Voting FOR Clinton in 2016

Voting FOR Clinton in 2016
Ann Withorn

I understand why anyone who identifies as “progressive” is unhappy about voting for Hillary Clinton, or having her as President. I will be too. The day after her election I will wake up trying to argue against her oh- so-predictably unsatisfactory positions. BUT I won’t wake up more afraid of the United States of America than I have been in my adult life — as I will if Trump wins, which some polls still suggest he can.

We are a complex nation dedicated to making the capitalist economic and social order seem to work, no matter how much it unnecessarily and cruelly hurts most people in this country. Globally, the U.S. sometimes seems to support justice only when it also helps us, while setting hypocritical standards in other places that we neither meet nor seriously address at home.

But a Trump Presidency would be of a different order of magnitude and import.

Of course, his election would continue to endorse the capitalistic system everywhere. Worse, a Trump Presidency would promote a meaner, more unapologetically cruel capitalism than we have officially defended for more than a century. A Trump administration would try to institute even more xenophobic immigration policies. It would mean tolerating and giving “equal voice” to racist and misogynist words that have been publicly indefensible for 40 years. It would give Presidential power to make our already compromised federal judiciary and “justice system” more dangerous than since FDR.

If Trumps wins the majority of American votes for President, his election will give new legitimacy to the ugliest parts of this society, and tell those already at most risk here never to trust anyone not in their shoes. It will surely make it even scarier to be an immigrant of any status.

Of course, such a scenario will not be caused by one person’s vote for anyone else, nor by anyone not voting. Hillary will probably still win. But no matter how we vote, or where we live, either Clinton or Trump will be next President after November.

So we just have to vote, and to vote for Hillary. And then let the struggle continue.

Maybe Trump won’t do all I fear. I assume he can’t. But electoral approval of what he so openly stands for means taking a very wrong turn, not just more of the same.

We can’t risk it. We must use the one piece of individual civil power we still have to say “No” to Trump. Let us not be so precious and focused on our own correct criticisms, that we forget those people whom we know will be most hurt if Trump somehow rises to legitimacy. For one day, let’s just get over ourselves and our current political failure to create better options.

Let’s vote FOR Hillary. At the least, we will know that — within all the unsatisfactory choices of our own making — we did the one thing we could do to stand against what a Trump victory means.

Then let’s learn from it all and do way better sooner than the next time. Too many people will be hurt if Trump wins. It will be wrong. We know it, and we have to do what we can to stop it. Please.

PS A big reason why I urge this course is because one of the people I most respect, Rev William Barber of North Carolina, was willing to speak at the Democratic Convention. His “endorsement” of Clinton seemed similarly unenthusiastic. But I assume he did so as part of his mission to stress the implications of our choice in the midst of profoundly inadequate circumstances. I’m trying to do so too.

I recently sent an earlier version of this: “to friends who I know aren’t planning to vote for Clinton… because I want to make my case to you first, not really to change your minds but because I want you to understand why I must, for almost the first time, really disagree with you about something really serious. Please comment if I might seem to mischaracterize or denigrate a decision not to vote for Hillary. Please give me fairer words, because you are my comrades and I expect to go back to agreeing with you about almost everything the day after the election. So give me the editorial advice that will keep us together. But still need to speak to whomever might listen. ” I have tried to include their wise counsel in this version September 28

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