Debunking The Bullshit Claim: “You’re Privileged If You Don’t Vote For Clinton”
I want to start this off by saying this: yes, privilege does exist. It exists in many dynamics of our identities as human beings of certain communities. White privilege, cisgender privilege, heterosexual privilege, wealth privilege, and so on. I want to clarify that it does not mean you are a bad person; it just means that you are able to live your life easier, in ways others are not. For an example, white people able to live their lives with a less likely chance of being targeted and murdered by police. That is a privilege because although it should be a right, in the U.S.A people of color, in particular Black folks, do not have that right. As a trans person, as a woman, and as a poor person, I know that there are things that I have to worry about and struggle against when others do not, rooted specifically because of who I am. I want it to be understood that having privilege does not invalidate any struggles — i.e, transphobia, xenophobia, misogyny, racism, or classism. But we should not be trying to have an oppression Olympics. Stop trying to use the concept of “privilege” as an insult. Being a poor white trans woman does not mean I do not have white privilege. Being a white woman does not mean you do not have white privilege. Being a Black man does not mean you do not have male privilege. Being a heterosexual woman does not mean you do not have heterosexual privilege. But it also does not invalidate the oppression, the struggle of misogyny, racism, etc., you struggle against and fight against.
With all that being said, I want to call bullshit on the notion that somebody is privileged if they do not vote for Hillary Clinton. It is total bullshit.
Back in 2008, and in 2012, we were told that we must vote for Obama to stop McCain or Romney; that if we allow a Republican in the white house we will have poverty, war and a string of problems. Almost every reason cited as why we need to stop the Republicans even if we do not like Obama’s policies, happened with Obama’s policies. We are still in Iraq, still in Afghanistan, and now we are also in many countries like Syria, where Obama recently added hundreds more troops. We toppled countries we were not in, before Obama’s presidency, directly or indirectly, like Libya and Honduras. We are in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen doing inhumane acts of destruction and mass murder. We killed Osama and now we have ISIS. Things did not get better. We, in particular Hillary Clinton, sent weapons to dictators like the Saudi kings, Hosni Mubarak, and Abdullah Gül. “You have to vote to stop McCain/Romney from destabilizing the world!” — we got the same thing anyway by voting for a Democrat. The world has remains and continues to be destablized, not because Bush messed up so badly, but because Obama’s policies mimic Bush’s policies of imperialism and militarism. The problem with George Bush’s policies were not that they were “too militaristic”, “too imperialist”, etc, but they were imperialist, militarist and jingoistic. It is necessary to realize the difference between the Democrats and Republicans is not in fundamental differences; it is in very marginal ways. Democrats do coups and small military invasions; Republicans just go all out but we get the same results of death, destruction, imperialism, colonialism and chaos.
What is Hillary Clinton’s plan for Syria? More weapons, more war.
Hillary’s plan regarding Syria is to increase the support to Syrian rebels. Hillary calls herself a “progressive that likes to get things done” — but by “things”, she means getting a no-fly zone over Syrian airspace in order to start war with Russia, Syria, etc. This is a third force-esque resemblance of when the USA supported Ngô Đình Diệm for his anti-communist stances despite him being an oppressive authoritarian; but I bet the rebels this time actually are moderate (sarcasm). My point being, there are no moderate rebels in Syria. If we aid Syrian rebels against Assad, we are going to topple Syria and create the same type of geopolitical power vacuum that we created for the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot to occupy Cambodia but for ISIS. Which is actually already happened in Libya because Hillary Clinton decided to go on an imperialist rampage of death and destruction. If it is actually not her goal to help the rebels destroy the Syrian government, but actually a plan to equalize the battlefield in hopes of forcing Assad to the bargaining table, what makes anybody think that is going to work? That did not work historically and we have only ended up dumping more and more money, lives and energy into this than we were originally told it would cost. With the ground that Assad has been able to accumulate back, why would anybody think pouring more money into the industrial military complex would solve the problem? It did not work then, it is not working now, it will not work later.
Anwar al-Awlaki after 9/11 was invited to the Pentagon to give a lecture on how to improve relations between Muslims and Christians, as a “moderate muslim” in the U.S.A. After it, as the U.S government increased spying on muslims and mosques, he became “radicalized”. After some time, he went to Yemen and began to fight against the U.S with terrorists. He, an American, was killed by a drone strike, without due process by Obama’s administration. You may say: “Well, he was a terrorist, who cares!?” or say he denounced his citizenship therefore he gets no due process. That is a completely different conversation to be had about due process, constitutionality of the “hit list” and drone strikes but that is not why I am telling you this. I am telling you this because he had a son. His son’s name was Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. He was a 16 year old American citizen. He was not a terrorist. But Obama’s administration assassinated him, just a few weeks after they killed his father — his father, that he did not see for years. This is how the administration defended that:
Trump said he would target the families of terrorists — Obama already has but the media does not seem to care and refuses to hold Obama (or any Democrats) accountable for their war crimes. What I got from that video was: “Do not become a terrorist or we will target your family. It is his [Abdulrahman al-Awlaki’s] fault for having a bad parent.” Just because Democrats do not boast and show-off war crimes as a badge of honor, does not mean they do not commit them. Hillary, being much more militarist, aggressive and neoconservative, it should be expected that she will too.
