Monday, September 19, 2016

Why I am voting for Hillary Clinton; Apologia pro suffragium meum


Why I am voting for Hillary Clinton

Apologia pro suffragium meum

I am in rage and in terror with the mean choices given me in these U. S. presidential elections. Acknowledging that the empire is hardly a democracy, and committed as it is to an unbridled capitalism without regard for justice and suffering and disastrous for the Earth, what kind of choices does one expect it to give us? Certainly between the "lesser of evils", but more accurately between "a better of two choices both terrifying, though let's be honest, not equally so.

Yes, I am terrified at the imminent danger of having a totalitarian fascist government to head the empire under Donald Trump. Perhaps it is because I am old enough to know or have known survivors of Hitler Germany, fascist Italy, fascist Spain, later, survivors of fascist Guatemala, survivors of fascist Uruguay, survivors of fascist Argentina, survivors of fascist Chile, survivors of fascist El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras (all, except the first three, in which the U.S. was directly or indirectly involved; that is the bitter truth) — I could name others and I probably know or have survivors of those. This is as close as I ever want to come to a fascist regime.

For me it comes to the choice between a sane and competent Machiavellian politician and an utterly mad fascist demagogue. The question is which would cause less suffering, allow more hope of immediate survival, and at least a spark of democracy that could be nurtured into a little flame with a chance of spreading? To me the choice is very clear; I am voting for Hillary R. Clinton.

No, I am not thrilled to do so. I have already long told you why (if you have forgotten scroll down my blog With her we can expect that precious little will change. (Though honestly, I do not know that she would be so much worse than our Pres. Barack Obama with his murderous drones, insistence upon the TPP, deportations of immigrants, increasing of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and criminal support of our pal Saudi Arabia's war of aggression on Yemen.) We take our chances, and with her the chances are indubitably better than they would be under the fascist Republican candidate.

Consider a government under the psychopath (not name-calling, but a considered judgment), racist to the core, misogynist, profoundly ignorant, given to rage, impulsive, a willful and arrogant megalomaniac. Imagine his finger on the greatest nuclear arsenal on Earth, the greatest military power in the world. Consider him in control of the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security. Imagine whom he would appoint to the Supreme Court. Consider him and those that support him, those he has riled up by appealing to the deep-running vein of toxic racism that infects the culture, the love of violence manifested in its passion for guns. He has already endorsed violence, lawlessness, bigotry; imagine, with his encouragement, the U.S. military and policing institutions already transparently racist. Forget about women's rights, immigrant rights, GLBT rights, justice at all. Forget the environment and health of the Earth. Given his madness, even if reigned in a bit by advisers a little more sane, consider who his advisors would be.

Yes, I will vote for Clinton. Some accuse me of having fallen into the politics of fear. Yes, I have already admitted to you that I am terrified. Many of you have said that you would vote for Jill Stein according to your conscience, especially those of you living in California, a "safe state" as you call it, because it is strongly "Clinton" or Democrat and you deem it at little risk that it would go to the madman.

Ah, dear friends, forgive me if your "conscience" sounds a bit like a smug luxury to me, a conscience you may follow only because it seems "safe" for you to do so. Would you be voting for Dr. Stein if you lived in a "swing" state or a "red" state? Even as you turn your backs on Hillary Clinton you know that Trump must be defeated. (A "safe" conscience would be one protected from its consequences.)

A conscience that is free of rational fear (of a real and imminent danger) is either saintly, foolish, or both. I assure you that I am neither. Let us be very honest; the government of the U.S., a plutocracy, is based on a two-party system, currently one neo-liberal, the other neo-conservative, with often little actual differences between them (the Democrats being better in domestic policy and in acknowledging climate change, though admittedly not too willing to do enough about it), both committed to capitalism, the economics of empire which the Earth and humanity cannot sustain.

We cannot change this overnight. Even if Dr. Stein of the Green Party were St. Francis, I would not vote for her (pace Francesco, both of you.) Imagine for an instant that by some miracle of miracles she could be elected president of the empire. It would be worse than throwing her to the lions. The Green Party simply does not have a strong enough political base and it is far too late for it to build one.

