So, last night I was walking with my brother when we got to talking about politics. I have been rather frustrated with the whole state of things for a while and it has limited my desire to take to twitter and add posts here. I don't want to sulk about Bernie Sanders losing California or the party doing their best to forget he ever ran in the first place, it is more than that. It is what we are becoming.
When was the last time you took your political identity ( I am assuming you have one. If you are reading this tiny blog you must really like politics.) and examined it in the mirror? When did you last ask yourself what you stand for? I am not talking about when you last decided to identify as a Democrat or a Republican. I am asking when you last acknowledged your core set of principles and your vision for the future of your country. Here is the crux of things: Up until 13 months ago I was very proud to be a Democrat. Today I am unsure I even know what the Democratic party stands for. But, I do know what I stand for.
I honestly feel betrayed. Again, nothing to do with Bernie losing. I can live with that. Bernie's movement has been and will continue to be a beautiful, inspiring, bold, auspicious thing that brings me (and many others) so much pride and joy that can never be taken away. I get a kick out of Hillary supporters that call us #BernieOrBusters pathetic losers or cry babies, because they so clearly miss the point. Bernie or Bust has grown mainly because Bernie is walking proof that the Democratic party, the party I loved so dearly, the party that is filled with people I look up to and admire, is no different than the GOP... in fact, I think we may be worse.
Here is a video that came out this weekend of Bernie reps and Hillary Reps discussing Israel during the DNC platform committee debate. When I first saw this video I was overwhelmed. When did we become the party that blindly accepts Israel's actions without question? Bernie's delegates are the ones that sound like, well... Democrats... Hillary's appointments seem more.... Republican. As I hope you will come to see, this is indicative of a larger problem within our party.
The two parties need to be different. Their policy platforms need to be different, we need to distinguish ourselves from the right by being the progressive, but reasonable side. We have drifted so far to the right that we now in-fight over ideals that used to be obvious positions to Democrats, but now I see people I love defending these rightist ideals, simply because Hillary does. This Israel clip is just a great, recent example. But, it is more than just policy, it is our behavior as a political party as well. I think we all have come to expect deception and corruption from the GOP. I expect them to attempt to pass laws that push hate and discrimination, I anticipate their manipulation of rhetoric and the media, I know they thrive on the poorly educated (did you know Trump loves them?) and low information voters. But, Democrats, we are above that, right? Well, maybe... maybe not.
Let's stop making excuses
First things first, are we where we want to be? The answer is very clearly no. We need to be doing better in a number of areas. I voted for Barack Obama in my very first presidential election and I was damn proud of that vote. I stood on the capital lawn when he made his inaugural address, tears in my eyes from the sheer power of that moment, but to say his 8 years in office have brought the hope and change he ran on would be an outright lie.
As president, Barack Obama has failed to achieve the very core promises he made as a candidate. As a country, while we are in better shape than we were in 2007, we are miles away from being where we want to be, when we compare ourselves to our developed brothers and sisters around the globe.
President Obama has faced unprecedented amounts of obstructionism from the GOP since his first days in office, but that fact doesn't magically turn his failures into successes. Guantanamo Bay is still open, the big banks Obama bailed out are bigger than ever, Obamacare has insured many, but the core problems remain the same. In fact, the excuses we make for the Obama administrations don't even cover his shortcomings. Obama ran in 2008 as a liberal, as someone who would bridge partisan divides and make real changes for the American people and what we got was more of the same: more war in the middle east, less government transparency and more overreach, and fake-left-go-right policy (like Obamacare) that sounds great, but in the end are center-right Bills designed to appease the GOP and line the pockets of big business. The first step in fixing our party problem is admitting we have one and admitting that President Obama chose more drone strikes, he chose a heritage foundation health care bill, he chose weak economic reform and Wall Street regulators who came directly from Wall Street Banks. The fact is, Obama toed a party line that he promised to bring left and in the end, it didn't move left at all.
All this isn't to say this administration has been all bad, Obama will long be remembered as Modern America's greatest orators. His normalization of relations with Cuba is a bold step toward progress and he has made strides in many areas of social equality. But, on the scale of hope and change, his own measure of presidential vision... not so great. But as good citizens we have to stop trying to defend Obama on every issue, because he has not been perfect. And that is okay, but we need to start trying to do better! That is why I am so very disheartened by the campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Donald Trump is worse, right?
Well, I don't know about that. I mean maybe he is sure, but you can make a pretty compelling case for Hillary Clinton being the greater evil in this match up and therein lies the problem.
I don't know what Donald Trump is. He is a loud, boisterous egotistical millionaire with an empire of successful (maybe?) businesses. He says terrible things, he never talks in specifics, he seems to shoot from the hip and checks on what hits later. He has no real campaign, he has no real strategy and he is dead-set on building a wall (as if we lived in feudal China). But you know what he isn't, he isn't Hillary Clinton. He is a liar, a fake, a fraud, a Con-Man, but that is what I expect from the GOP candidates. They aren't on my side, they don't pretend to be, so what do I care is he is a loon, I wasn't voting for him in the first place, but Hillary?
The taste that fills my mouth when I think about how close Bernie Sanders came to really beating her is so foul it could gag me until I suffocate. Hillary Clinton is representative of everything I despise in modern American politics. Each day we find out more about her email scandal that turns my stomach and reinforces the notion that the FBI is closing in on her. She is villainous in her corruption and I wish I were speaking in hyperbole. If you don't know the specifics of the email scandal then you may have been suckered into the narrative that it is some vast right-wing conspiracy. It isn't. Here is a great summary that will entertain you (and take you all day to read), but help you understand this is the biggest political scandal since Watergate and no one is paying attention to it. It is a great example of a public official, who in trying to avoid the Freedom of Information Act, actually endangered national security. Her wrong doing is already public information, if the FBI recommends indictment or not, what Hillary did was still wrong. But you may not know that, because the DNC didn't want you to and this leads me to the real point of this post.