We were told we cannot have another Republican because the economy will be horrible — newsflash: it is still horrible. After the economic crash, poverty rose to 15%. Since 2010, it has steadily been about 14%–15%. Income inequality reached an all-time high, velocity of money reached an all-time low, poverty is still high, and although unemployment was cut in half, it does not matter that much. There is still soaring levels of underemployment and economic growth and low unemployment rates did not reduce poverty. It is not about how many jobs are added to an economy if those jobs cannot give the working class people a minimum standard of living, free of poverty. The U.S economy is not all that great and the global economy is far worse — and ours has no signs of getting better and the global economy is getting worse.
Yes, Obama did struggle against Republican obstructionism but Obama did have some congressional sessions that were both controlled by the Democrats; almost his full first term. And lets be completely honest with ourselves: Republicans gaining control of congress is his fault. Not fully but a very large part of it. It is a leader’s duty to energize the party and get them out to vote; if they do not vote for your party, it is your fault for not being good enough, inspiring and energizing. If Obama was not able to energize the Party and Hillary is even less likely, with her near-universal lack of appeal, I have no reason to believe Democrats will control congress during a Clinton presidency. Hypothetically, if Democrats controlled the congress, the problems would have still existed. There are actually fundamental problems with Obama’s (and Hillary’s) policies overall. Obama’s foreign policies are imperialist, neocolonialist, militarist and aggressive; Hillary’s are even more so. Obama’s economic policies are neoliberal, so are Hillary’s. They would not have done the working class people any good even if he did everything he wanted to. The problem with Bush’s policies were not that they were “too capitalistic” but that they were capitalist. Hillary marketing herself as Obama 2.0 is unappealing to me, especially as a marginalized person.
Income inequality has been on the rise for nearly half of a century and with all of the Democratic presidents or congresses we have had, did not fix it. There is no reason to believe another one will. If anything, we should understand another one, will not. Does the president have the ability, through Dodd-Frank, to break up the banks? Yes. But Obama has not and Hillary has made it clear she will not. Current legislation mandates the large financial institutions to submit a plan that they can quickly and swiftly liquidate assets in lieu of systemic risks; they have routinely failed to submit an adequate plan for years — and no action has been taken, they are still posing a systemic risk to the economy. Hillary Clinton’s policies are no better and given her relationship to corporate and bourgeois interests, there is no reason to believe she will be any different. It will be all talk, no show. There has been and will be no accountability for financial institutions.
The banks that pose the largest systemic risk to the economy; the banks on the G-20 stability board’s watch list of banks that pose a systemic risk, are the banks that donate to her campaigns. You cannot decry Republicans taking donations from these same interests, saying it affects how they vote but then turn a blind eye, foolishly saying it does not affect Hillary’s decisions. She praised Dodd-Frank and given that her husband, with her by his side, deregulated the hell out of the economy in the 1990’s, was okay — but only because there was such little to begin with that almost anything was good. Her refusal to support a reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act is because of who her donors are. Dodd-Frank to actual standards, not compared to the status quo, is pathetic and weak.
Barney Frank, the “Frank” from “Dodd-Frank” was given a donation by the Republican chairman of Signature Bank™ right after the bill was passed — you tell me why Republican chairmen of banks are donating money to Barney Frank? Scott Shay donated to Eric Cantor’s congressional run, John McCain’s presidency run, Mitt Romney’s Presidential candidacy and a host of other Republicans. If it were really enough to keep them in check, to regulate them, to hold them accountable — they would have not donated to him. It is also worth noting that Frank now sits on the board of Signature Bank™, which has been sued over a 66 million dollar Ponzi scheme.
The fact she said “if they deserve it” in regards to breaking up the banks; 1.) shows that she does not understand the difference between revenge and justice [which is probably why she supports capital punishment] 2.) shows she does not understand why people are calling for the banks to be broken up. They [the banks] currently are much larger than they were when they were, “too big to fail” and her refusal to break them up when they pose such a risk, is because of who her donors are. If they were “too big to fail” then, and they are significantly larger now, posing a larger systemic risk now, how is it even arguable to say “if they deserve it”? Breaking up the banks is not for revenge or retribution — it is to protect the working class people from having to bail them out and pick up the pieces of society after they crash the economy. Alas, Hillary Clinton will not stand up to bourgeois interests when she is the bourgeoisie— she has a $31 million net worth. Her husband has a $80 million net worth. Her daughter’s net worth is $15 million. Marc Mezvinsky, Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law, worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for 8 years and currently owns and runs a hedge fund called Eaglevale Partners; he bought a condo for $10.5 million. You know how expensive the Clinton’s houses are? They will not do anything to make sure the wealth generated goes to the working class because they want the wealth to continue going to them.
