Thank You, America Ferrera!
An open letter regarding a dishonest tweet
Dear America Ferrera,
I’m completely caught up on “Superstore.” You guys hit me in my soft parts this week with the unusually direct support for paid family leave and unions in “Labor.” It’s easy to see a lot of love goes into the show. I guess you could say I’ve become a little Jonah-ish as of late — annoyingly principled.
When you endorsed Hillary Clinton, I was disappointed. I don’t despise HRC. I do stand behind Michelle Alexander’s statement, “There is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.” — from her article, “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.”
I gotta be honest—I don’t really get it. I’m only mildly familiar with your political activity: I know you were part of John Oliver’s segment on paid family leave, earlier this month you appeared on stage with Gloria Steinem at the MAKERS Conference, and I remember reading your open letter, “Thank You, Donald Trump!” In your letter, you thanked The Donald for the fire he lit with his bigotry under Latino voters who are now inspired and engaged to get involved and to come out to the polls.
You might have guessed by now I’m a supporter of Bernie Sanders. My heart sank to read this week that a recent, debunked rumor against Sanders began with you and civil rights activist — and fellow vocal Clinton supporter — Dolores Huerta.
I’m really trying to understand what happened here. Partially because everything I know about you (which admittedly isn’t all that much) begs the benefit of the doubt. Partially because I’ve attended a Bernie rally and we can be a little excitable. It’s easy to see why Huerta — whose reputation earns a special kind of empathy — might have felt confused and upset as, after all, Sanders supporters were adamantly chanting against a Clinton supporter acting as translator for another candidate. We can be a rowdy bunch and there are more than twice as many of us at events on average than you might be seeing at HRC’s events. I understand chanting against Huerta was borderline unsportsmanlike.
I like to think it was unnecessary — certainly we can trust someone who has worked for decades on behalf of Spanish-speaking and multi-lingual Americans to be fair in her translation. But now I don’t know. Given that you both tweeted the rumor in question on Feb. 20th and a day later, your statement — which was seen and spread to 3,816 multiplying audiences of who-the-f*ck-knows how many people, was debunked on Snopes.
People are pissed, you get it. You’re obviously involved in this election because you’re pissed too — and you chose to hitch your wagon to HRC’s for a number of reasons.
But with two full, long days to recant, delete, correct, or alter your statement, your silence is making an unintended statement for you—that you don’t care it was false. (It’s the same statement made, by the way, by Huerta, Eva Longoria, and a slew of sloppy journalists).
Of course, this isn’t even in the same universe as The Donald’s infamously vulgar speech. You didn’t call us drug dealers or rapists and political support is a choice, not a race. I understand the whopping difference. But your statement did light a fire under Bernie supporters — many of whom are Latino — shown in hundreds of responses to the tweets in question.
Thank you, genuinely, for working to bridge the gap between Latino voters and American politicians. Thank you for getting involved in progressive politics. Thank you for giving a shit.
I understand loyalty. I get that the politics of politics are complex and that I only see part of the picture from this great distance. I don’t get why you’re letting this silence continue following clear evidence that your statement was factually incorrect. I don’t get why you’re “with her.” I encourage you to research Hillary’s sordid history with Latinos, whom you are personally and directly aiming to reach with both your support of Clinton and your false claim against Sanders. But regardless of how I feel, I will vote Hillary if I have to. I believe not voting is a surrender of a fundamental right, even if you only have two options you could never call leader.
If you continue campaigning for her, that’s great. I hope you wield your political lightsaber with dignity. There are legitimate complaints you could raise against Sanders — there is no saint without stain, as they say. But for the one you’ve raised, I hope you reappropriate your words from this tweet of support to someone working in the layer of hell called retail:
Until then, “Thank you, America Ferrera!,” for the fire you lit under the asses of Bernie supporters everywhere, who have a set of unfortunate tweets to pile on to the proof that the campaign of HRC is metaphorically ridin’ dirty. Trust that your candidate can win playing above board. Even if she doesn’t, you can.