I am about to vote third party, for the first time in my life, and I know many would assume that is because I have no love for the democratic presidential nominee. Actually, the reverse is true.
I have admired the former first lady, since day one, when I cheered on the election of President Clinton I in November of 1992. I was inspired by her non-typical role in the white house, an equal partner with her husband, who I first heard of as Hillary Rodham, the name she was born with and did not change immediately upon marriage. That year, I was a sophomore at the all-women, liberal bastion of Barnard College, and I decided I too would proudly keep my name, no matter who I married. I was thrilled when Hillary decided to run in the 2008 primary, so grateful for the opportunity to vote for the first women president, and I believed in her, the author of It Takes a Village.
Yes it really does take a village, and you can certainly see it in her campaign, how she relies on this village of support. I see my friends, proudly voting for the first woman to become president of the united states, and it fills me with a special thrill. This is historic, this is about time, to have this kind of role model for our daughters and ourselves. Women can do anything they put their minds to.
And yet, I will not personally partake in that victory. Videos of Hillary and her youngest and oldest supporters going to the voting booth tug at my heart strings. Ahh, to be like these proud women! But this year I have learned things about the democratic party, about the deception and willingness to skirt the edge of legality, that has marked her campaign, and I cannot. I have to vote my conscience, and I feel sad that I cannot be part of history in the making.
I don’t believe I will be helping to elect a President Trump. In a swing state, I would be voting strategically against him, no doubt. I don’t want our nation to go backwards either. But I don’t hate him or his voters either. They aren’t all deplorable racists. If we were having a real debate about the issues that face America, I think it would be clearer, that he gets some things right, though certainly not most things.
Unfortunately, these aren’t small issues that the party establishment has chosen to ignore. Our working and middle class citizens have been losing their voice within both the Republican and Democratic parties. Our representatives pay lip service to the issues that affect us on a fundamental level, but with only a few exceptions, none stand up to fight for us when they reach the capitol with their entourage of aides and lobbyists. Policy and legislation is written by the corporations and wealthy individuals that funded them. The wool was pulled from my eyes this year. The fact is that this two party system and the tremendous influence of money in politics has stymied any hope that we can make real progress.
So instead of partaking in the historic moment that I have long yearned for, I am voting to strengthen an alternative voice. I am voting for a woman who probably has no chance of winning in this election, but who speaks truth to power, just as Bernie Sanders did during the primary. I believe that to hold a Clinton presidency, or any elected official, accountable to the people, it needs to know that voters have choices. Enough with the politics of acrimony and derision, that attempt to silence any opponent. Now is the time to raise up these alternative voices, so that we all win.