In regards to immigration, Obama has deported more immigrants than any other President in American history; and now, the spring of 2016, he is planning more deportation raids specifically targeting women and children. Hillary recently said she would not deport en mass, but in 2015, she defended her call to deport children. She has a call to end “private immigrant detention centers” but she takes money from private prison lobbyists and others. Let me be clear: they did not give her thousands of dollars for her to abolish their business. I have no reason to believe she will be doing that and if you do, you are not grasping reality. She talks a good talk but that is all it is. To quote the Washington Post, “Hillary goes conservative on immigration ”:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is staking out a position on illegal immigration that is more conservative than President Bush, a strategy that supporters and detractors alike see as a way for the New York Democrat to shake the “liberal” label and appeal to traditionally Republican states.
Mrs. Clinton — who is tagged as a liberal because of her plan for nationalized health care and various remarks during her husband’s presidency — is taking an increasingly vocal and hard-line stance on an issue that ranks among the highest concerns for voters, particularly Republicans.
“Bush has done everything he can to leave the doors wide open,” said Robert Kunst, president of HillaryNow.com, a group dedicated to drafting Mrs. Clinton to run for president. “Hillary is the only one taking a position on immigration. She will win that issue hands down.”
In an interview last month on Fox News, Mrs. Clinton said she does not “think that we have protected our borders or our ports or provided our first responders with the resources they need, so we can do more and we can do better.”
In an interview on WABC radio, she said: “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.”
Will immigrants be safer under a Clinton presidency? No. Do I fear Trump more than Clinton? No. Anything Trump says he will do, in his aggressive xenophobic tongue, Hillary will do also but with a smile and flowery words.
2016 has been called the most dangerous year for trans people and we have seen a string of transphobic bathroom bills and a series of trans people, in particular trans women of color, being murdered and attacked. Hillary Clinton said she opposes the bills and markets herself as a “LGBT champion”. It is good to be able to pee in public bathrooms safely but that hardly makes her a champion or an ally. If that is a standard for “ally”, that is fucked up and pathetic. Her using my correct pronouns does not make her an ally, she can take her cookie hunting ass somewhere else. No gold stars, no cookies, no getting a pat on the back. The only time she talks about trans rights, is about transgender assimilation into the military, protecting trans people from discrimination, bathrooms and that is pretty much it. We are still going to have a lack of access to healthcare because she does not support a single-payer healthcare system, poverty because she does not support a $15 minimum wage, and overall economic struggle because she is a capitalist. My life as a trans woman will not be any harder or easier under Clinton than under Trump. Military assimilation? That is not my goal. I do not think having a trans inclusive military going around doing the same destruction and going on imperialist and militaristic rampages is any better than a transphobic military doing that. And doing those rampages and that destruction: that is racism, that is transphobia, and that is misogyny. It is not like trans people, people of color or women do not exist in the countries that her policies extort, exploit and where it effectively kills trans people, people of color, and women.
Even though Hillary Clinton said she could compromise on limiting late-term abortion, preventing rape victims from having access to late-term abortions, let's ignore that. If you think Trump is going to get all he said through congress that he proposed, you need to rethink that. Because they hate him for the most part. On abortion, 40%+, according to reuters, of Republicans believe that there should be no penalty. I am not aware of any Republican U.S senator that doesn’t oppose punishing folk for having abortions; good luck getting that through congress. There is no way you are getting legislation through congress when almost half of your own party does not even support it and never will. These attacks on abortion, happen at state levels, there is no way of getting them on the national scale; as simplistic as a top-down analysis of federal vs. state would be, it is not that simplistic. They are separate and intertwined powers that work in various ways of appealing via courts, judges, etc. Which is how the states are able to legalize marijuana while at the same time the federal government retains a ban. If you worry about these abortion restrictions, you should be far more concerned with your state senator, representative, and governor than who the president is. Even through challenging constitutionality of legislation through courts is messy, expensive and exhausting because many times it becomes a run around of appeal courts and stalling that can go on for quite some time. Gay marriage ban was overturned via the Supreme court which also knocked down the statewide bans — did we forget the string of appeals from each Republican governor?
