UPDATE: I originally wrote the post below right after the Iowa caucuses. I still feel pretty much the same, only now instead of having great misgivings about voting Hillary Clinton in the primary season, I’m facing the thought of having her and only her as the Democratic candidate in the general election. I’m torn and confused. And pretty pissed about the whole mess. I honestly don’t want to have to choose the lesser of two evils again.
Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate. I don’t know much about her. (BTW, you can click on her name and go to her candidacy page to learn more) I should, though, shouldn’t I? She’s another female candidate in the race for the seat behind that desk in the Oval Office. Here’s where I wish more than anything that we had fairer election laws and a better process so that anyone wanting a shot at the White House had access to a microphone loud enough to reach all the people with their message. We don’t have that. Because of that, among a couple of other things if I’m honest, I’m feeling caught with my pants down.
I’m still a Bernie supporter. Yes, I’ve gotten the emails: Hey, Becky! Take the unity pledge! Say you’re with her. I can’t, not yet. Maybe not ever. My biggest fear, though, is that unless Bernie Sanders joins Jill Stein’s ticket as her VP – which I think would be a huge waste – then a vote for the Green Party is nothing but a vote against the Democratic ticket. And regardless of who is on that ticket, I just can’t say I feel comfortable voting that way, given the possible alternative.
So, here I am. Here WE are. It’s only June. We have just under five months to go before Election Day 2016. A lot can happen in five months. But for now, I’m not feeling hopeful. And I hate when that happens.
There are so many important social issues that are on the cusp of BIG change right now. If we don’t have good leadership to direct that change we’re likely going to miss the moment and have to wait another 50 years all while watching ourselves sink into the pit of filth and despair, which is the current direction people who like to call themselves “pure” capitalists are pointing us.
What to do? I don’t know. I’m giving myself some time to think on it. I don’t think Hillary would be disastrous as a president. I also don’t think she’ll get much, if anything, done in the way of social changes we desperately need in America. Benghazi and all the crap with her email server? I honestly think it’s overblown the entire Republican Party hates the Clintons BS. Could both situations have been handled better? Of course. But I don’t believe for a second the mistakes were made with malice, shortsightedness, or bad judgment. I think they were honest mistakes made by a human being who is just as mistake-prone as the rest of us. Maybe new information will come out to change my mind about this, but I haven’t seen it yet. So, no. I don’t hate Hillary. I don’t think she’d be the worst thing that could happen to the US. I trust her intelligence and judgment better than I did George W. which is not saying a lot, but it’s something…
I could go on and on about this because my brain’s in a right jumble at the moment. I guess, for now, I’ll just say I will continue to hope for the best and leave it at that. Just for now, though. Probably, I’ll make another update to this post as Election Day draws nearer. Look for it in the coming months!
BEGIN ORIGINAL POST: Let me start by defending myself right off the bat: GAL? Isn’t it a little demeaning to call a 68 year-old woman gal? Yeah, no, I don’t think so. I think that’s the vibe she’s going for, honestly. But she can’t quite pull it off. She pulls off gal in 2016 as well as I used to pull off sista in the early 2000s, which is not at all.
And that’s the first reason I could never vote for Hillary in the primaries: she tries too damn hard to be something she’s not. She tries to work a room like Bill could, but she doesn’t come close. Put aside his politics (if you need to) and his philandering (ditto that), but that man can work a room like nobody’s business. He’s naturally charming. He’s naturally comfortable with people. Somehow those readers he wears now don’t look quite as frumpy on him as they do on everyone else. Hillary, though? She has none of that.
And maybe this sounds as dumb an argument as complaining about her hairstyle or her clothes, but I’m going out on a limb here to say, you’re wrong about that. If I want anything from my politicians the very first thing I want is for them to be genuine. George W. Bush was genuine. He was genuinely ineffective as president, but he was genuinely Dubya. I used to have a happy list of the idiotic things he said on my desk. He was definitely entertaining; I always gave him that much. But I don’t want to be entertained by my president.
I don’t get the same feeling of genuine from Hillary. She doesn’t feel that way, to me, at all. And here’s the thing, when I meet someone like that, someone who feels so fake? I am consumed with wondering what, exactly, is so bad it needs hiding. I don’t want that from my president, either.
Number two on my list: she calls herself a progressive. She said it in her Iowa caucus “victory” speech last night. But I believe it as much as I believed Ben Carson last night when he said any American who thinks there should be a separation of church and state in the US is schizophrenic.
Way back in the 90s, when Hillary Clinton was First Lady, she was tasked to head up the fight for Universal Healthcare. THAT was progressive. But that was also more than 20 years ago. That was before I had a cell phone, when recording a clever outgoing message on your answering machine was all the rage, and fax machines were the handiest way to transmit information (and they also used thermal paper). Yeah, that’s when Hillary was progressive. But let’s be for real. If she was like the average 68 year-old, we’d be giggling at her emails, right now, every time they arrived from her AOL account.
