For the record, I’m #teamgirliguess…
i am going to vote for hillary, because i honestly feel it’s a better choice.
not a better choice for the world, for victims of drone strikes or the prison industrial complex. but for me, a black woman, with an aging mother, technically “middle class”, drowning in student loan debt, in the south, working in the public sector, with chronic health conditions, who is paying into retirement, would like to own a home soon, needs to get a new(er) car soon, would like to continue to at least be able to vacation domestically; a woman with dear friends who’ve immigrated here–with & without documentation; a woman with loved ones who LITERALLY depend on government aid to eat or have shelter. so when it comes to voting in MY best interests, at this particular moment, choosing between hillary clinton and donald trump is NO CONTEST. even though i’ve been saying “i will NEVER” vote for her, since 2008. even though voting for her goes against my ethics & aggravates my allergy to oligarchy.
i’m no longer 18 or even 20, i’m not a shiny new voter. i have few illusions about this process. my foremothers and fathers did not struggle and die for me to smile on the way putting another imperialist in office. my foremothers and fathers struggled and died to clear space for me in this republic. so, now i have the space to make a choice. a choice i don’t enjoy making. a choice i don’t wholeheartedly believe in. but a choice, nonetheless. to buy some time, if nothing else, to put myself in a more powerful position once the inevitable comes.
i’m not as self-righteous as i once was. so, i can’t find it in my heart to be angry at those who won’t make the same choice, and i understand the view of those who see no choice at all. & as a black person, you kind of understand that we’ve lived through SO much, it’s hard to be swayed by the hyperbolic doomsday fearmongering. i mean, i lived through the bush years. have just about lived through the obama years. the reason i fear what awaits is because of precedents. the trump/hitler comparisons are not lazy sensationalism. in fact, i’d argue that if you compare the 2 in their arcs of facism, trump’s public statements are actually MORE extreme than young adolf’s, at this point in his career.
i tend to befriend visionaries, those who think in broad brush strokes rather than daily minutae. i tend to know the folks who think more about revolutionary cycles, than the impact $200-$300 a month in subsidies or savings can impact a family. i tend to befriend those with limited understanding–or truthfully, interest–in how a tweak of a few percentages of an interest rate can mean a LOT to a person stuck in the student-loan-repayment debt-cycle.
i am one of those who chose to work in the non-profit sector in return for forgiveness of my student loan debt. i wonder at the robustness of this plan under a trump presidency. perhaps to you, this is just some imaginary number. perhaps to you, “the system” is so egregiously corrupt that you lack the patience to figure out its idiosyncrasies, but things like this MATTER to me. Just like it mattered, when i was marginally employed, that the imperfect Affordable Care Act allowed me to receive mental health services that i could actually AFFORD, and is, arguably, the reason why i’m still here, typing these words.
Perhaps, reader, you are a purist. You don’t want to vote for a liar, or a murderer. You don’t want to vote for empire. I will confess I do and don’t respect this view. It’s laudable, but at this point in human history there are soooo many resources available, that if you truly wanted to divest from capitalism/patriarchy/white supremacy/imperialism, you could make far greater strides outside of the voting booth, or electoral politics in general.
In the interest of transparency, this is less a case for hillary, and more of a case against trump. but perhaps mostly a critique of a certain type empty politics: your individual vote for president doesn’t matter.
i understand the protest vote. in 2004, i voted for ralph nader. kerry was totally uninspiring, and i hoped it would “send a message” to the democratic party that they needed to shift to the left. whether or not that “message” was heard, the fact that a 74 year old democratic socialist came THISCLOSE to the democratic nomination shows that a lot of “democrats” are leftists, looking for representation. this schism between party and “base” is mirrored on the right, with the tea partiers turned trumpers. i heartily disagree with this hard right-turn our country has made, that has resulted in a centrist being decried as a “liberal”, and Hillary Clinton as the democratic front-runner, when she’s more of a Republican. Between the fascist and the republican, I’m picking the republican.
Put another way: this isn’t the election to punish the democratic party with your protest vote.
shit is just too real, and as terrible as a trump presidency might be, it still won’t usher in the utopian revolution of your marxist dreams.
and, as an adult, to invoke the spirit of the ancestors, and the “they didn’t die for this” rhetoric feels false, to me. of course they didn’t die so that you could vote for some racist to be president. they died so that this nation would be forced to reckon with their and your humanity. they fought and died for hope, dignity, resignation, and so many other things that are way more complex civic participation. they died cuz they were tired of being tried.
anyway, i guess i just feel like this is not the time to get into lofty purist ideals.
we out here, tryna live.
trump has tapped into a movement of folk who are mostly, but not entirely, white and frustrated, ignorant, confused, entitled, struggling, and mad as hell. as wild as shit is now, shit would be a lot wilder if these folks weren’t being held at bay with a lot of the basic ass, unexciting laws that people you and i would consider “average”, take for granted.
maybe you aren’t personally touched by immigration laws ripping families apart, or creating stateless citizens who can’t legally work and have no home to go to. fine. but do you want to live in a world where, if you see a family who may or may not be undocumented, and you don’t report them to authorities, now YOU face fines and jail time? Cuz that’s the law on the books in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, & it could easily be coming to a state near you. these are the types of laws that get passed in the name of America for Americans.
I work in the public sector. I can’t afford a pay freeze or reduction in the name of balancing the budget. I don’t want to see jail or prison time for the abortion I had in my 20s. I don’t want open carry on college or school campuses.
None of this is about ideals to me. This is real, regular shit, that impacts, real, regular, people. If having that basic level of sanity, for lack of a better word, means I vote for an imperialist who supports palestinian genocide–this is the choice that’s left me. Not because I don’t care about Palestinians but because if I end up starving–or otherwise WAY more stressed just trying to survive in this world–it’s not going to help Palestine be free. No one benefits from my suffering. And for all the “revolution”-mongers, 93% of y’all just really ain’t bout that life. Like, at all. You’re not ready to see even more of your neighbors rounded up en masse. You’re not ready for an exponentially expanding wealth gap. You’re not ready a Nazi to have the authority to elect 1, possibly 2, supreme court judges. You’re not ready to see the type of political instability we can only see on Hollywood Screens and CNN tickers, when elections are contested and leaders come up missing.
and i know it sounds like i’m succumbing to sensationalism, but we have front row access to the antics of the white and fed up, every day. the mass shooters. the killers of black folk. the rapists and their excusers. the hate-filled. the illogical. the ones whose favorite scripture is the 2nd amendment.
that’s who we’re up against.
so if, somehow, voting for this woman in whom i have no faith, temporarily stems that tide, makes life a lil easier for a lil longer…
then, yeah, i’m with her.