Monday, November 7, 2016

2016 ELECTION!!! KILL ME!!!

I hate the Electoral College, but this year I will use my Electoral College Privilege to vote my conscience.

It's already over in Connecticut, so why wouldn't I?

What I want to do here is explain my position on the presidential election. This is more for my sake than anyone else, so please don't look to me for an endorsement or any advice (unless it's to vote for your local representatives; you should definitely do that).

My presidential vote has never meant a thing because I live in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. CT hasn't voted for a Republican president since 1988. So call me jaded or whatever, but that reality has made me more steadfast about voting for someone who actually represents my beliefs and policies.

Just to be clear, if my previous posts haven't done so already, I believe Donald Trump and his supporters are a threat to our country and common decency and must be stopped. There's no question about that. I'm not gonna even waste any more time explaining why I would never vote for Trump. Its a sad state of affairs that anyone with a functioning brain even has to spend time denouncing him. There is no rational argument to letting this buffoonish, boorish, clownish conman lead a country. None.

The thing that I'm struggling with, the thing I have agonized over for months, is which woman I will give my vote to. If I was in a swing state, I would probably give in and vote for Clinton because ultimately, I agree that defeating Chump and his deranged minions is the most important goal here. But my state will do that without my help. Plus, I think there are a lot of people with policies just as dangerous as Trump's. In fact, they may be even more dangerous because they know how to put a more acceptable spin on those policies. Mike Pence can come out of the debate with the respect of Democrats because he talks like a normal human being, even though he signed a law that made it mandatory to have funerary services for aborted fetuses, in an attempt to ultimately ban abortions all together. So is Trump an existential threat? Sure. but more for his buffoonishness than anything. The insane policies and racism and sexism are not exclusive to him. Guys like Pence scare me just as much as Trump.

However, Clinton scares me, too. Mostly, the rush to elect her and look past everything she has ever done just to defeat Trump scares me. Democrats refuse to acknowledge her many flaws; yet if she was a Republican, they would probably be calling for her arrest as well. Many Democrats wanted Bush thrown in jail for his actions in the Middle East. Now, they are touting the endorsement of  Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the Iraq War, as a good thing, and saying things like "W wasn't that bad!" What??

Remember when Democrats were against war? I 'member. Now, Obama has so many bombing campaigns that we can hardly keep track, and most Democrats don't utter a word against it. His legacy will be uniting both Dems and GOP to support countless undeclared wars. Awesome.

I believe Hillary Clinton will ensure the status quo in regards to foreign policy, as well as corporatism, money in politics, the wealth gap, and deportations. Yet, the focus on the absolute abomination named Trump is letting the horrible policies of Clinton and other Democrats go by unquestioned. I refuse to let it all slide.

That said, I don't have anything against people who vote for Clinton simply to stop him. I have long wrestled with doing that myself.

But I can't vote for a person and a party that has let me and my country down continuously. I can't reward someone for colluding with the DNC and debate moderators. I can't reward a campaign that continuously shuns and demeans progressives in order to assuage conservatives. I can't reward a campaign that sounds the alarms of a renewed war with Russia whenever the poll numbers go down (it's 2016 and Dems have finally embraced McCarthyism!). I can't reward a candidate who voted for the Iraq War, then campaigned on the fact that she now realizes Iraq was a mistake, yet wants to continue the same type of interventions. A candidate that has vowed to put boots on the ground in Syria. A candidate who was behind the disastrous intervention in Libya. A candidate who is perfectly fine with helping Saudi Arabia bomb children in Yemen.

So, because of the idiotic electoral college, I'm going to use my privileged position to vote my conscience and maybe give a 3rd party a boost that will give them more political power going forward. If we never take a stand against the two party, "lesser of two evils" system, we'll forever be stuck with two parties and a choice between the lesser of two evils.

"You're throwing your vote away!" is always the response. The funny thing is, Republicans and Democrats both say it, but especially if they think you'd vote for their candidate if not for the 3rd party. I've seen both "A vote for Stein is a vote for Trump!" and "A vote for Stein is a vote for Hillary!" I could've sworn a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein, but what do I know.

I've also seen a lot of "If Hillary loses it's on the 3rd party voters!" That one baffles me. So its not on the Democrats for not getting enough votes, or on the GOP for supporting a racist, sexist con artist even after most of them denounced him in public displays of "courage"? It's not on the millions of people who are bafflingly stupid enough to vote for Trump? It's on 3rd party voters? It's like when Nader voters get blamed for Al Gore's loss in 2000. They don't mention the unprecedented ruling from the Supreme Court that stopped the recount that would have given Gore the presidency. They don't mention the 300,000 Democrats in Florida who voted for Bush, or the malfunctioning voting machines, or hanging chads. No, 3rd party voters get blamed. That's complete horseshit. To me, it speaks to the fact that Clinton supporters just aren't confident in their candidate. I could even go so far as to say that many Clinton voters feel guilty for compromising their beliefs. But I won't do that. Ultimately, we are on the same side, so why would I attack them? Clinton supporters should ask themselves the same thing.

