Oprah Winfrey says you don’t have to like Hillary Clinton to vote for her. I buy that. I don’t really care for Clinton. But I plan to vote for her, despite her many annoying personal and professional flaws.

She is a far better choice than her flaky opponent. True, I am not convinced she can accomplish all of the high-minded goals — starting with her promise to “make the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those at the top,” but at least she’s been in the federal arena for three decades, knows the territory, and has the leadership ability to put together a team of competent, experienced Cabinet members to carry out her progressive agenda.

TV mogul Oprah Winfrey formally endorsed Clinton in June, but she hasn’t spoken out much since on the Democratic candidate’s behalf “because I didn’t know what to say that could actually pierce through all the noise and the chaos and the disgusting vitriol that’s going on and actually be heard.”

Oprah told the American public that there is really only one choice: Hillary Clinton. “Now is the time to really be with her. She should be our next president,” Winfrey concluded.

This observer’s conversations with a number of Clinton Democrats in Westport lead me to believe that they, too, agree with Winfrey.

“There really is no choice, people,” Winfrey added. “All the people sitting around talking about they can’t decide. This is what I want to say: “I hear this all the time. You get into conversations — and there’s not a person in this room who hasn’t been in this same conversation — where people say, ‘I just don’t know if I like her.’ ”

But, Winfrey insisted, “that is the wrong question to be asking. “She’s not coming over to your house! You don’t have to like her,” she said. “Do you like this country? You better get out there and vote. Do you like freedom and liberty? OK. Do you like democracy or do you want a demagogue?”

There’s a fundamental, overriding case to be made for Clinton: She’s rational and her opponent — as “unpredictable” as he says he likes to be — is not. Indeed, from everything he has said and done in the extraordinarily bizarre 2016 presidential campaign, he has clearly shaken the basic confidence and sense of security of a large segment of the American electorate.

That is precisely why I turn to Hillary Clinton in this historic time of uncertainty and fear — fear of a “loose cannon” of a presidential candidate gone astray with nobody and nothing to restrain him from his own scary, at times, totally irrational thoughts. It was the idealistic, youthful 21-year-old Hillary Clinton whose commencement speech at Wellesley College in 1969 included this visionary caution to her classmates: “Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.”

This was a prophetic sentiment that she echoed recently in a major speech on June 2 in San Diego, attacking Republican standard-bearer Donald J. Trump when she compared the choice between Trump and herself to a choice between a “fearful (italics mine) America” and a “strong, confident America, respectively.”

Woody Klein is an award-winning Westport writer. His column, “Out of the Woods,” has appeared regularly for the past 49 years in The Westport News. He can be reached at wklein11@aol.com

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“That is precisely why I turn to Hillary Clinton in this historic time of uncertainty and fear — fear of a “loose cannon” of a presidential candidate gone astray with nobody and nothing to restrain him from his own scary, at times, totally irrational thoughts.”