It is with no shortage of fear (and crow) that I need to apologize to all you Nader supporters. You know the ones, the ones who gave us Bush as a president. I’ve been pissed at you for years, because if you hadn’t thrown your vote away, and voted for a Democrat like you should have, we wouldn’t have been fucked by a Bush, something we’re still sore from. I’m not kidding. I was pissed at you.
But now? I think I get it. And it terrifies me. Because I may be about to do it too.
Which is why I need to apologize.
I wonder, were you, then, the age that I am now? Were you worn down from being told to be patient, to toe the party line, to accept incremental improvement of the status quo while you watched both people and planet destroyed? Were you tired of yelling “fuck this” into the void where it got no traction? (Would Nader have stood a chance in the age of Facebook?)
Because that’s where I am. I just can’t yell “Fuck This” into the void any longer. While black boys are hunted on the streets. While our planet is destroyed. While families face bankruptcy to handle medical events. While corporations make billions in profits on the backs of people working 50 hours a week at minimum wage and still having to be on welfare (which we as a Nation pay for.) While we spend trillions on wars in other coutnries that kill countless humans. I can’t handle it any more.
I won’t settle for anything less than a revolution. I’d like a peaceful one. I’d like a tidal wave to clean out our corrupt government at every level. I’d like it to take hold in the White House, and for that to empower all of us, everywhere, to change out the state reps that we send to Washington, to change out our state leaders where we live, to change out our city councils.
More of the same will kill us. Literally. And spiritually.
I can’t handle this deflated feeling. This feeling that the needs of the people in my community don’t matter, that my vote doesn’t matter, that the real needs of real people don’t matter. I can’t vote to continue government as usual.
I don’t think there’s necessarily anything bad or wrong with Hillary. I can come up with a list of things about her that displease me greatly. But such a laundry list would serve no purpose really, except to illustrate how masterfully she has played the game she was thrust into in order to rise to the top.
The problem is that I am done with the game. This game is rigged. It is rigged to make losers out of all of us. So being good at this game isn’t what I want in a leader.
I want a new game.
I just can’t vote for more of the same.
As has been so well stated by others, I believe that Hillary is incredibly competent to lead the system that we currently have. She’s got brains and experience and guts. She is one of the best in the current system.
Which is the opposite of what I want.
People are mad at me for saying that I’m really not sure I can vote for her. But I’m not. Because I don’t see a vote for Hillary as a vote for Hillary, so much as a vote for our current system. And I can’t do it.
“But what about the GOP,” they say? “Remember Nader,” they say?
I think about the GOP. I think about the Supreme Court. I think about Nader. It terrifies me.
And then I think about families in Flint. I think about the families of black people who were executed for having their taillights out. I think about kids who aren’t getting meals, education or healthcare. And I think that I owe them the courage to say “NO MORE.” I think about families in mining country who’s water is toxic. I think about kids who are finishing school and still can’t read. Kids so denied of hope that they turn to crime. Homeless people with no safety net who die on our streets. I think of the gay people I love who still have to fight for the right to love in so many ways and places.
I’ve spent much of my life living under the specter of other peoples addictions. And, as a country, I’m wondering if we need to bottom out. It’s hard to believe that it could get worse, but I know it can. Maybe more of us need to suffer more greatly.
I hate the fact that when people say to me “imagine the GOP gets in office,” I actually think, “that might be just what we need.” We might need to see women’s rights taken away before we say “fuck this incremental change.” We might have to see families broken up and deported before we say “fuck this incremental change.” We might have to see more people denied basic medical care, homes, education, food. Maybe we just need to see more clearly exactly how racist, segregated, materialistic and shallow we are before were able to stand back and say “shit, how did this happen? How can we fix it?”
Maybe the problems don’t seem bad enough, because they aren’t happening to those of us in a position of privilege in society. Maybe more of us need to lose our rights, and fear losing the lives we have built before we stand up en masse and fight back.
I hope not. But maybe.
Please don’t ask me to vote for Hillary. I’m not sure I can. I feel like voting for her would be voting for “more of the same.”
I want more change. I want Bernie. I really do. I am voting for him because he is willing to fight for a different future. I believe he’s the way out.
But maybe we still need to bottom out. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.
Maybe I’ll change my mind, if I have to. I truly don’t know. But I kind of doubt it. (I really do hope so, for what it’s worth.) I am too old for this shit. I am too old, too worn down from having felt lied to and betrayed by this system for too long. (“Really, I’ll get better, I’m trying, one step at a time.” No. I’ve heard this song, seen this dance.)
I don’t see this as an election between Hillary and Bernie. I see it as an election between the past and the future. An election between certain stagnation and potential hope.
And I still have hope for the future.
Is this what you felt like, Nader supporters? Am I right to worry that when push comes to shove, I’ll be one of the 537 votes that gives us President Trump. I’ve always said I would never do that, and it’s like I don’t know myself, because I think I might.
I hope not. I hope that’s not a choice I have to make.
I have so much hope.