So for me, it comes down to two options, and neither involve a sentient spray tan or a plain old moron.

I've voted for someone who I don't completely agree with before, and this year I will do it again. I understand that nobody is perfect and that we will never have a candidate who represents every single one of our beliefs. But how long will we accept "lesser of two evils" as our sole reasoning for voting for a candidate? Every election we are told, "3rd party is a good option, but not this year, there's too much at stake." There's always a lot at stake, that's the point of elections! That's like telling people to "wait for the right moment" for civil rights. They don't mean "wait," they mean "never gonna happen."

This year, there is a pile of dog shit running for president, so that mindset is at least somewhat reasonable. I know Chump can not be allowed to win. Shaming people into voting for Clinton is not the solution, though. I despise when people try to shame 3rd party voters, usually leveraging LGBT folks and other minorities as a weapon to guilt people into supporting a center-right candidate, using oppressed groups to prop up a politician with a highly questionable relationship with said minorities. The idea that Clinton and the Democrats care much about these groups is laughable. Or it would be if it weren't so sad. So yeah, I recognize my privilege as a 35 year old straight white male. And I know (I fucking know) that Trump is worse. But I also know that Democrats in North Carolina helped pass the anti-trans bathroom bill. Bill Clinton passed Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act. There are still states that can fire you for being gay. Will Clinton change that? I certainly hope so, but LGBT activists and the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, not Democrats. Clinton expressed a desire to create policies to diminish police brutality, but will she? Her leaked emails show that her campaign directed its operatives to express support for Black Lives Matter but to make sure they didn't pledge support for any policy proposals. That tells me all I need to know about her. I realize all politicians pander, but she takes it to another level.

This is one of the biggest problems with Hillary, her public vs private positions. Say one thing, do another. It's been a gripe against her for years, and we saw in her emails that it is literally how she approaches her job.

Then there's her policy on immigration. Trump's wall is the stupidest proposal in American politics. But what have the Dems done? Obama, with the help of Clinton, has deported more people than any other president. Honestly, I don't know why Republicans don't love these two. Clinton also refused to allow refugees from Latin American countries, mostly children, even though her policies played a huge part of said refugee crisis. She helped the right-wing military coup in Honduras but won't help the people affected by it? Even when basically every humanitarian group in the world asks her not to, she will still deport your Latino ass, kids.

Thankfully, most Democrats are accepting of Muslim refugees. That is a big difference in the parties, and I'm thankful for most Democrat's stance. However, most never acknowledge the fact that Democrat policies have created these refugees. So, allowing them to come here is literally the least they can do.

Then there's Haiti. Not only did Hillary fuck them over as Secretary of the State, but the Clinton Foundation got in on the action, too. Speaking of the Clinton Foundation...they do some great things. They also do some very sketchy things, like forget to claim a million dollar donation from the oppressive regime Qatar.

The thing is, Trump and other GOPers blow the truth out of proportion so we don't look into these things as closely as we should. "Trump says the Clinton Foundation took $500 million for a hospital that was never built!" Well, no, but as the article in that link explains, they certainly did screw up bigly.

She also had a ridiculous response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Read that response in full. This is the savior of the oppressed? This is who we have to vote for on behalf of minorities everywhere? Are you fucking kidding me? She, and many Democrats, prioritize business and corporate rights over individual rights, each and every time. They claim to be for the people, but when it comes down to it, they want the money. Do I even need to go into her connections to Wall Street and the Democrats disgraceful acquiescence to disastrous Wall Street policies? She says she wants to strengthen the laughably weak Dodd-Frank Act, but she won't reinstate Glass Steagall or anything like it. So we'll see if she reigns them in at all or if we see another market crash in a couple years.

Sadly, her response to Dakota Access is in line with her environmental policies as well. Democrats push for climate change policies while allowing more offshore drilling than ever before. Clinton supports fracking, even though the very state she served in the Senate banned it. So yeah, it's great that Democrats believe in climate change publicly, but their policies ensure nothing productive will be done to stop it.

