So please, my well-intentioned but rather concerned friends (and those who are timid party-first loyalists), stop telling me I’m a spoiler. A hipster. A political elitist. Or a baby. There are many reasons why I could be called a baby (and enjoy it) but my political philosophy and orientation aren’t among them.
As I watched the PBS Democratic Debate last week on the YouTubes, I had to stop myself from screaming at my screen. While Hillary Clinton was lamenting the plight of African-Americans incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, I waited for Senator Sanders to gently remind her that when she was the First Lady, she campaigned for an anti-crime bill that her husband signed into law using dog-whistle racism and fear tactics (super-predators) and that law arguably made our institutional racism problem worse in regards to the justice system. Sanders did not remind her. He’s too nice. I wouldn’t have been.
This is but one of dozens of examples where Secretary Clinton’s record doesn’t match her rhetoric, but I’m not writing this to criticize her. She is who she is, smart, capable, ambitious, and well-qualified. She would be a better president than Donald Trump or Rafael Cruz or Marco Rubio. I don’t dispute that.
However, that doesn’t mean I have enough agreement with her to give her my vote. It takes more than merely not being Emperor Palpatine, I’m not going to support Asaaj Ventress either. Just because she’s a Democrat, it doesn’t make her Shaak Ti. Can I shoehorn any more Jedi/Sith references in here? Probably.
Electoral politics does involve compromise. I’m well aware of that despite being reminded by others how rigid and inflexible I’m being. Bernie Sanders is my compromise. I’d rather have Elizabeth Warren, but she isn’t running. I’d rather have Dr. Jill Stein, but she is a minor party candidate in a country where a duopoly strangles the electoral process, serves the powerful elites who own the government, and limits our choices by only giving us two to choose from.
I’ve been a Sanders supporter since 2008. I hoped he would run in 2012, but he did not. I never thought he would make a run for president this year. When he announced, I doubted he would gain enough support. Hillary Clinton had all the momentum and full endorsement of the DNC. Nobody was going to challenge her and win. Yet here we are. It’s still early, but as of this writing they’re in a very close race.
I have some disagreements with Sanders. I’m not saying he is a savior who will ride into DC on a unicorn that farts faerie dust and instantly turn the USA into Denmark. Instead, he represents a step in that direction, a step we should have taken after LBJ, or at least before Reagan got in and really got the USA racing to the bottom. What I am saying is that I can live with giving my consent to govern to Bernie Sanders. I cannot do so with Hillary Clinton.
Now, my critics are going to say, well, if Hillary wins the nomination and you vote for Jill Stein, then you’re giving consent to a potential Republican winner.
That’s like saying I consent to be murdered if I call for help whilst being robbed. I know it’s a hyperbolic example but there’s no such thing as negative consent. Consent, by its very nature, is affirmative. I would be affirming my consent for Jill Stein because, absent Sanders on the head of the Democrat ticket, she, in my politically informed and educated opinion, would be the best person for the job whom I could support.
It’s not, as some Hillary Or Else democrats think, refusing to compromise. I’m already compromising. What these folks are asking me is to compromise more than I am willing to go and give power to someone whom I think will lead the country away from the direction we ought to be going in.
I’m not trying to convince anyone else to not vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m not saying she’s the devil incarnate. If she is the candidate you think is best, vote for her. By all means, give her your support. I respect your decision. I even understand it.
Please respect (and try to understand) mine.