This is a very well-written piece, and you make lots of important points about the problems of American politics and foreign policy. Fine. I’m not going to debate foreign policy with you.
Because all of that is entirely, completely, and 100% beside the point. You can write as passionately and eloquently as you want about what democracy should look like and the failed promise of America and the military industrial complex, but none of that changes the fact that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be our next president.
Or the reality that Trump would be a fucking disaster on an unprecedented level, for every progressive cause you can possibly think of. And yes, including foreign policy. He wants to increase the U.S. military presence in China, develop nuclear weapons in South Korea and use them against North Korea, triple the sanctions we had on Iran before the nuclear deal, “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, kill the families of suspected terrorists, and take in zero refugees.
How do you think Iranians feel about a return to crushing sanctions that kept out necessities like flour and baby formula? How do you think people in North Korea feel about our willingness to consider a candidate who actually plans to drop a nuclear bomb on them? How do you think Syrian asylum seekers waiting for their visas feel about a president who would cancel all the applications because he considers them all terrorists?
And I am blown away by the ease with which you brush off the importance of the Supreme Court. You say marriage equality is “nice, it’s necessary, it’s beautiful, but what about all the dead?” Jesus. How do you think LGBT Americans feel about your breezy dismissal of their oppression and struggle for fundamental human rights? You ask if we are “willing to send a message to the world that we will vote for either of their villains so we don’t have to be uncomfortable,” and gee, it really sounds like you think denial of the right to marriage equality is a mere discomfort. Check your fucking privilege.
And “what about all the dead”?? Good lord, it’s like you actually think no one ever dies as a result of having the wrong people on the Supreme Court. What about the dead, indeed. Do you know how many women — overwhelmingly poor women of color — died in Texas for lack of access to abortion because of the laws struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt? Do you? Are their lives not worth fighting for?
Even if all you care about is lives, and not rights or quality of life, there are a lot of lives at stake depending on mere domestic policy issues. Take gun violence. Obama has enacted gun regulations including background checks and smart gun technology that represent a serious step forward, and Clinton would continue that trend. The Supreme Court could either uphold or strike down those laws, depending on who the Justices are. Trump wants to remove the gun-free zones around schools and the limits on magazine size and background checks. These are major differences on life or death issues. Gun violence in America kills over 30,000 people per year, and complications from self-induced abortions before Roe killed 5,000 a year. Internationally, complications from unsafe abortions kill over 68,000 people per year, and a large part of the reason they are unsafe is the enforcement of the Hyde Amendment, which Clinton intends to repeal. So don’t lecture me about how many lives are at stake.
I notice you didn’t actually say which of the two candidates you would prefer, if you had to choose. And I wonder if you actually want to see Trump elected:
“What’s different between the two is that I believe Clinton, like Obama, will continue to make us feel good about that suffering — with fairytales about American Exceptionalism she is already writing with her McCarthyist, antagonistic rhetoric toward Russia and Iran and her complete refusal to acknowledge the “errors” of her past. Democrats will froth at the mouth for war with Clinton in charge. They might fight tooth and nail against the same agenda from a Republican, because tribalism. Tribalism of which people are perpetuating to a dangerous level by writing one-sided praise and defense of either candidate.”
I think you are actually suggesting that it would be good for Trump to be elected, because when he unleashes the fiery apocalypse of doom at least he will galvanize Democrats to fight against him, and if Democrats suffer enough under Trump, we will realize the error of our ways and vote for Bernie or Jill next time. That’s wrong. Not just strategically, but morally. It’s the cold and calculating trade of millions of lives for the possibility of a better outcome in the next election. Ick.
A central problem of your approach to the election is that you are focused entirely on the past and not at all on the future. You say you want to see war criminals tried, and I think that’s very telling. You are trying to use this election to put Clinton on trial for what you see as her war crimes. You talk about the “message” we’re sending to foreign countries by electing Clinton, and the need to be “held accountable.” And then you actually say, “It is not my opinion that we should give them promotions for their handiwork.” You are treating the presidency as if it’s a reward you won’t give Clinton because she hasn’t earned it. That’s ass backwards.
I see a lot of handwringing — eloquent and well-researched though it may be — about the problems of American democracy, and absolutely zero attempt at a solution. Because although you’ve written something like 5,000 words about your outrage at Clinton, you haven’t said anything about how voting for Jill Stein is going to fix anything.
You say your “endgame is Democracy in America,” but I don’t see how you’re going to achieve that. You say by voting for Hillary we are “allow this corporate takeover to grow into the fascism it is,” but you are allowing it too. You quote Orwell about revolution, but are you literally taking up arms in the street? I seriously fucking doubt it.
Voting for a third party candidate is not a “revolution.” It’s a waste. Jill Stein is not going to be President, and you know it. You’re making a statement no one will hear about how much you hate the current state of American politics. That’s not action, and it’s certainly not revolutionary. It’s a temper tantrum.
You are screaming and screaming about how bad things are and how much worse they’re going to get, but you are doing absolutely fucking nothing to make things better.
You say you think the important thing is that we “don’t allow another bomb to drop in the name of protectionism and the violation of human rights laws until we stop violating them ourselves” (which sounds exactly like dangerous ideological purity to me, but again, not debating you about foreign policy per se). But how do we stop the bombs from falling? You know the bombs still fall even if you get to say they’re not “in your name” because you didn’t vote for the president dropping them, right?
You’re talking about how bad both options are like there is another choice. But in the real world, it’s going to be Clinton or Trump. Neither is not an option.
Oh, and I notice you still have not responded to my request that you engage with the long positive argument for Clinton. And yes, I do think that is a result of a desire for ideological purity and rigid unwillingness to compromise.
If you are really as angry as you say you are about the state of the world, do something about it. Opting out (or pretending you’re opting out, because it’s not like you’re moving to Syria and giving up the privileges of American citizenship) isn’t doing something. Put your money where your mouth is and work for something. Once the rest of us elect Clinton for you, you can lobby and fight and organize around the issues you care most about. How about focusing your energy on actual solutions?