that played a crucial role in making real progress in the peace effort. I was part of the official delegation that traveled with the Clintons to Ireland and held a workshop on community development. The best illustration that I could have never planned was the grassroots outreach that Hillary did on that very trip and many subsequent visits.
Hillary is a “no fuss” type of person. When I was invited to President Clinton’s inauguration on Hillary’s guest list as one of her “Faces of Hope,” I was seated next to her at lunch. She had many guests to greet and was constantly getting up from her seat. As a courteous gesture, I stood when she stood—and she said she would have none of that!
In contrast, Donald Trump is perhaps most well recognized by New Jerseyans for his shady dealings with the state and the $30 million in overdue taxes owed by the casinos he founded. According to a report in the New York Times, Trump only ponied up $5 million of what was owed. He has made public statements calling those who pay large sums in taxes “stupid.” His statement is disturbing and yet illuminating: We can clearly see exactly what motivates Trump and who ultimately benefits.
Let me be clear, the contrast is very sharp. I know that‘s what I am going to consider when I cast my vote on November 8.