A professional colleague/friend warned me today …
“Try explaining to your children why you didn’t vote for Clinton if el Trumpo gets elected. If you believe that it doesn’t make a difference if he gets elected and appoints one or more Clarence Thomas types to SCOTUS you don’t really care about the future. You of all people should recognize the potential for long-term damage that POTUS can do by appointing another Thomas or Scalia.”
Aside from the false notion that I “believe it doesn’t make a difference” if Trump gets elected, I agree that I certainly owe my children (ages 43, 39, 36) an explanation for why I’m voting for Jill Stein, the first time I’ve voted for a Green Party candidate.
I owe them an explanation and an apology for waiting so long (beyond the Planet’s expiration date, I fear!) to stand up and act consistent with my values.
We all agree that a Trump Presidency would be catastrophic. On my travels in Spain (April), Italy (June) and Greece (July), when anyone learned that I was an American, they almost always asked my opinions about the election and expressed alarm about a possible Trump Presidency. I share their alarm, but I reject the binary-thinking that a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump.
The candidates win or lose their campaigns, while the voters cast their ballots. I reject the notion that my vote for Jill Stein will cost HRC the election. If Clinton loses, then her campaign autopsy should consider many factors. I’ll list a few.
- Clinton’s positions on the substantive issues might have failed to persuade enough voters to support her.
- Clinton’s track record (years and years on the track) might have failed to persuade enough voters to support her.
- Clinton’s campaign staff and volunteers might have failed to GOTV sufficiently.
- Clinton’s Superdelegates who swung the primary in her favor might have failed to swing the general election in her favor.
- Clinton’s legal issues (emails, etc.) might have ended up being a greater drag on her run for the White House than the Superdelegates and the DNC imagined.
- Clinton’s DNC’s apology to Bernie Sanders might have failed to convince enough voters that the DNC is not a tool of the party establishment.
- Clinton’s flip-flopping on the TPP might have failed to convince enough voters that her current opposition to the TPP is genuine.
- Clinton’s aggressive pro-fracking advocacy around the world might have failed to convince enough voters at home that she’s serious about tackling climate change, as many of us believe it must be fought.
- Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy positions might have unnerved many voters who thought they had voted for a change in direction when they elected Obama, but soon learned Obama (and even more so Clinton) did not share many Americans’ concerns about our country’s perpetual war.
- Her obeisant and unquestioning loyalty to the government of Israel might not sit well with a growing number of American Jews who are fed up with Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza.
There will certainly be many other factors to consider postmortem, if Clinton loses in November, but realistically the polls and common wisdom point in her favor. The list of Republicans who are voting for Clinton is growing daily.
So why am I NOT voting for Clinton? Why can’t I bite my tongue, pinch my nose, or do whatever else it might take to vote for the lesser of two evils?
I always knew I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. I knew it in 2008 and my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m not a Bernie or Bust groupie. I abhor group-think in any form. Just because Bernie Sanders now endorses HRC and urges his supporters to vote for her, doesn’t persuade me in the least to follow his recommendation. I think for myself.
After it was clear that Trump would be the Republican nominee, and HRC would be the Democratic nominee, I considered my options and decided that I could vote for Jill Stein. Here’s my calculus.
I’m voting in New Mexico, a safe state for Dems. If I voted in a swing, battleground state, my calculus would be quite different. HRC is very likely going to pull off a very big win in N.M., even bigger now that many Republicans are jumping their sinking ship and announcing their support for HRC. My vote for Stein will help bolster the Green Party’s standing in 2020, and might send a message to the Democratic Party that they no longer stand for my values.
I’m not a one issue voter. And I don’t demand 100% perfection from any candidate, contrary to what some friends have alleged.
I was an enthusiastic Sanders supporter, contributing $25/month to his campaign before any of my friends on-and-off Facebook acknowledged that he might actually pull off a win. His positions didn’t align with mine 100% but he was much, much closer than any other candidate, and I felt he could be “educated” on issues, such as Black Lives Matter and Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
I’ve been watching HRC and her campaign very carefully these past few weeks, secretly hoping that she would give me some reason to vote for her — not perfection, but some small kernel of hope that I might have been mistaken all these years about her.
She gave me nothing. The DNC gave me nothing. Both confirmed for me that my decision to vote for Jill Stein is the only decision I can make consistent with my values.
Consider the following:
- The primary was rigged against Sanders. Despite many friends asserting otherwise, the evidence appears too strong to deny. I’m particularly disgusted with the Superdelegates disclosing their pledges (for Clinton or Sanders) before the voters even cast their votes. Could Sanders have won the primary if the Superdelegates had not prematurely thrown their support for HRC and the media had not prematurely announced the “winner”? We will never know. But we should all be very troubled with these revelations and how the Democratic primary was conducted.
- The two sides hammered out a pretty good Dem platform, but I was sorely disappointed by the Clinton representatives’ intransigence on TPP and Israel’s occupation of Palestine. I don’t think the Party’s platform should be taken too seriously, it certainly has no binding effect and doesn’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire. But the discussions that lead up to its adoption should give everyone pause. HRC says she opposes the TPP, but then why did her representatives oppose a position against the TPP in the non-binding Democratic Party Platform?
3. I’ve come to the conclusion that we (all of us on the planet) have run out of time. We have the answers, we don’t have the political will power to effect the radical change we need. We don’t have time for the status quo and incrementalism that a Clinton Presidency promises to give us. In my view, HRC represents a nail in the coffin of the war on climate change because of her positions on fracking and oil & gas. She represents a nail in the coffin of a sane and just foreign policy in the Middle East and around the world. She represents a nail in the coffin of a sane economic policy for Americans and everyone on the planet. She just doesn’t get it. Those are the three big issues and she gets an F in all three.
So I’m voting for Jill Stein because I must act and vote consistent with my values. I don’t expect miracles if Stein is elected, but I don’t expect a continuation of the status quo either. If Jill Stein’s deeds and actions match only a sliver of her rhetoric, then she will be a better President than either HRC or Trump. And she’ll be the first woman elected President in the United States, the first Green Party candidate elected, and the first sane candidate elected to the highest office in the land who is unbeholding to the corporatocracy.
I won’t tell you how to vote, but I hope you will get out and vote.