The first time I heard Hillary speak was on a teleprompter at a National Conference during Bill Clinton's second term as president. With then first lady Hillary Clinton and her husband being ardent supporters of Early Childhood Education Programs as a stepping stone for children from lower-income and middle-class families to enter kindergarten at the same level as their peers, she was there to speak on that very subject.

I was there as both a parent with two children in Head Start and as a Kansas Head Start Association and Regional Board Member.

Hillary talked about the book that she had recently had published; "It takes a village to raise a child" and I still remember the passion and conviction in her voice and the way she looked out from that screen with a smile and a promise while sharing excerpts from the book.

The crowd of hundreds fell nearly silent as Hillary shared her dreams for a better future

Her speech wasn't about money or influence. It was about a vision she had for the future of every single American child and family: a future where we were all truly created equal regardless of race or sex, religion or culture, or what country we immigrated from. It was about working together to speak with a shared voice and crossing political lines for the common good.

I am sure mine weren't the only eyes that filled with tears that day.

Two of my personal favorite quotes were about home being a child's first and primary classroom, and the other quote had to do with respecting the choices we make as women and allowing us to reach our full potential. And that was the Hillary I expected to emerge as a presidential candidate.

However, this Hillary, I soon realized seemed to have abandoned her core beliefs and philosophies.

Hillary's campaign became attack against Trump and she's still attacking

For the first few months of the campaign I saw the Hillary Clinton I remembered from the past -- full of fire and a champion of the people. She had good solid ideas on rebuilding the middle class, strengthening education from Pre-K through college, empowering women, and much more.

As Donald Trump began painting Hillary as a crook, in bed with big banks and Wall Street, bowing to special interests, and as being everything that was wrong with Democrats and America, Hillary began responding to his insults in kind, and played right into Trump's hands. The message that had drawn us to her in the first place over the years as a champion for democracy, human rights, women's rights, and American families became lost in the battle of tit for tat with Donald Trump.

Trump used Hillary's remarks about him and his supporters against her

Donald Trump, a master manipulator from his years as a television star on his show "the Apprentice," being in the public eye with the Miss Universe Pageant, and at his casino's and resorts, knew exactly what to do to turn the tables on Hillary Clinton.

Comfortable in front of huge crowds and feeding off the accolades of his supporters and other Republican's once he secured the nomination, Trump quickly used Hillary's insulting responses to his lack of decency and respect for others, to rally rural voters: workers who bought into the lies that Democrats were the cause of all of America's ills, and the religious right who longed for a government that supported their rigid and extreme fundamentalist views.

In the end it cost Hillary Clinton, and the United States dearly. If only Hillary hadn't let Trump goad her into responding in kind and had stuck with the message that embraced what is good and honorable in all Americans, about hope and the promise of a truly great America.

That would have highlighted the fact that she had the class and decency he lacked. Where was the Hillary Clinton who wrote the book "It Takes a Village: and Other Things Children Taught Us?"

Even now Hillary is responding to Trump insults instead of rallying voters

The commencement speech Clinton gave at her Alma Mater, Wellesley College, was full of attacks against the Trump Administration. The same taunting words we hear daily were repeated again and again. This was the time the old Hillary should have re-emerged to remind those graduating students they are the guardians of Democracy and our Civil rights.

Millennials have a great opportunity to stop President Trump and far right Conservative Republicans from destroying what people like Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B Anthony, union organizers who fought for health and safety protections for workers with their blood and sweat, along with many others to change the world.

Grassroots advocacy and a national political movement to rally voters of all ages and encourage them to become candidates at all levels are what will beat Donald Trump, Conservatives, and the religious right, NOT verbal attacks and jokes. As Americans, we are better than that.