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In defense of Hillary Clinton: An experienced, qualified candidate

This letter, by the executive board of Miami Students for Hillary, is in response to the Feb. 2 column titled, 'Voting for Hillary means voting for a hawk'

Executive Board of Miami Students for Hillary, Guest Column

We have seen it all and heard it all on the never-ending campaign trail - students driving to class with a Hillary bumper sticker, donning a shirt emblazoned with the "H" logo and walking down slantwalk, sporting a pin on the strap of a backpack heading to class.

Whether in the murmurs of passers-bys, the sideways glances of pedestrians or the angled camera lenses catching a look for Snapchat, we are constantly aware of our minority opinion on campus. Sometimes particularly brazen individuals will inform us of the woman we are supporting.

Don't we know she is a war hawk? How can we support such a fake, untrusted candidate? Aren't we embarrassed of Benghazi and the emails?

Whenever we are asked why we campaign, the most common response is "human interaction." As grassroots organizers and campaigners, there is never a day when we are not thinking about voters, scanning political news feeds or sifting through social media in an attempt to bring a voter over to our side.

However, in a 24-hour news cycle dominated largely by anti-Clinton sentiment, it can sometimes be hard to keep our chins up. So what drives us? Facts.

Hundreds of hours of media coverage and Senate hearings, not to mention millions of dollars, have been spent attacking the moral character and career record of one of the most successful, globally respected politicians the world has seen.

Hillary Clinton garners the respect and endorsement of world leaders and U.S. politicians alike, not because she is seen as ascending the throne in a coronation carefully crafted by the "establishment," but rather because these people recognize there is no leader more qualified, more tested and more proven than Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States.

Her record is well known as one of the most extensive in politics - attorney for the Children's Defense Fund, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States - the only first lady ever to have an office in the West Wing, Senator of New York and Secretary of State.

A long record can sometimes lead to differences of opinion regarding her actions. She voted for the Iraq War. She supported intervention in Libya and now favors intervention in Syria. Her record suggests she is a tried-and-true progressive, but wasn't she late to the game on a few key progressive issues?

This is where the facts come in. In 2002, then-Senator Clinton voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution. She was faced with a hard choice and, with the information presented to her, made a decision with the support of the majority of Democrats in the Senate.

She acknowledges the vote was a mistake and has since dedicated her efforts towards diplomacy as a means of intervention, with military options remaining a last resort.

In Libya, Secretary Clinton acted cautiously while working with France, Great Britain, Canada, Italy and NATO to lessen what could have been a much larger crisis in northern Africa without the policies she advanced.

In Syria, Secretary Clinton proposes an appropriately nuanced, balanced plan to combat both the scourge of ISIS and the tyrannical Assad regime, while using diplomatic pressure to ensure a peaceful transition through the free-election.

The final and arguably most pernicious of the attacks against Secretary Clinton revolves around the evolution of her ideas and her platform throughout the years.

When coming from fellow members of the Democratic Party, it is both hypocritical and foreign to denounce change. Our party has a long history of supporting progressive change, but members of the party must adopt those positions on their own terms, not when forced.

Secretary Clinton has demonstrated a passion since the beginning of her career to not only help those in need, but deliver on the promises made in campaigns, speeches and conversations on all levels.

Hillary has acknowledged that her evolution on some issues may have been too slow, but what matters are her positions now, not years ago.

What does matter when considering who we want to lead our country for the next four years is not who was there first. It's about who is here now.

America needs a candidate who is willing, able and tested in the ability to deliver on change and progress for all people who are in need.

When we hear questions, when we are faced with this adversity, we hold our heads high knowing that, despite these attacks and this perception, the facts speak for themselves.

Hillary is qualified. Hillary is a tried-and-true progressive on the issues. Hillary has comprehensive plans to enact real change to help struggling, striving and successful Americans today.

In a country plagued by political gridlock, there is only one candidate who has a proven ability to rise above the fray and finish the fight.

Hillary Clinton is battle-scarred and battle-ready, and there is no one with a better plan to champion the progress we have made and will continue to make as a nation.