Hillary Clinton has my respect, my support, and, around 6 a.m. tomorrow, she’ll have my vote.
I like Hillary. I met her years ago, and I voted for her in the 2008 Primary. I respect much of what Barack Obama did in office, but I believe Hillary would have done a better job with his first term. She’s scary smart, and, at the time, she had more experience. Obama was not the card-carrying liberal he appeared to be, and Hillary had a better track record on my Lefty issues. When Hillary lost the nomination, I went with the next best choice. I cast my vote for Obama, and it turned out okay. We’re not living in my liberal utopia, yet, but we’ve taken a few, fragile steps in that direction.
It’s hard to see 1992 from here, but the day the Clintons moved into the White House was like spring after a long winter. Twelve years of Reagan-Bush. No. Go back further. With the exception of the Carter blip, Republican Cold Warriors had held the Oval Office since 1969. I lived through the ‘80s sure World War III was going to start any moment. Then Bill Clinton came in, and, while he wasn’t a real Lefty, either, at least we finally had a president who acknowledged AIDS existed, respected a woman’s right to choose, and didn’t dismiss out of hand the idea of gay men and women serving in the military. Bill Clinton wasn’t the Lefty I wanted, especially in terms of his economics, but he was the Lefty that could get elected -- with a little help from third-party candidate Ross Perot and his 18.9 percent of the popular vote.
Politics was more civil once. In the late ‘80s, President Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil worked together. There was respect on both sides of the aisle. Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich and his Contract for America cronies changed all that. Instead of working with Democrats to run the country, they played the obstruction game and started slinging shit at the Clintons. As shit does, some of it stuck, and, even where it didn’t, the odor lingered. Congress spent millions on investigations and impeachment proceedings. Did they really care who Bill Clinton was sleeping with or whether he lied to a jury? No. They just wanted to stymie his semi-liberal agenda. Sound familiar? Congressional Republicans (mostly old white guys), babies, and monkeys throw shit when they don’t get what they want.
Enter the 2000 race. Vice President Al Gore was the Lefty who could get elected, but his lackluster campaign and some spoilage from Ralph Nader and the Greens put George W. in the seat. After 9/11, the Congress used our panic to give Bush a free hand. Wars began on false pretenses. The USA PATRIOT act took away our liberties in the name of safety. Women’s rights were attacked. Religion snuck its way into domestic and foreign policy. The economy crumbled and the best advice the administration had was “go shopping.”
I supported Bernie Sanders in the Primary this year, because I liked his vision. Real leaders need two things to be effective: Vision and the ability to get others to work for that vision. Bernie had that. Hillary’s biggest flaw is that she’s a bad campaigner; I’ve never been sure why she wants the job other than to have it. Bernie had a mission. Hillary just had more baggage.
The Democratic National Committee reacted badly to the Sanders campaign. They’d picked their horse already, and Bernie had only just become a Dem. The DNC had a lot to lose and circled the wagons rather than opening the tent. It didn’t help Sanders’ campaign, but it’s not the reason he lost. He lost because Hillary beat him. Bernie ran an amazing campaign, one for the books, but Hillary had the money and the support. She won more votes, and I put a new bumper sticker on my car. She’s the Lefty that can get elected now. (P.S. I’m all for getting money out of politics -- I support the full public funding of the campaigns -- but you have to play the game on the table not the one in the pretty box.)
The Right is flinging shit again, hoping that there’s something in the pile that will slow Hillary Clinton down. It might work. I’d hazard that none of us would smell rose-like if someone targeted us as hard as long. “When did you stop beating your wife?” Even the question begs questions. It’s an old tactic. Don’t buy into it. Fuck the emails. There’s no such thing as a secure server anyway. Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect, and I don’t agree with everything she says or does. She’s a hawk. I’m not. She supports the death penalty. I don’t. I lean a lot further left than the DNC. She doesn’t. On most of the issues, though, we are in the same ballpark. I can’t say the same of Johnson, and Stein has less experience in government than I do. They’d eat her alive. She wouldn’t even have a party to work with.
So, it’s Hillary Clinton for me, and I’m good with that. She’s strong, she’s wise, and she’s cagy ... and there’s a monster at the gate. No bones about it, Trump is a garbage fire, and by not voting or voting for a third party, you might be helping him come to power. Sorry, folks, it’s true. If you vote for Stein or Johnson out of “conscience,” you are letting your ego get in the way of what’s right.
I was born straight, white, and male in America. Politicians are not trying to wall me out or make me take a religion test to prove my loyalty to the U.S. I have full control over my reproductive organs. My sexuality has never caused me to lose a job or miss out on a housing opportunity. There is no debate whatsoever about where I should pee or where I can go shirtless. People who look like me are not being disproportionately shot by police or incarcerated. I am no longer a good prospect for the military draft, so about the only personal concerns I have left are how much money the government takes out of my wallet every year and whether Social Security will be solvent when I retire. Trump, Stein, Clinton … either way, it’s not going to affect me much. But it’s not about me.
Trump is supported by people who believe that some of my friends and family members are god’s mistakes and should not exist. These friends shouldn’t be allowed to get married or own property or adopt kids. Some of Trump’s supporters believe that women are second-class citizens and should stay at home waiting on their husbands. They believe that Mexicans are inherently criminal, and that my wife, because she was not born white, is a lesser species. They believe that climate change is a hoax and, by the way, it doesn’t matter if it’s not because there is a better home awaiting in the sky, Lord, in the sky. Trump thinks women who serve in the military should expect to be sexually assaulted. He thinks a Hispanic judge won’t give him a fair shake. He believes that Native Americans need to look how he expects them to look in order to count. He thinks America is coming apart at the seams.
Trump is wrong. He’s backward. He’s a dinosaur, and there is no way in hell he should have gotten this far. Hillary is the only one in the position to stop him.
P.S. I went third party once. In 1994, I voted for Jon Carter, Green Party candidate for governor of Maine. Carter took 6.39 percent of the vote that year. Democrat Joe Brennan took 33.8 percent, allowing Maine’s first Independent governor, Angus King, to slide in with 35. The Republican Susan Collins took 23 percent. She and King are U.S. senators today, and, while the Greens are still strong in the Pine Tree State (highest per capita number of Green electees in the state), they haven’t fielded a real gubernatorial candidate since 2006. So, there’s your revolution.