By Peter Daou and Tom Watson
This is dedication:
Shortly after midnight on a recent Sunday, Marquis Boston knocked on room 1027 of the Marriott in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, to drop off a roll of toilet paper to a guest. A few hours earlier, less than a mile away, Hillary Clinton had just finished delivering a rousing speech to a crowd of 2,000 at the state Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner.
Boston didn’t attend (he was napping before his nightshift at the hotel). But, as it turns out, the 34-year-old, Little Rock native who works two jobs, seven days a week is one of Clinton’s biggest donors.
He budgeted and saved up over the past year, cutting back on things like groceries and haircuts, so he could give $1,000 to her campaign – an amount that places him in an elite group: The top 6 percent of Clinton’s first-quarter donors, alongside recognizable names like Sting, Spielberg and Beyoncé.
Marquis Boston is the ultimate Hillary Man. Reading his story reinforces our belief that Hillary’s support is deeper and stronger than what pundits and polls tell us, that there is genuine excitement about her candidacy across the country. After all, despite the “wall of words” she faces – that constant stream of invective directed at her – she is the front-runner.
Speaking of excitement, we’re occasionally asked why we express such unbridled enthusiasm for a candidate, specifically one whose positions we don’t always agree with. We’ve been accused of being “in love with Hillary.”
For us, it’s not about love of a person but love of a mission. We both have kids. We’ve been around long enough to know that what matters is not what we think or how people perceive us but what we leave behind for the next generation, the example we set for our children. We’ve been activists for as long as we can remember. The idea that we can play a role, even a very small one, in righting a 200+ year wrong, drives us forward.
Hillary's inclusive vision, unwavering commitment to public service, progressive policies and unparalleled experience make her one of the best (and best qualified) candidates ever to seek the presidency. If Hillary cannot become the first woman in history to cross the presidential finish line, who can? If not now, when? When will we show our daughters that a woman can be president?
To dispense with one of the central arguments against a gender-focused approach to Hillary's candidacy, we are not contending that Hillary should be president just because she is a woman. We are motivated first by her experience and her vision of progress and inclusion. We believe she is the best candidate for president, announced or unannounced. Having long fought for the rights of the disenfranchised and battled to extend the American social contract, Hillary can lay claim to the mantle of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson. She is also, in the words of a Chicago Tribune op-ed, "probably the best qualified presidential candidate ever."
We are equally motivated by our passion to combat the rampant sexism and misogyny plaguing our world, the pervasive oppression of women and girls that stains every corner of this planet.
Our commitment to equal rights, our overwhelming desire to leave a better world for our daughters, our outrage at the 44-0 shutout in presidential politics, these are powerful drivers. Do we disagree with Hillary on certain issues? Of course. We come from a background of progressive activism and would like to see Hillary further embrace her own progressive leanings.
Still, we love what Hillary stands for. We’re unashamed and unapologetic about our enthusiasm. Sometimes it’s good not to be jaded. Sometimes it’s necessary to set aside small misgivings for a big purpose.
We know in our hearts that electing Hillary as America’s first woman president will leave a legacy of good and as long as she’s a candidate, we intend to keep fighting for her with the same level of intensity.
The #HillaryMen project is our vehicle to do so and the response thus far has been inspiring. Thousands of shares, sign-ups, and emails are an indication of the powerful grassroots network supporting Hillary. Over 8,000 people hit “Like” on our post about the GOP’s half billion dollar plan to brainwash the public against her.
The men – we call them #HillaryMen – who have openly announced their support for Hillary range from George Clooney to Dog the Bounty Hunter, from Magic Johnson to Snoop Dogg.
But it’s Marquis Boston who is our role model, the shining example of what a real #HillaryMan can do to make the world better for our sisters, mothers, and daughters.
Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.