Friday, April 29, 2016

My case for the Lesser Evil

So this uncool of me, but I'm going to make the case for Lesser Evilism here. This is relevant if Hillary wins the nomination, which right now is the most likely outcome, though I still hope Bernie does. And let me be absolutely clear; Hillary is absolutely a lesser evil. It's ironic to say the least that the Republicans have blown out of proportion issues she doesn't really deserve much blame for (the email server, Benghazi) while ignoring the monstrosities she's partly or even primarily responsible for, like the Iraq war, arming terrorists in Syria, our intervention in the Libyan civil war which left the country a warlord-ruled dystopia, drone strikes killing innocent civilians, and on and on. With some of these, like Iraq, she'll go back later and say "whoops, my bad," but will not show that she has learned anything to change her behavior. So how could one possibly be willing to vote for someone like that?
People use a lot of different criteria when deciding who to vote for. Some people care more about foreign policy, some more about economic policy. There are single-issue voters who care about one thing like abortion or civil rights. As for me, when I vote for Candidate A over Candidate B I believe I'm saying nothing other than "things would be less bad with A in charge than B." It doesn't mean I like A, or agree with all or even any of their positions. That may sound cynical, and it is. But if I believe my vote matters at all (spoiler: it probably doesn't, see below) then I believe I should take into account how the choice of two politicians would affect everyone.
So, yeah, Hillary's foreign policy is fkd up, and she has way too many buddies on Wall Street. But I also have to consider women who could lose their reproductive rights under a right-wing supreme court. I have to consider families that for the first time have (admittedly shitty) health insurance and could have it taken away. I have to consider people whose benefits barely give them enough to eat who could have it stripped. I have to consider gay and transgender friends who could have their rights taken away. I have to consider national parks that could be turned into oilfields. I have to consider Arabic and Islamic people who could be harassed or killed under a fascistic government, and undocumented or even documented immigrants who could be rounded up and deported to places they may not have been in more than fifteen years.
But when The Revolution Comes none of that will matter! All those people will be free from the oppression of capitalism! Sure, maybe. But the Revolution has been coming for a very long time, and a lot of people have died waiting for it.
But you don't have to wait! You can fight and be an activist to bring freedom and rights to people now! Yes, absolutely, everyone should. I am full of admiration for my friends who are much more activist than I am, people like Manny Jalonschi who documents injustice in his writings, people like Gregg Gonsalves who has fought for the rights of people with HIV for decades, people like Meira Marom and Karla Esquivel who have fought for the Bernie campaign, Liz Di Nunzio who has been raising consciousness about labor exploitation in the tech industry and a lot of other people I'm sure I haven't mentioned. Please all of you don't ever stop. I am not nearly as politically active as I should be. I go to a lot of marches and protests, and I donated to Bernie and knocked on some doors for him, but it's not nearly enough. I plan to try to change that. And all of this political activity counts infinitely many times more than one vote in an election. But absolutely none of it contradicts or is prevented by taking half an hour on a Tuesday and walking to your local public school to pull a lever for the least bad option.
And let's be clear, for a lot of us, including me, our vote literally will not matter. If you live in New York, for example, write in Bernie, vote Green, write in Mickey Mouse or Cthulu (why choose the _lesser_ evil?). There is zero percent chance that the New York won't go Democrat, and since the electoral college is all or nothing state by state those are already D no matter what. So why not just say that? Because, honestly, "vote Democrat unless you live in New York or California or anywhere that's more than sixty percent Blue in which case vote Green but consider the Congressional vote" does not fit on a bumper sticker.
So there's my case. Proceed with angry comments as you wish.

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