An Open Letter To My Fellow American Progressives.

To my dear, like-minded souls (God, I love you) thinking about voting “anti-establishment this election.” Allow me this rebuttal:

Scenario 1: Not voting. This act/attitude is only available to the very oppressed or the insanely privileged (and you’re probably the latter if you’re reading this). Your vote up and down the ballot is **critical.** The supreme court judge, senators and propositions that will make life better immediately for millions are all on the line. Millions would do anything for this right — don’t squander it!

Scenario 2: Voting for Jill Stein. Unless you are actively working year-round to take on the establishment and build new political systems, a third-party vote smacks of exactly the kind of national temper tantrum we are trying to avoid. You cannot assume that you know how this will pan out and that your vote for Hillary doesn’t matter. A stray vote in this election is much more likely to empower Republicans (whose ambitions, reminder, were amply evil before Trump came along).

Scenario 3: Promoting the idea that a Trump presidency will yield a revolution that makes it possible to undo the two-party system and incite “real” change. Stop it. Stop glamorizing civil unrest, hate riots, terrorism, getting nuked, and certain annihilation via climate change, while immigrants live in silence, black men die on the streets and women die at the hands of their partners in their own homes. This is not the history you want to write.

I understand your disgust and desire to disconnect from what’s not working, but please, I beg of you, don’t let it take you out of the game. In light of this hate-spewing, rape culture extravaganza — and countless other threats to our intelligence, goodness, security and future — it is crystal clear to me that this Presidential election is no longer about choosing the “lesser of two evils.” With many thanks to Bernie and Millenials, Hillary is running the most progressive Democratic platform in history and it’s not all lip service. The welfare of millions of women and girls are at stake — and we know that when we empower and educate women, we improve the lives of all genders, across entire communities to the benefit and restorative care of the entire planet. Do not underestimate the ripple effect of a woman in office, no matter how hawkish or corporate she might be.

One more challenge, if you’re still with me :) It’s all too easy to look around and conclude with resignation, “well it’s all bought and paid for; it’s rigged and we’re f*cked” and start preparing for the zombie apocalypse. But guess what? That’s also taking the easy way out.

It takes a little something extra to grieve, rage AND hope, and to use that cocktail as fuel for any number of rebellious acts of peace and sovereignty that are available to us all right now.

You say you want a revolution? Grow some of your own food. Compost. Get off the grid. Cut your plane and car travel. Ditch plastic. Say no to fast fashion. Divest. Create not consume.

Any one of these actions will send out meaningful shock waves and do more to loosen the grip of the capitalist system on our lives (while not completely driving us off the political cliff)!

Register to vote. Phone bank for Hillary. Share this post. Talk to your friends. Your voice matters. ❤

With love, Aria