Congratulations: Another Political Rant on the Eve of Election

****Disclaimer: This essay was written before the author knew the outcome of the election. I apologize to my readers for incorrectly relying on the media’s pronouncements that Clinton had locked up the election. However, it is my feeling that the points made in this essay are still relevant, despite the unexpected turn of events.

Congratulations Trump Haters, er, I mean Hillary supporters. You got what you wanted, you defeated the greater of two evils. Your queen is anointed. Now I can tell you what has been bugging me about your unwavering support for someone who was so driven by her own ego, that only she could be the first female US president, that she hijacked the entire DNC hierarchy to make sure she had no possible rival.

Ever wonder why no other female politician, and there are now plenty of rising stars, chose to run against her?

Clinton knew no one pays attention during primaries. So if she ran an OK primary campaign, her name recognition alone would carry her, as long as no other dynamic, charismatic rising star challenged her. So she set the stage years in advance to drive the competition away before they could be competition.

Warren, yes, she should have run, Gillebrande, perhaps. What about about the dearth of minority candidates running in the DNC primary? Didn’t that stick out like a sore thumb?

Now if the primary fight had been fair and inclusive, I would be content. But you are telling me that I had to vote for the lesser of two evils, and there was never much of a choice to begin with.

I’m like you, I usually don’t research primary candidates as well as I should and when I got involved in past campaigns it was mostly during the general election (okay, I had a very brief stint in support of Bill Bradley before he dropped out). In fact, I voted Hillary in the 2008 primaries without a second thought, but I was content to accept Obama’s nomination.

This year was different. I spent tens of hours knocking on doors, making calls from South Carolina to Guam, and I donated almost the maximum in allowable contributions before a primary nominee had been chosen, or so I thought.

I got involved in the earliest stages of the campaign, before the first primary debate, on Rosh Hashanah eve, actually. I heard a candidate speak with full honesty and conviction to the heart of what I believe. I had never heard a politician sound like this, no pat cliches and slogans, but real honest to goodness truth. So I believed, before a single vote was cast that I could make a difference, I could convince my fellow democrats that we had the real progressive champion of a lifetime, the one we’d always dreamed of.

This is why I voted democrat for 25 years, since my first presidential election in 1992, the year I cheered on the 1st Clinton run for president. Watching my team win against the evil Republicans was elating. And I knew or thought I knew what democrats stood for, progress, enlightenment, justice.

But this year, this rigged election, the wool was pulled from my eyes, as the Democratic machine destroyed the man I thought embodied democratic ideals. They claimed he wasn’t a true democrat, but he was truer to democratic ideals than anyone I had ever encountered.

Now if you think idealism doesn’t count for anything and you have to accept reality, well why is it realistic to run an extremely disliked woman for the presidency, but not to pass legislation that most Americans agree we should have. More than 60% believe we should have universal healthcare (not universal coverage, which is often not enough to avoid preventable deaths, thanks to high deductibles and other insurance tactics that keep actual healthcare out of reach). The Affordable Care Act fell short of avoiding these preventable deaths thanks to a lowering of our expectations and realism. Yet, with idealism and being true to our values, when we had the majority in both houses, we could have finally had what every other developed country has–universal healthcare.

Democrats squandered this and several other opportunities, such as true reform of the banks and the reversal of deregulation that caused the great recession. We were realistic, and so milquetoast, did small incremental steps, that have slowly nudged us out of recession. Yet we are still in danger, on this eve of a second democratic presidency, of falling back into recession. No one is breathing a sigh of relief yet. We know we are in another bubble. We don’t know if our loans will suddenly go underwater. And millions of young millennials, are especially vulnerable, with the current outrageous costs for college tuition, forced into high interest student loans for a worthless degree, when no one is hiring or paying a decent wage, and no means to foreclose or declare bankruptcy. They have no assets and so they are imprisoned in debt and high interest rates, forever. But the banks we know from experience, will be bailed out.

Tomorrow, you get to gloat about your win, but this was never a fair fight and you had the audacity to shame those who researched and found your candidate lacking. We know the DNC colluded to make sure we never had a choice, that no other candidate but she could be. But we must still accept, water under the bridge. And our candidate was never a true democrat. He didn’t deserve to run let alone be given a fair chance. You know the debates were rigged, right? Limited numbers, odd times, when few people were watching, and debate questions leaked to only one campaign. The media also avoided mention of any other candidate unless to hurl criticism, so the one with name recognition wouldn’t lose her advantage. But our primary defeat, we must accept and swallow. And he was not a true democrat, so should have run independent, not in our party, you say, don’t meddle in our private affairs.

But today, you say, don’t vote third party, don’t vote independent, for you it is a choice between D and R and no in between. So our independent voices, and independent, not affiliated, is larger now than both R and D combined, our independent voices need to be silenced, only choose R or D.

So our third parties, our independence, is marginalized, and our candidate must fight within the system that is rigged against it. Because it is not an inclusive club, even if you are a card carrying Dem for 25 years. No you don’t have a say, you rank and file, and if you don’t like it, you can leave. But don’t you dare vote outside the party, no, then you are supporting evil, there is nothing in between.

We have a two-headed monster and only voices of the powerful and connected are heard. The rest of us will be led or pushed with false promises and real threats to accept the no choice as queen.

Hillary Love

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.