I am writing this because of the time capsule effect. I am not trying to beat this thoroughly dead horse. There are some people for whom this will fall on deaf ears. But for those of you still sifting through the rubble of the 2016 Presidential Election, I offer you this picture. This picture is an important reminder of many of the concerns I had in regard to why Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be getting my vote—why she was not the lesser of two evils. Below are some very short essays I wrote at various points throughout the primaries. Take a good look at this recent picture, and consider those words:
What makes Hillary so much more dangerous to democracy, and the progressive movement in general—far more than any Republican candidate—is that some people, people who still consider themselves Democrats, will begin to accept things that they simply would not otherwise accept from any Republican.
They will accept the fact that she sends us to fight in unjustified wars. They will accept the fact that she doesn’t go after the financial institutions and lobbyists that are destroying the middle class. They will accept horrible trade agreements that profit the rich and take away millions of jobs. They will accept it, and they will rationalize it. They will argue ferociously about it and say things like “yeah, but Republicans did this too! Republicans did it even worse!!” And all the while, they will forget that two wrongs have never made a right.
How do I know this will happen? Because they’re already doing it. They’re already rationalizing these things right now. They make excuses for her Iraq War vote. They discover reasons to justify why she’s been bought off by the banks. They ignore the blatant election rigging that has been well-documented throughout the entire primary cycle. They find excuses for the criticisms of her voting record rather than holding her accountable for these failures of judgment. And that’s how progressives will finally have lost. That’s when we become no different than Republicans.
At least with a Republican president, people will have the courage to fight against these things. They won’t rationalize them simply because the person they voted for had the right letter in front of their name. At least with a Republican president people will protest, they will march, they will rally, they will write letters to congressmen. At least if a Republican becomes president, people will undoubtedly be reminded of why it’s important to participate in democracy.
Clinton supporters still don’t get it. Electing Hillary cuts the legs out from underneath the progressive movement. From that point forward, democrats will have no room to talk about those issues we find most important. Good luck trying to convince someone that “money in politics is bad,” when the standard bearer for your party is guilty of some of the worst types of campaign finance abuses of any politician running. Good luck using things like the Iraq War as grounds for why Republican foreign policy has been a complete disaster, when Hillary Clinton also voted for it and has a comparably awful record on foreign policy. Good luck making headway on sustainable energy when the face of your party openly supports fracking and takes millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry. After the shit we’ve seen this primary, good luck trying to convince Republicans that Democrats don’t resort to voter fraud.
To all of you so desperate to protect the status quo, I think Holly Wood said it best: “Pick a crisis, America: Child poverty? Inexcusable. Medical debt? Immoral. For-profit prison? Medieval. Climate change? Apocalyptic. The Middle East is our Vietnam. Flint, the canary in our coal mine. Tamir Rice, our martyred saint. This place is a mess. We’re due for a hard rain.
If I am alarmed, it is by the profound languor of the comfortable. What fresh hell must we find ourselves in before those who’ve appointed themselves to lead our thoughts admit that we are in flames? As I see it, to counsel realism when the reality is fucked is to counsel an adherence to fuckery. Under conditions as distressing as these, acquiescence is absurd. When your nation gets classified as a Class D structure fire, I believe the only wise course is to lose your shit.”
Here [were] my two simple predictions for either major presidential candidate:
1. If Trump wins, he will be the most protested candidate in the history of the country. It will create some of the highest levels of engagement in the political process we’ve seen since the 1960s. The terribleness of his presidency will also inspire a new wave of young people to participate and to get informed. We will stop having a voter turnout below 60% because politics matter when they’re personal. People will take a Donald Trump presidency very personally. Yes, there will be struggle, but all of the great advancements in this country have been born from the cauldron of struggle. It’s how we abolished slavery. It’s why women and minorities have the right to vote. It’s why we have labor laws. What makes us think we’re above struggling for a better democracy?
2. If Hillary Clinton wins: America is gradually lulled back to sleep. She signs into law disastrous trade agreements like the TPP. Only half of democrats are outraged by decisions like this because the other half still blindly proclaim “I’m with her.” She goosesteps us closer to war as she continues to flex America’s military muscle. The Patriot Act and other surveillance programs she supports will again pass through Congress. Whistleblowers will continue to be punished for exposing dangerous truths. Wall Street will continue receiving slaps on the wrist or being told to “cut it out.” Meanwhile, half of Democratic voters are too afraid to speak out about these things because “Shhh, Republicans might hear you!” And after four years with a president who is disliked by a majority of voters, Democrats lose even more seats in congress in 2018, and with nobody to challenge her incumbent bid, lose the presidency in 2020.
Maybe if I explain it this this way, you can see why I am not afraid to cast my ballot for the Green Party.