We are coming down to the wire in what is arguably the most important election ever held in the United States of America.
Sadly, this election has shown that we are anything but united. It’s been this way for some time now, but Election 2016 has reached a crescendo of ill-mannered, hateful rhetoric from different factions of the electorate that I have never seen before – and I’ve been around for a while.
I am not talking about those on the right. We’ve come to expect that from them. What I find most disconcerting – and infuriating – is that there are those on the left who SAY they are progressives but who have picked up the talking points right out of Breitbart and Fox and all the rest of the rumor mills and outright lying machines. You can find them all over the internet whenever you announce that although you were staunchly for Bernie Sanders, you have come to the conclusion that the only sane thing to do is to vote for Hillary Clinton. That’s when it starts.
First, they tell you what a traitor you are – and then they refer to Bernie Sanders as a huge disappointment and a sell-out. If they can’t bring themselves to disparage Bernie, they say they respect and love him, but can’t get behind his backing of Hillary Clinton and then announce they will write Bernie in on their ballot – in direct contradiction of Bernie’s wishes and advice. So much for respect and love. Or they will bring up Jill Stein and how qualified she is – which would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. What makes anyone think that a person whose only elected office was a town meeting representative in Lexington Massachusetts is up to the task of being leader of the free world? If Jill Stein were so qualified, she would emerge from her lair more than once every four years to run for an office she’ll never attain. She would be out there, running for local offices, building a solid resume and track record. She would be committed to building a viable third party. I mean, really, the Green Party has been around since April 2001 and it can’t even break 5%? But that isn’t how she rolls, and the people who proclaim her to be the best choice are delusional – and, in this election, dangerous.
If you dare to bring up how Bernie is working to elect down ballot candidates so we’ll have a shot at passing legislation that was so hard-fought to include in the Democratic platform, they’ll tell you that President Hillary Clinton will veto that legislation. Because she hates America. Or they’ll say that Hillary doesn’t care about students. Or women. Or people of color. Or they may start hollering World War Three! World War Three!
Or they’d admonish you to “read the Podesta emails.” But you have to wonder if they actually read those emails or if they’re just regurgitating whichever article that reflects their visceral hatred of Hillary Clinton simply because she’s Hillary Clinton. Never mind that the accuracy of the hacked emails may well be in question. Never mind that mounting evidence shows a connection with the Kremlin. Never mind all of that, because Hillary is evil personified – according to them.
Look, nobody is saying that politics is a clean business. It isn’t. It’s down and dirty, and sometimes you’ve got to scratch someone’s back to get them to scratch yours. That’s how it works in a system where everyone isn’t in agreement about what to do and how to do it. Otherwise, what you have is a totalitarian system, which seems to be the preference of those who think Trump, a serial sexual predator and admirer of Vladimir Putin, would be a better president than Hillary.
Hillary Clinton has been working in a man’s world for a long time. She’s taken shit most people can’t even begin to imagine. And yet, she’s still standing. Not only that, she’s standing tall. She many not be perfect, but there is no such thing as perfection in this world. What she is is a policy wonk who works hard, never quits and has the best interests of the American people at heart. If money and power were all she wanted, as one of my Facebook friends pointed out, she could be the CEO of some mega-corporation raking in millions annually and wielding power in the halls of Congress by waving big, fat checks in the faces of elected officials. Instead, she’s signing up to take four, and perhaps eight, more years of unrelenting antipathy towards her and the policies she wants to preserve and protect. Things like Roe v. Wade and voting rights. Things like improving on the Affordable Care Act (and maybe even morphing it into single payer, although she can’t say that and risk losing the more conservative factions out there who are willing to vote for her because – Trump). Things like equal pay for equal work. Then there are the policies she wants to implement. Things like debt relief for those burdened with college tuition debt. Things like tuition-free state colleges and universities for kids from families making $125,000 or less annually. Things like raising the minimum wage. You can argue that she was against the $15 an hour figure, but her figure was $12 an hour (a way better floor than the current $7.50) and now that the $15 number is part of the Democratic platform, if we give her a Congress that will pass it, she will sign it (even though those disaffected Bernie people scream she’ll veto it). You name it: women’s rights, LGBT rights, gun control, the Supreme Court, infrastructure, alternative energy, immigration policy, the imbalance in our justice system and on and on – Hillary Clinton represents going forward. We all know where Trump is headed.
So to all those people who used to be Bernie Sanders supporters and are now acting like whiny brats throwing a temper tantrum, I have this to say: Grow up! Think about what is at stake. If you want to burn something down, set your own damned house on fire but LEAVE MINE ALONE! I still have faith that together we are stronger and can accomplish great things.
In the end, one of two people will emerge as the next president of the United States. If that person is Donald Trump, the blame will lie firmly on the shoulders of the so-called progressives who abandoned all reason and sanity so they could “vote their conscience,” thus allowing an unconscionable candidate to win.