Guest post by R. Sharp, recent college graduate (continuing this week's millennials-on-the-election theme)
My friends are like family to me. In conversation, we respect each person's opinion, learn from each other's experiences, and usually come to a general understanding in the end. Whether it be "you're exactly right" or "let's agree to disagree," there is always some good to draw away from the whole experience. So when it comes to a tense subject like politics, we understand that we can learn a great deal if we just listen and don't end up stabbing each other.
The conventions showed us that the future rests in the hands of two very different world views. In Cleveland, Republicans told us that America is fucking Ground Zero, a lawless state where crime and corruption run rampant, cops are murdered, and terrorists, both foreign and domestic, piss on their corpses while chanting "Death to the USA!" In Philadelphia, Democrats reassured us that America is on the right track, Trump is pure evil, and Hillary Clinton has the best damn presidential resume you've ever seen. Since the conventions I've been asking my friends and peers what they think of the election and who they would vote for. After countless discussions and a few arguments I've compiled a list of three statements that I constantly hear and, frankly, piss me off.
I hate Hillary Clinton.
Holy shit, nearly all of my friends say the same thing. While I try to respect all opinions, this resentment is simply sorely misplaced. For almost 25 years Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye, duking it out in the blood sport that is American politics. Faced with some of the most heinous opposition from conservative media, political rivals, and the millions of people who hate her guts, Hillary Clinton has stood strong and brushed off every insult and lie that her critics have thrown at her. Much of what we hear about Clinton in the media has been twisted or distorted in a way that makes her look like a selfish and incompetent idiot who is unfit to lead.
Yes, while Clinton may be uninspiring, unenthusiastic, and, yeah, bland there is absolutely no reason for her to be constantly pummeled the way she is. Whether it's Republicans who have tried endlessly to indict her for the Benghazi tragedy and the use of her private email server. Or pissed off Bernie supporters who think she is a corrupt, untrustworthy liar. It's time to stop the hate, people. How many times do we need to point out that Hillary has been thoroughly investigated by ten congressional committees relating to Benghazi, none of which found any evidence of a stand down order, intelligence failure, or any administrative wrongdoing. FBI director James Comey said Clinton was "extremely careless" in her use of the private email server but did not charge her with any wrongdoing. While "extremely careless" sounds a bit troubling, consider that both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, former secretaries of state under Bush, had private email servers that contained classified information. No one pointed fingers at them for any wrongdoing, and you're honestly going to tell me that they did a flawless job while Clinton fucked everything up? I seriously doubt that.
Trump is a piece of shit.
First of all, whoever tells you this is doing him a service. Trump is not just a piece of shit, he's a whole week's worth of explosive diarrhea.
Not only is this psychotic, ignorant, sorry excuse for a human being not fit to lead our country, he has proven time and time again that he is incredibly dangerous for America. Not only does he lie about everything to keep his pitiful campaign afloat, his "plans" for America would completely destroy us as even a marginally unified people. The Muslim immigration ban, the Mexican border wall, and his atrocious tax plan (which would add trillions to the national debt) would severely damage our economy and overall societal structure. However, I'm not writing this to voice the common grievances I hear about Trump and his disgusting campaign. You see, Trump has already done a massive amount of irreversible damage to this country, and it all became evident during Ted Cruz's RNC speech.
Ted Cruz, your everyday Cuban conservative Texan from Canada, took the stage at the dreary RNC to give a speech about "voting with your conscience." The seemingly innocent message was drowned out by heavy booing from the crowd and a surprise appearance from everyone's favorite Hitler wannabe. Although it was comical to see Ted Cruz ridiculed by his own party, the crowd's reaction scared the shit out of me. It seems that Trump supporters, along with the majority of the Republican party, have completely rejected the notion of critical thought. A completely mindless population, shuffling along blindly through life, incapable of seeing all sides of an issue, and believing everything they hear without question is a million times more frightening than some wrinkly orange guy overtaking America.
While he will most likely lose the election, don't think you have seen the end of Trump's influence on our society. Is it just me, or did all the uneducated lunatics in America come out of nowherein the past year? What kind of person would listen to Antonio Sabato Jr. talk about anything, or consider voting David Duke into the US Senate? People who have found a voice in Trump, that's who. So when someone says, "Trump is a piece of shit" but doesn't do anything about it, that pisses me off.
I'm voting for Gary Johnson/Jill Stein.
I was at a diner with my friends over the weekend when one of them addressed the table, saying, "I'm not voting this year; they both stink."
Before I could interject another friend offered this bit of wisdom, "You don't have to vote for them; there's other choices."
What are those other choices? Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein of course. A lot of disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters (including my friends) believe that voting for a third party candidate would satisfy their ideological values while still allowing them to vote. Sorry, Bernie-era, but there is a stark difference between Gary Johnson and Bernie Sanders, while Jill Stein is just another vote for Trump.
In contrast to Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is designed to protect the interests of large multi-national corporations. Johnson also wants to repeal Obamacare, which would take 20 million Americans off healthcare. He is also opposed to gun control and the assault weapons ban. That doesn't sound like a truly progressive Bernie supporter.
On the other end of the spectrum you have Dr. Jill Stein. A progressive liberal who firmly believes in healthcare and education as a right, opposes corporate greed, and supports a $15 minimum wage. While all of that sounds fantastic, Stein is attracting the Bernie supporters and rebukes Clinton's corporate backing. While recent polls show Stein walking away with only 1%-5% of the vote, it is important to note that she would be taking that percentage away from Clinton, not Trump. I completely understand voting for what you believe in, but we cannot allow Trump to take the White House. The Bernie Sanders faithful must ask themselves what this moral high ground is that they are standing on. What will you tell your kids who grow up in Trump's fascist America? "I was so idealistic and moral that I let Trump win." Is that idealism? I don't think so.
This election isn't about morality, idealism, or hatred. It's about keeping Trump out of the White House and electing a sane, competent, and proven leader in Hillary Clinton; and guess what? In four years, if you don't like what she's done, you can vote for someone else. Hell, the Republicans (what's left of them) could nominate someone with a brain. Or maybe your beloved third party candidate will gain more support by then. Isn't democracy great that way? Can we try to keep it?