Here’s number three: She’s a feminist. This one I buy. She grew up knowing what it was like to be told “don’t worry your pretty little head about it.” She grew up in a time that even when her ideas where the smartest in the room, they were ignored because they came out of a carefully lipsticked mouth. That is absolutely true. But as far as my feminist ideals go, I can’t stand on that issue, and that issue alone, and vote for her. That would be the antithesis of an intelligent feminist’s decision.
It’s not that I don’t get how all these women out there are planning to vote exactly that way; just because of what she’s got, or rather hasn’t got, dangling between her legs. There was a cohort of black voters that voted for Barack Obama because he was black. I get it. If all things were equal, you’re damn right I’d be supporting Hillary Clinton in the primaries. But they’re not. So I won’t.
Onto number four: Hillary’s platform makes the claim that she’s fighting for the people. How can she make that claim, honestly, when she’s backed by big monied corporations? Or the .00001% of the population? Politics don’t play out that way.
We know darn well that, in every situation, if you get a favor (money) you owe one back. And the favor (legislation or a big contract, maybe) you owe is payable upon request. Period. In politics you can’t be beholden to big money contributors and the little people at the same time. They’re too often, like almost always, on the opposite sides of the table. Hillary’s smart enough to know that. And I honestly find it a little disgusting that she’s banking on her constituents to not be.
After all that, here’s my conundrum: what happens if my worst case scenario comes about, and Hillary is the Democratic nominee? Will I eat my words?
To tell you the real, honest truth? I don’t want to think about that now. I’m 50 and I’ve already cast too many votes in my lifetime for the lesser of two evils. Please, I don’t want to have to do that this year.
Funny, isn’t it, that we celebrate the beginnings of sport seasons – Week One of the NFL season is always a big day in my house – but we don’t get as excited about political seasons. I’m wondering: why is that?
Sports are meant to entertain us. The games are usually pretty exciting, but their outcomes have no real impact on our daily lives. I’m just gonna step over all a y’all Steelers fans, here, because you’re crazy 24/7/365. But honestly, what is most important, the thing we should really pay Super Bowl or World Cup level attention to, if not our political system; who runs it, and what the hell they’re doing with our money?
Say you pay $200 or $600 for a ticket to see your favorite team play, or watch your favorite band in concert. You expect them to put on a damn good show. You expect quality for that money. You expect to feel like, even if your team didn’t win, it was a damn good game. Those are reasonable expectations. Why don’t we have those same expectations in politics?
Nobody’s going to lose their job as a result of a poorly executed tennis serve, but a few tens of thousands might as a result of a poorly executed debate. Why is it so much less important to us? Why are there twelve ESPN stations and CSpan has, like, three? And they’re way up in the high numbers where nobody accidentally scrolls (FYI, I checked my cable provider’s website for the exact channel numbers for CSPAN and found a 1/3 page ad for ESPN’s streaming service on the homepage… I already feel a little vindicated.)
So how are we going to change this? I say WE because I assume, if you’ve read this far you do care about this stuff. So, how?
What to do? First off, let me say, DO NOT rely on some political meme you found on Facebook, no matter how funny or real it looks. That’s also stupid. What you should do is learn from lots of different sources. Read them, and then find out something about the organization that published the material.
Everyone has an agenda. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. But you should know what their agenda is before you go embracing their data, conclusions, and politics. Mom and Dad used to tell us to wait a half hour after lunch to go back in the water at the beach. Their agenda probably had more to do with them wanting just a half hour of relaxation than it did cramps. Here’s Politico’s About Us page. I found it by scrolling down to the bottom of their homepage. I also like Snopes to debunk stories that sound either too good or too bad to be true (see political memes above). Some sites, like FactCheck.Org even publish how they’re funded. FactCheck, is a resource I like, but it is commonly cited as having a liberal bias. Finally, don’t forget to check the politicians’ websites. Fingers crossed they list clear information about where your politicians stand on the issues and what they’re doing in your name.
Spend a little time considering what you really care about, then research what’s happening in your community (local, state, and national). Then research your candidates so you can pick one who most matches your concerns.
You can take it slow. And maybe you should; it’s not easy. I like what Rand Paul has to say about staying out of foreign conflicts, but I would never vote for a man who said if you believe that every American has the right to quality health care “You’re basically saying you believe in slavery.” Things get messy in politics, but that doesn’t mean we should opt out.
Did you notice in any of the above where I told you what you should think and why? You didn’t. Well. Maybe the part about campaign finance reform, but okay. That’s not my point. Of course I care if my candidates win or lose, but I care more that we become involved. This is my country. It is your country. If you’re not willing to stand up and be FOR us, work FOR us, then you shouldn’t call yourself an American. Not being involved has resulted in one current presidential candidate leading in the popular polls. That he can spout his filthy rhetoric and retain his popularity is beyond me. I find it frightening, but I also believe he is a direct result of our disinvolvement in the political system.
Hell yes, I want America to be a great country. But I’m more interested in watching a good game in the elections. A fair one. One that involves the best of the best political players. Any other scenario, in my mind anyway, is pointless.