Stop thinking any candidate is our savior. We are.
Make no mistake — whether you’re a Hillary fan or Bernie backer, you will be disappointed by whomever you vote for, provided you have a modicum of intellectual honesty inside you of course. I’ve recently started seeing Hillary supporters spamming comment threads on Facebook with Bernie Sanders’ Politifact file of his statements rated “False.” Of course, my only response has been to start pasting in Hillary’s,which is twice as long. I don’t do this because I’m trying to imply Hillary’s a liar, as I believe their intent is to show Bernie’s alleged mendacity. It’s only to show them that, perhaps, they’d better not be thumping their chests all that loudly about Sanders’ Politifact ratings, is all, not when compared to their own candidate’s.
The only evidence I need, and the best evidence I have of this theory of mine, that no matter who is elected they will disappoint you? Two words: Barack Obama.
Don’t worry. I’m not about to make you all hate me by claiming that Obama’s been a terrible president. He hasn’t been. But if you want to get really real about it, he has definitely been a massive disappointment in a few key areas. Firstly, his promises of being the “most transparent administration” ever. The simple fact is that the Obama administration has been better in some respects than the Dubya team was, but I wouldn’t remotely consider Team Obama to be an open book; quite the contrary.
Next, there’s the fact that Obama has negotiated from a place of conciliation on several issues. Most notably the single payer option in Obamacare. One of the biggest disappointments I have in the Obama administration are that there hasn’t been a push by his team to decriminalize drugs, especially marijuana in the face of states actually taking the bull by the horn and legalizing it recreationally. You could argue he’s taking a less-assertive role so that he isn’t pushed back on, but be honest, has the Obama administration really been that Hopey-Changey on the War on Drugs? And then there’s the fact that for the most part the people responsible for the global economic meltdown of 2008 got off nearly unscathed.
Again, this is not to say that his terms have been stinking shit piles. He’s just not quite lived up to what he promised he’d be. And you know what? I’m not even here to tell you that it’s something he — or any politician — should be judged too harshly on. I don’t see broken promises as lies; I see them as simply as part of the political game. They promise us things, they under-deliver, we get pissed, and then we rinse and repeat. But my only point in bringing up President Obama is to show that unless you are the most lapdogged of lapdogs, you have to admit that even Barack Obama let the liberals in this country down, and we haven’t even talked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
No politician is our savior. No leader alone will fix what ails us. We are our own saviors, and though they were certainly a bunch of slave holding, elitist white landowners, the founders did at least create a system out of which has sprung up an opportunity for us to save ourselves. And how do we do that?
First — by being really honest with ourselves about our candidates. No, Bernie will not be able to get everything he promises done, not even with a Congress that is drastically different from the current one. It just never works that way. Even FDR had several of his more progressive programs nullified by Supreme Court judicial review. Hillary Clinton, I’m sorry to disappoint her fans, will absolutely drag her feet on much of anything to do with Wall Street and the financier class getting any shiny, new regulations or taxes placed on them. So just go into the election with eyes wide open, and ears already filtering out the bullshit, and you won’t have your heart broken later.
Next, if we want to save ourselves, we have to elect people at all levels of government who, wait for it, give a shit. At least a tiny, tiny, bit. If our elected officials aren’t actually listening to us, what good are they. Support for raising the minimum wage is really high right now. Why don’t more of our congress people support it? Because they’re bought off by people who want them to be against it, that’s why. That’s not spin. That’s not conspiracy. It’s fact. Lobbyists have been shaping our government’s day to day operations for a long, long time. We all know it.
Lastly, if we really want to save our own bacon, we have to stop shitting all over each other because we support one candidate or the other. I know I have been particularly critical of Ms. Clinton since deciding I would not vote for her even if she won the primary, but I don’t hold her record against her supporters. What I take offense to is being called a Tea Bagger because I hew closer to the New Deal than to Reagan’s Morning in America. That irks me, and I’m not the only Bernie supporter who’s tried of being told we’re all just freeloaders. Someone should tell that to my mortgagor.
The point is that regardless of whether you support Bernie or Hillary, it’s up to you how you’re going to vote. I trust you to use your vote most wisely for you. I don’t want to tell you how to vote. I can argue for you vote a certain way, but I don’t have any right to belittle you, or to imply you’re not smart or informed, because you voted for Hillary in the primary. This isn’t a kumbaya speech either. Primaries are supposed to be hard-fought. But instead of pretentiously lecturing someone who has decided they can’t vote for your candidate, ask yourself why that is. Maybe you’ll find that there is indeed something lacking in your candidate, and maybe you’ll still vote for them, which is absolutely the way it should be, if you want it to be.
At least then you’ll have a fuller picture of your candidate. And maybe then you’ll stop yourself from believing he or she can fix everything with a wave of their hand, and that the only people capable of fixing our country are the ones who vote for people willing to do just that.