What are we doing and why?
I could dedicate a whole post to the problems of Hillary Clinton as a candidate, in fact I did, if you want to read just scroll down a few posts. We have learned a lot more since that post, but the basics are all there. Those aren't my real issue here, the point of this post is questioning simply why she even is our candidate (Uhhh, she got more votes, Duh! No, you are missing the point. Focus). Seriously, hear me out.
I am 26, I am a grown-ass man and in my life I have played many games, some I have won and many more I have lost. I said it at the top of this post and I will say it again now, this is not about Bernie Sanders losing. I wish with every fiber of my being I could have cast a vote for Bernie Sanders in the General Election, but you know what I wish more? I wish the Democrats were running ANY candidate I could vote for. Any at all. Period. Hillary Clinton is someone who's name I could never cast on a ballot because it would condone everything I am going to rant about. Here it goes:
Just a few days ago the DNC was hacked by a lone wolf who claims to be from Romania and calls himself Guccifer 2. The hack seemed unspectacular at first, the DNC has since been claiming it was the Russian government in some foolhardy attempt in down playing the relevance of the information somehow. Yesterday, the hacker released a boatload of information that confirmed a lot of the suspicions Bernie Sanders' supporters have had since the start of the process. It confirmed that, despite the DNC promising they weren't going to influence the primary process, they were actually tipping the scales the whole time. Why though? Bernie Sanders was a relatively no-name politician from a rural state who claimed to be a socialist. Clearly the most well known female political figure in the world outside of the Queen of England didn't need the help of the entire democratic establishment from BEFORE SHE ENTERED THE RACE, but they decided to sway the election anyway. Not only that, but they colluded with journalists to dictate the coverage she would get, and the questions they would ask her at debates ( see the whole leak here for all the juicy, dirty, depressing details), they compiled opposition research against her fellow democrats to give her a leg up in the race, and do you know what else they did? They compiled a list of all her flaws as a candidate and all the ways the GOP could attack her... and they let that leak too.
The question I have is why is our party, the "Party of the people" is so staunchly in Hillary's corner? She polls the weakest out of the possible Democrats against Trump, her baggage grows by the day, there is a list of all the unsavory, corrupt things she has done compiled by our own party in the hands of the Republicans right now that they can use. Not to mention, she represents the old-guard of the party. Young voters, the future of the Democrats dislike Hillary in record fashion and so far she has been unable to fix that. Why go to such lengths for a damaged, unlikable candidate? The Clinton influence is as powerful as ever, but it hasn't had the same resonance with voters who can access all of this information on the internet. To young democrats, and pretty much all independents, Hillary Clinton at best seems like a liar, and at worst is a criminal. That should spell disaster for a party who could utterly redefine the electoral map with a candidate that could get those demographics.
Consider this, Hillary Clinton is under Federal Criminal Investigation, she told us it was a security review, that was a lie. She said she never sent classified info, that was a lie too. She takes more money from Big Pharma, Gun Lobbyists, Private Prison insiders, The Fracking Lobby, Wall Street Firms and Saudi Arabian Princes than any other Democrat and most Republicans, yet she wants to overturn citizens united. She gives speeches to large Wall Street firms, but the general public is not allowed to know what she tells them. She destabilized Libya and now it is the best stronghold Isis has.
Now, maybe none of this matters to you, maybe you think Hillary is better than Trump, who we must stop at all costs, I get that, but let me say one last thing because this is important.
Perception is reality
We are quickly becoming a laughing stock around the world, the leader we select next will have to correct a myriad of issues that, on the surface, appear unrelated, but all stem from the same root cause... poor governance. For nearly 30 years we have been governed by our bottom line and not by our people's best interests. We allow our politicians to get paid to pass specific legislation and over and over this results in terrible, if not disastrous policy. I would argue Hillary Clinton is the one candidate who is truly entrenched in that world (though no one is really innocent). Bill and Hillary have made themselves over 100,000,000 dollars in speaking fees alone, they have amassed a wealth unimaginable to the average American by leveraging their place in the political landscape and for this moment in American history, that is not insignificant.
I began this post by asking if you looked in the mirror recently, politically speaking. I did that because Hillary represents the type of government we have allowed to take hold over the last three decades. That has made us the subject of discussions around the world. I am going to post two videos (though I could post dozens) and I ask that you watch and listen to what the speakers are saying carefully, because they offer us an outside perspective on how we do things. If you watch those videos ask yourself how can we, as voters, change this? What type of political actors do we need in congress, senate, and the presidency to address these very real problems. I would argue politicians like Hillary and (madmen like) Trump are a continuation, if not an exacerbation of these massive character flaws, which have consumed our legacy as a world leader. Come November I will be voting for the Green Party's Jill Stein assuming Hillary makes it all the way to November. That is in no way a wasted vote. It is an informed vote I will make by looking at all the facts I have and casting it for the best fit to lead. I cannot allow someone with Hillary's track record of political favors, of foreign entanglement, of media manipulation, of lying, of cut throat politics to take the Oval. I also cannot allow someone with Trump's... Trump-iness to win. So I choose neither and I demand better candidates in the future. Candidates who want to better our world for every American, not just for those that fund campaigns. In the end, should that really be so much to ask?