What almost makes me vote for her (besides the insanity of a possible Trump presidency) are the absurd conspiracies concocted by Republicans over the years. They have tried any and everything to bring her down, and she keeps going. I respect that. I dislike her for policy reasons, not bullshit conceived to sell books and keep the GOP in power. I don't blame her for Benghazi. I blame our government as a whole, just like I blame our government for the numerous deaths at embassies over the years, not to mention the numerous deaths of soldiers and civilians. That's not on her alone. Not to mention, they've had more congressional hearings on Benghazi than they did on 9/11 and they've found nothing to charge her with. Enough already.

I also don't care much about her emails. There's nothing groundbreaking there. However, her entire approach to the emails, from having a private server to stonewalling investigators to deleting emails, speaks to her personality and approach to governance. It's highly off-putting. Expect even less transparency than usual when she's in charge.

Regardless, I don't want her thrown in jail over that. Neither does the FBI.

I don't think she's evil or a literal witch (seriously, this is a real claim being made right now). Honestly, the attacks on her have done more to encourage me to vote for her than anything her campaign has done. Just seeing her attackers cry and whine for another 4-8 years might make it all worth it. I would vote for her in a heartbeat if there was a guarantee that Sean Hannity would televise his mental breakdown and subsequent stroke.

The one area that I fully support Clinton, and Democrats, is reproductive rights. That is very important to me, and again, if I was in a swing state, that alone would get me to vote for her. Women should have the right to choose, but more importantly, they should have access to healthcare. Plain and simple. The Democrats are the only sane ones on this matter.

Which brings me to one last point against Hillary. I think her husband's actions are often held against her unfairly. It's not fair to blame Hillary for her husband's misguided policies (mass incarceration, welfare reform). It's also not her fault he's a scumbag. I don't knock her for staying with him, even though I often think it was politically motivated. I don't know their relationship; maybe there is a deep love there. What I can't defend is her behavior towards her husband's accusers, and the overall willingness of Democrats to look the other way when it comes to Bill's behavior. It's not fair to equate Donald's behavior with Hillary's (she didn't cheat or sexually assault anyone) but it's a little hypocritical of Democrats to act like they don't have a long history with supporting a crude, powerful, predatory man.

It's also not fair to shame people into voting for her based on the premise that a vote for her is a vote against hate. Yes, Trumpers are a hateful bunch. But voting for Hillary is not going to stop the hate that Trump has incited, the hate that's always been there. It's not gonna stop anti-semitism. It's not gonna stop online harassment. Its not gonna stop guys from beating up Mexicans or Sikhs. It's not gonna stop white supremacy.

Allowing the man who promotes these things into office certainly won't stop it either, though. And maybe that's the best we can ask for? Democrats have long been a stopgap at most, so maybe I should vote for them just to ensure the megalomaniac fascist doesn't win? The worst part about all this is that there will be someone worse than Trump next time, and they'll be even more motivated because of Hillary's victory. They will also be smarter. They will know not to be so openly racist and sexist and moronic. Or not. Hell, former Klansman David Duke has a shot at becoming a US Senator. In 2016. Either way, Trump is not an isolated event of fuckery and his Band of Moronic Men isn't going anywhere.

Something to remember is that voting is not the only or most important way to get involved. I don't blame anyone for not voting, truly. I know a lot of very informed people who are active in their communities who do not want to vote for president. I get that. You can't flaunt the fact that you voted as proof that you're doing something worthwhile; on the other hand, if you're doing absolutely nothing to improve your community AND you don't vote, then your opinion doesn't really matter.

So...maybe just vote? However you feel about the presidential candidates, and despite the fact that individual votes don't have a major impact, especially in non-swing states, voting is still important. There are other positions in government, believe it or not. Local government affects our lives more on a daily basis, so that should be the incentive to vote, not whether you like Giant Douche or Turd Sandwich less. Even that infamous South Park episode ended by encouraging people to vote. Besides the local and state officials, we also get to vote on direct issues, like legalizing weed! Well not us, as in CT residents or Americans in general, but 5 states will decide that this year. There are many other important issues that citizens should be involved in deciding, too. Check out who and what is on the ballot in your area!

I'll leave you with this, and I kid you not, this was not planned. As I was writing this and listening to music, Scarface's "Hand of the Dead Body" from 1994 came on. At the end of his verse, Ice Cube says, "So fuck Bill and Hillary." I take all my political advice from Ice Cube, so I'm sticking with my conscience.

This Tuesday, I'll be voting on changes to my town's charter. I'll be voting for my US Senator and US Representative, as well as my State Senator and State Representative. I'll also be voting for Jill Stein.

Unless I see some of Trump's "exit poll protectors." Then I might vote for Hillary. Twice.

I hate this damn election.


I Love You All, America. Still. Somehow...Class Dismissed.

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