To quote Michelle Alexander from “The New Jim Crow”:
Clinton did not stop there. Determined to prove how “tough” he could be on “them,” Clinton also made it easier for federally-assisted public housing projects to exclude anyone with a criminal history — an extraordinarily harsh step in the midst of a drug war aimed at racial and ethnic minorities. In his announcement of the “One Strike and You’re Out” Initiative, Clinton explained: “From now on, the rule for residents who commit crime and peddle drugs should be “one strike and you’re out.” The new rule promised to be “the toughest admission and eviction policy that HUD has implemented.” Thus, for countless poor people, particularly racial minorities targeted by the drug war, public housing was no longer available, leaving many of them homeless — locked out not only of mainstream society, but their own homes.
This is one of the many bills that make up the “New Jim Crow” — Hillary has not spoken about it. Clinton instituted it, Obama did not end it and the Democrats as a party, as an institution over the last two decades have not fought against them. And yes, I know, she did not sign the bills — but she did push them and stood by his side cheering him on as he signed them.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” — Desmond Tutu
In her book, Michelle Alexander outlines the many policies and many issues harming people of color, in particular Black people, that Democrats have not fought against and in many cases, fought and fight for. There is little to no reason to believe that any Democrat, Hillary Clinton of all people, will do much to fight against it as pretty and appealing as her vocabulary is.
The lives of marginalized people are not going to be better under a Clinton presidency opposed to a Trump because of her. There will still be imperialist wars, still have deportation, still have shitty neoliberal economics, and still have the corporate revolving door. Abortion rights and justice and equity for marginalized people, are not going to be better due to Clinton winning. She won’t have a blue congress because 60%+ of the country does not like her — and even if she did, history shows that under Obama and her husband, things still do not get better. There is no reason to believe she’ll be better than Obama on immigration, her economic policies are poverty inducing neoliberal trash, and of foreign policy; she’s just as militaristic and imperialist as George W. Bush.
Every reason cited as why we must vote for the “lesser”, happens anyway. All of the oppressions that exist, continues to exist. And any progress we have made, came out of grassroots activism, bottom-up. We have pushed Democrats for the small bits of progress we cling to, saying “We’re making progress!” as they fight against us, lie to us and try to undo our progress. It took over a decade of pushing Hillary Clinton just to support gay marriage. She did not do any fighting for it; she was not a senator or anything; her entire career as a politician in congress or in the white house, she opposed it. You spit in every grassroots activists face that struggled to achieve that milestone when you give the credit to people like Hillary Clinton.
“Lesser evil” discourse that regards Hillary as the “lesser evil” is entirely based in eurocentrism and a perpetuation of global white supremacy.
There is no lesser evil to Palestinians struggling and fighting against ethnic cleansing and colonialism. There is no lesser evil to the Congolese miners exploited by AGOA and American corporations. There is no lesser evil to undocumented immigrants fleeing violence created by Hillary’s neoliberalism and imperialism. There is no lesser evil to the Greek population struggling against the IMF & Merkel’s austerity. There is no lesser evil to Muslims and People of Color in the Middle East that are the victims and families of victims of drone strikes. There was no lesser evil to Berta Cáceres (r.i.p) because she was assassinated as a result of Hillary Clinton’s policies.
The idea that Hillary is somehow a lesser evil only exists through a lens of eurocentrism and global white capitalist domination. There is no “lesser evil” to the victims of American capitalism, colonialism, and oppression — to people in the Global South. To many marginalized people around the world, the election of Hillary Clinton is a perpetuation of the same oppression perpetuated by her male predecessors. Don’t act like you’re voting for Hillary to “protect marginalized people”, because you’re not.
Voting for Hillary Clinton in the wake of the rise of fascism is not the answer, it will not help stop fascism at all. In fact, Hillary Clinton as President would exacerbate the rise of fascism.
Capitalist policies are the root cause of the rise of fascism. Trump supporters are largely working class whites that have misdirected feelings of disempowerment created by capitalism, directed towards muslims, people of color and immigrants. They think that immigrants, muslims and people of color are the reason they’re in poverty when in reality, working class whites are in poverty because of the bourgeoisie and capitalism. And with Hillary Clinton’s capitalist policies, she will continue to oppress the working class — including those same working class whites. A vote against Trump is a misdiagnoses of the rise of fascism. Fascism is not rising because Trump decided to run for the Republican nomination, it was going to rise with or without him. Adding neoliberalism to the rise of fascism is like pouring gasoline on a fire pretending like the gasoline is water. The idea that voting for Hillary to stop Trump because it’ll end the rise of fascism is ahistorical and bullshit.
No, it is not privileged to not support Hillary Clinton in a general election, nor is it a good idea, even more so with the rise of fascism in America. As marginalized people, we are screwed either way. It will not get better; it did not before, there is no sensible reason to believe this time will be any different.
“Fascism is capitalism in decay.” — Lenin