Defeat Trump, we must!

Bernie Sanders changed history. He gave us hope that perhaps the long-shot might actually be possible. He has the power to move the Democrats leftward and even gave us a glimpse into the penetrability of the two-party system. But his/our time hasn’t come. Not yet; At least not in the role of President. And I understand that some of his supporters are disappointed…furious even.

But if you’re thinking of writing in “Bernie” or throwing your vote away to make a point, please consider the nature of our democracy — in fact the very essence of it. Individual voices matter but ultimately your opinion is no more important than the rest of the electorate. Righteousness and anger are human responses to disappointment but our system is not designed so you that you can have exactly what you want. Rather, it’s about our collective voice and ultimately, that involves compromise. Your political beliefs, or mine, can’t and don’t necessarily define the outcome.

I’ve heard people say if Trump wins, Hilary supporters and the DNC would be “getting what they deserve” and that we need to effectively burn the place down. That kind of momentary self-righteous and vindictive victory will probably not be sweet enough to justify the cost of a Trump presidency. And it shows a lack of empathy and concern for the citizens who could be gravely affected, specifically those people who are not protected by white privilege, “right” religion or economic freedom. Ironically, the people likely to suffer most are the very people progressives often want to champion. It’s so much easier for those of us who won’t be personally impacted by Trump’s bigotry to say “whateva” or “serves them right”. But I’d prefer to live in a world where we collectively stand up for the people who would suffer even if it’s not us.

Alternatively, Sanders supporters can choose to celebrate his success and be excited about the possibility that next time might be the one. They can feel satisfaction in the change underway and join Bernie in his support of Hillary. As has been said this week by many people more intelligent, experienced and knowledgeable than I, the only thing to do at this point in time is anything and everything we can to ensure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the USA, imperfections not-withstanding. As Bernie himself says, “There is no doubt that the election of Donald Trump as president would be a devastating blow to all that we are fighting for. I cannot in good conscience let that happen”.

The idea that Hillary is an evil just like Trump is beyond my comprehension. Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect but she’ll fight for women and children’s rights, preserve Obamacare, work towards stricter gun laws and continue to improve foreign relations. She’ll work to protect LGBTQ right and she’ll heed climate science.

Trump on the other hand is masterful at igniting fear and fanning the flames of divisiveness we humans are prone to. He’ll happily stir up hatred to serve his goals, flaunt his appalling misogyny, and incite violence to rile up his supporters and to create fear and division. He says he’ll deport millions of people and spend millions of dollars building a wall and a “deportation force” to get rid of immigrants and that promises to end birthright citizenship (which would violate the fourteenth amendment). He plans to ban an entire religious group from entering the US because he makes no distinction between ordinary Muslims and Islamic terrorists.

And so reform is great. Change the system! It certainly needs it and Bernie’s success this year means that it’s in the works and next time might be the charm. In the meantime remember that Trump is building his platform on the promise to institutionalize racism and bigotry. If we collectively allow that to happen — and it could — then we will be announcing to the world that Americans believe discrimination and hatred are acceptable foundations for our actions and our policies. When an American presidential candidate builds a platform based on racial profiling, I still refuse to believe we would collectively say “ok”! I refuse to believe the United States hosts enough racist sentiment for this to succeed.

The time is now to do everything in our power to ensure that Donald Trump is not the next president of the USA and, for better and for worse, that means ensuring that Hillary Clinton is elected in November.