So you say you’ll vote third party or sit out the election because Clinton makes you angry. You’re not worried about Trump because he’ll lose anyway, and besides, if Clinton loses, it will be because she failed to bring the left wing together.
You keep saying that a Trump win would be “on Clinton.” The contention, as near as I can tell, is that if Trump wins, it will be Clinton’s fault. I guess this helps you soothe your conscience as a voter.
So let’s be honest about what we’re talking about here. One of the candidates is a transparent fascist, a man who has publicly announced his intent to use nuclear weapons and drag the entire globe into war, a man who constantly denigrates women and makes lewd comments about his own daughter on national television, and who has repeatedly threatened to make life hell for everyone who is not a cisgendered white male. The other is a progressive with an excellent resume whose politics you don’t agree with 100%.
Because you are “angry,” because you are “disillusioned,” you’ve decided to withhold your vote from this race. You have the power to influence the result, or at least the strength of the result, in what is without a doubt the most important presidential election in our lifetimes, but rather than use that power you will abdicate it. This is okay in your mind because if Clinton loses it will be her own fault for not being exactly the person you think she should be.
Is that it? Am I understanding the argument?
Because my understanding is that YOU are the voter. YOU will be making a choice, either to have a voice in this election or to stay silent. If YOU make the decision to cut off YOUR OWN voice, that is not on Clinton. That is on YOU.
Tell yourself whatever lies you need to so that you can find a way to “stand on principle” and grant this horrific egomaniac, this wannabe dictator, a chance for power on a global stage. Tell yourself they’re the same. Tell yourself that Clinton would be just as bad – that she would also use national catastrophes to talk about how right she is, that she would also turn families against each other and advocate violence as a solution to political disagreement, that she would actively seek to dismantle our free press, share military secrets with Russia, and “joke” about how great fascism is.
But you cannot change the fact that responsibility for your vote is YOURS. It is not Clinton’s. It is not Trump’s (at least, not yet). It’s not mine, no matter how much your decision may appall me. It is YOURS. Pretending otherwise is cowardly and intellectually dishonest.
You’re better than that . . . aren’t you?
I’ve never met you, and for that reason I hesitated to write this. But it occurred to me that the people who think they have some business criticizing you have also never met you, and something inside me hates the idea that they would claim the right to speak while I remain silent.
I just read this Guardian article, and it left me appalled and sad. I’m sure other people have told you this, but I need to say it too:
You did not deserve this treatment.
You did nothing wrong.
If you’ll forgive me for being so forward, your hair is beautiful and you should wear it however you’d like.
The people who attacked you are small, pathetic creatures who try to tear down and destroy anything they personally cannot achieve. They may have targeted specific aspects of your behavior, but if they hadn’t found that, they would have found something else. The best of them are just tabloid-level hacks trying to leech an instant of your global relevance for themselves.
But the worst of them are the sick, hatred-filled trolls whose only source of joy is wounding others. These miserable excuses for human beings do not understand what makes America great. They do not understand that our strength is in our diversity and our freedom of expression. They know two things—hate and fear—and they lash out with them like savages cowering behind rocks. To be frank, you’re in rather esteemed company by becoming their target. You may not remember, but when you were 11, a presidential candidate by the name of Barack Obama came under similar fire.
If these people hate you, it means you are doing something right.
I have spent the last week feeling a deep sense of pride in America’s Women’s Olympics team—your team. My wife and I have called the kids in from other rooms to watch you and your teammates perform. Your team’s story is an amazing one. It inspires not only admiration for hard work and perseverance, but pride in what America is: the best of the best, regardless of skin color or belief or hair style. All are welcome, as long as they bring it. (And wow, did you bring it.)
The haters reject this idea of America, and by being there and being so powerful and graceful and beautiful, you spit in their eye.
It kills me that they got under your skin on Sunday, and I’m truly sorry that happened. As haters of everything America stands for, I’m sure they counted it as a victory. They are happy when America fails. They are overjoyed when they can ruin something good.
But the inspiration you’ve brought to millions of people—not only American but around the world—isn’t undone so easily. You’re a hero to countless children of all skin colors, and just by getting there you have done far more damage to the haters’ agenda than their words can ever do to you.
The good news is that these troglodytes are losing. They’ve crawled out from under their rocks lately, egged on by an exaggerated sense of their own numbers due to the internet and certain exceptionally loud voices, but they are NOT the majority. Every time we speak, we force them back. Every time we show them what the true America can do, we force them back. Their constant and increasing attacks are not a sign of strength—they are a sign of desperation.
Thank you for winning a crucial victory in a battle you never signed up for.
Thank you for representing your country so well.
I’m proud of you.
So you may have heard about these emails that Russian hackers got ahold of and released to Wikileaks. I see some Sanders supporters claiming they’re proof of a “rigged election” and some Clinton supporters claiming they really don’t matter, but this post isn’t about my opinion in that regard. This post is about one particular line of attack laid out in the emails—namely, a proposal to attack Bernie Sanders for his suspected atheism—and why I am so happy to see it.
Here’s the quote (from ABC News link above):
“It may make no difference but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of the DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “He had skated on having a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
So. The DNC considered trying to label Sanders an atheist, on the assumption that such a label would really hurt him in Kentucky and Washington. As an atheist, shouldn’t I be outraged? Shouldn’t I be marching and chanting and trying to shut down the National Convention?
Absolutely not. I’m happy. Thrilled, in fact. Why? Because they discussed this tactic, and didn’t do it. Someone at the DNC said no.
This Brad Marshall is the CFO there. That’s no small position. I assume he commands some respect and bends plenty of ears. But either someone higher up shut the idea down, or someone with a cooler head persuaded him out of the idea. Either way, the strategy died in his Out Box.
This is an absolute, abject win for atheists and a resounding affirmation of my plan to vote blue in November. Marshall is probably right: labeling a candidate as an atheist probably would bring down his support, particularly in the South. Atheists are the country’s punching bag: it’s a free hit, everyone can take a turn! From that standpoint, it was a sound, if ruthless, political strategy. The Republicans wouldn’t have hesitated to employ it against Sanders or any other candidate. To them, atheist is a dirty word, dirtier than gay, black, or even (gasp!) Muslim—at least in politics. Ten years ago, the same would’ve been true of the Democrats. I can’t remember a time in the past when they’ve hesitated to slam someone for their secularism.
But they did this time.
Why? Is it because they’ve had a change of heart? They’ve taken on a greater interest in the secular cause? Is it maybe because they realized nearly 23% of Americans now have no religious affiliation, and a lot of ’em are probably progressives?
I don’t know the reason and likely never will, but the optimist in me can’t help taking a great deal of heart from their decision. Secretly I hope it was because some number of the high-ranking muckety-mucks in the DNC are atheists themselves.
Whatever the reason, they refrained—and for all the 23% of Americans who may have been slighted by such an attack, regardless of political stripe or social status, that can only be good news.