Fuck your protest vote

Image from voxeurop.eu
Image from voxeurop.eu

Sorry, I guess that title comes on a little strong. No, actually, I’m not sorry at all. Because the vast majority of folks I know who are voting third party or Republican are white men whose lives are not likely to change if DJT is elected. An acquaintance of mine explained his vote as “I vote with my interests first.” Another said, “Well, abortion will always be legal in New York, so even if the Supreme Court changes, it’ll be fine here.” Hold up. What? So as long as you’re okay, and nothing changes for you, then we can let a racist, misogynist, xenophobic man with no experience potentially represent us as the leader of our nation, and arguably, the free world? This is what you’re saying. Well, I say fuck that shit.

I know that many folks are looking at third parties as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction with the two major party candidates. I don’t blame you. But the reality is that neither Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein will be the next president of the United States. Some of that is because we have a two party system, and I agree that this often puts us as voters in the position of choosing between two candidates that may not fit our personal ideals. But the blame doesn’t just lie with the corrupt D’s and R’s (yes, they each have their share of corruption, even my team). The Libertarian and Green parties do not do enough work between presidential elections, do not build sufficient political infrastructure at the state and local levels, do not send representatives to Congress. You can’t sit out the daily practice, and then show up every four years, looking to be the captain of the team. That’s not how the political process (or anything else) works. If we want a multi party system, then those smaller parties need to be a part of the nitty gritty, unsexy, political work that happens all over America every day. You can’t just trot out Johnson and Stein every four years to siphon off votes from D’s and R’s, and complain about the two party system. That’s insufficient, and just plain dumb.

Look, it’s your vote, and I can’t stop you, but I can write about it with lots of expletives. I get not liking how things turned out this election. My guy lost the nomination, in a process that was not even handed. And I’m not happy about that. But even Bernie Sanders himself said, “This is not the time for a protest vote.” So you can’t claim to #feelthebern, and also not listen to the Bern, unless you are practicing cognitive dissonance as a discipline. Whether you like Hillary Clinton or not (and I realize that there are many who don’t), she and Bernie Sanders have voted the same way 93% of the time in their Senate careers.

I have my reservations about Hillary Clinton. But I have a hell of a lot more reservations about Donald Trump’s lack of experience, lack of intellectual curiosity, and narcissistic temperament. I’ll take experienced, intelligent Hillary Clinton, warts and all. Know why? Because even if my daughter’s uterus is safe in New York, some girl in Oklahoma deserves the same protection under the law. Because my Muslim friends and neighbors deserve to walk out of their homes, wearing a hijab if they choose to, unafraid. Because immigration is a part of the fabric of our country, and shouldn’t be denied because of your faith or ethnicity. Because my friends in the LGBTQ community deserve the same rights as everyone else. Because yes, black lives matter. Because my right to live trumps (verb intended) the NRA’s stranglehold on gun legislation. Because I’d like our planet to not be completely destroyed by those who deny climate science. Because all of this, and so many other reasons. Things that are bigger than me and my life in suburban New York. When I cast my vote, I cast it with all these other people in mind, because our collective well being relies on us each caring for each other as well as ourselves.

I don’t think that anyone has ever had their mind changed by a blog post, so I’m not counting on this rant getting you to see things differently. It’s probably a selfish exercise to blow off steam on my part. But I can’t stay silent as I watch this election potentially go the way of electing a truly dangerous man as the next president. There’s way too much at stake, at home and around the world to sit by and say nothing. I guess I’m casting a protest vote myself in November- a protest against hatred as a form of governing. What will you be standing for?