As you know, I endorsed and campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders whole heartedly because we agreed on almost every point — on justice, on peace, on our reverence for the Earth. We his supporters carried him (our money, our energy, our enthusiasm, our commitment) as far as we could carry him to the very edge of the nomination. The political establishment of course was against him. But he reminded us that it was not about him, or even electing him president, but changing the Democratic party so that it truly represents our interests, ours of the people, not the corporations, not the rich — and that together we could do it.

He came to the very threshold of the nomination, got what concessions he could, and then endorsed Clinton as the only viable alternative to the maniac — after pushing the party platform so much toward justice that it is claimed to be the most progressive platform ever. It is a platform that the Democrats cannot ignore without courting great outcry from within the party and out. Changes have already been made.

Many of us were greatly disappointed, angry, even felt betrayed by Sanders' endorsement of Clinton. Some explained Bernie's endorsement by supposing that he feared for his life. (A possibility in the realm of things.) Many said that they would vote for Dr. Jill Stein, some said that they would write in Bernie Sanders, some said that they would not vote at all - all options dangerous to the utmost.

The following of the Republican presidential candidate is huge and it is aggressively militant drawing the white supremacists, the far Christian right, the nativists, the women-haters, the homophobes, the "Patriots" and other rightwing militias, racists and nationalist bigots of every sort, the Republicans and their huge wealth. If you believe we out-number them, you hold a much more sanguine view of the nation than I. Even in California, there are a great many of these folk. As of now the Republican voter registration much out-numbers the Democratic voter registration. The poles indicate that Clinton and Trump are alarmingly close, neck-to-neck in many states. In fact, as the elections draw toward the end. the race tightens, Trump needs just 15 electoral votes to win. And many of us are in blind denial, for some reason trusting Hillary Clinton will win, perhaps in denial of the racism and violence, bigotry and hate that runs deep (often -  unconsciously) in the nation's psyche.

No state is safe. And even if it were, Hillary Clinton not only has to be elected, but elected with a huge majority as a resounding rejection of Donald Trump, his abhorrent views, the base he represents, and the Republican Party, fascist in essence.

No, I am not happy that I have to vote for Hillary Clinton and not able to vote for Sanders, and I am not at all happy that the U.S. is governed by a plutocratic oligarchy and that I must make do with the better of two bad choices, one a great deal worse than the other. (A friend from New Orleans reminded me of a bumper sticker popular in the 1991 race for governor of Louisiana between Edwin Edwards, a notoriously corrupt politician, and David Duke, a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who has endorsed Donald Trump and now is running for the Senate: "hold your nose and vote for the crook.")

I wish that my endorsement of Hillary Clinton were more enthusiastic. For one thing, as journalist Lauren McCauley has observed, the decline of Clinton's campaign has much to do with her failure to articulate a bold, inspiring vision for voters, but she is a seasoned politician, sane, and smart. She is aware of the huge swell that the Sanders campaign caused; will not ignore the party platform we helped form. She will make a "good" president of the U.S., not "good" as we would wish, but as much "good" as we can expect at this juncture. Competent at least. Certainly hugely more "good" than the openly fascist and totally incompetent Trump would be.

I am voting for Clinton following the advice of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky, Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore (who knows very well the constituency behind Trump), among other Bernie Sanders partisans whom I respect. She must win by a huge margin. We cannot risk anything less.

And then all us who backed Bernie Sanders in his campaign, especially the young folk on whom our revolution depends, must work at the grass roots, take city governments and offices, county, state, nation, and reform the Democratic Party into the people's party that it once promised to be, a true opposition party. Sanders is right; it will take too long to build the political apparatus of a third party to make much difference in the short time we have. Much more practical to occupy and reform from within the Democratic Party with its already established political apparatus, and make our revolution of hearts and minds to heal a world gone mad and an Earth wounded.

It will be far from easy. We must be prepared to compromise our ideals for what is practical in the immediate situation to continue Our Revolution. And be prepared to be jailed, beaten, have our blood soak the blades of grass in the process, though not as immediately or as greatly as under Donald Trump. I fear it will come to this: first we must overwhelmingly defeat Donald Trump and the fascists.

Ultimately we vote our conscience; Just bear in mind that at this juncture one's highest sense of right must be based on what will cause the least amount of suffering for the greatest number of people — and all our relations.

Rafael Jesús González

Berkeley, California
September 19, 2016 


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