OPED: I'm a radical, and I support Hillary Clinton

Tribune News Service

Activist and anarchist Emma Goldman once said "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things" after being told off by a fellow anarchist for dancing and enjoying herself when he thought she should be serious and dignified in her role as an agitator.

Her response to him boiled down to "if I can't dance, it's not my revolution!"

I'm a 34-year-old, college-educated, radical woman, and I'm tired of hearing and reading about why I should support Bernie Sanders and how my generation has a lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton.

FILE - In this March 15, 2016, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during an election night event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

I can't dance to Bernie Sanders, but I feel real inspiration about everything that Hillary says and stands for. I refuse to be told how I should think and feel about this Democratic primary.

Bernie Sanders has strong support among liberal, educated, young white voters, which makes perfect sense. Who stands to benefit from his policies? The truly poor already have free health care in the form of Medicaid.

Poor mothers — and I was one — have free health care for their children in the form of the Children's Health Insurance Program, thanks in part to Clinton's work as a first lady.

I thank her for every urgent care visit that was covered for the three years I needed CHIP to pay for my children's health care and my own. Move up into the middle class, and health care costs are a real burden, which Bernie promises to alleviate.

What about free college tuition at public universities? Don't kid yourself that this is aimed toward those with no resources. In order to be in school you need a place to live and food to eat, free time and child care.

Those with the fewest resources in our society, low income single mothers with children to care for, will not be the primary beneficiaries of this improvement, but middle class kids will be able to escape the burden of debt they pay every month for their education.

Hillary Clinton talks about and works for the least privileged in society, not middle class millennials and their parents who worry about health insurance and college loan payments every month. Low-income women need free and easy access to birth control and family planning.

If a woman becomes unintentionally pregnant and doesn't have the resources or desire for a child, she needs to be able to terminate that pregnancy in a safe, low cost, nearby facility. Giving women the power to choose their number and timing of children has been linked to improved levels of literacy, infant and maternal mortality, women's and family health, education and income.

Every child deserves to be loved, wanted and well cared for. Hillary Clinton is a powerful proponent of women's health care access and calls for reversing the Hyde Amendment, which blocks many low-income women's access to abortion.

In many American cities, if you live in the wrong neighborhood, firearms are a much bigger problem than Wall Street or the corporations Sanders rails against.

Low-income children and families desperately need the changes in gun regulation that will hold gun manufacturers responsible, require locks and safe gun technology, and tighten the market both for legal and illegal firearms.

This violence is a waste and a burden that should be a primary concern of any Democratic candidate, and I believe Hillary is absolutely in step with my feelings on this issue.

None of this means I wouldn't vote for Bernie Sanders for president if he wins the Democratic nomination.

But I'm tired of being told that Hillary plays it safe and Bernie stands for real change.

I don't agree, and if his policies will only help my privileged, middle class family and friends, then it's not my revolution.

— Megan Beller is a mother of three and a violin teacher in Baltimore.