Monday, August 1, 2016

If Hillary is so terrible then why would I vote for her?

We could discuss the minutiae of all the supposed scandals Hillary has had. But I don't think it would be a very productive discussion at this point. At the end of the day there are people who believe many of the negative claims about her have veracity; I don't. But let's pretend for a minute that I did; that I believed some important subset of the claims are true. Let's say that in general I think she has poor character, is greedy, power hungry, and a liar. I would still have to make the decision at the end of the day if I'm placing a vote that has affect. Here's my thinking behind what I would do if I were in that position.

Even if I believe Hillary is as bad as I've been told, then at the end of her four year term here's what I'll likely get that I won't get if Trump is President (and these things matter to me, though I recognize they have different weights for you):
  1. Liberal Supreme Court Justices, at least one, probably 2, maybe 3. (frankly this list could end here and it would be enough for me and this would be less an issue if the Senate would do their job and let Obama have his pick.)
  2. No regression on same-sex rights
  3. No regression on racism
  4. People with disabilities won't have to feel shame every time they see the person we elected to run the country because he basically thinks they're useless and only worthy of ridicule.
  5. We wouldn't ignore NATO treaties.
  6. We wouldn't even discuss building a useless and racists wall across our southern border
  7. We wouldn't have a database of people based on their religion
  8. The likelihood of a very serious war will be smaller with Clinton. Trump is too bombastic and too thin skinned to not make something somewhere go wrong. I agree that Clinton is a hawk, but her interventions will be small and strategic as opposed to knee-jerk. We can survive another Syria, I'll pass on a second cold war or a World War or a nuclear war or any sort of war with China.
  9. There is value in having a female president.
  10. We won't have a commander-in-chief that wants to bomb the families of our enemies.
  11. We won't have a commander-in-chief who thinks waterboarding is ok.
  12. We won't have a commander-in-chief who has now made fun of a POW and a Gold Star family (fuck that).
  13. My daughters won't be talked about like they are pieces of rubbish by their President.
On the flip side, the negative of having Hillary if she's as bad as you say she is:
  1. She likely leaves office after 4 years with a lot of money and becomes a footnote of history.
The economy is a tricky beast but I'm confident Trump can't fix it. I don't know if Hillary can. There is definitely a set of people who have not seen the benefit of the recovery. It needs to be worked on but there is no benefit to Hillary to not at least try to fix it. She gains nothing by it being broke even if she is as corrupt as you say she is. But one thing we know is she works harder and is smarter than most anyone. I'd rather her on the project than Trump who is at best a scam artist who likely will treat our economy the same way he's treated his businesses and the people who depended on his businesses.

So I look at my vote and I ask, "even if Hillary is as bad as I'm told, is it worth throwing all those things away just so she doesn't get some personal benefit from being the President? Do I spit in the face of America and what I want it to be because my uncle forwards me emails insisting she's the devil?" At the end of the day, if I'm being honest with myself, even in that case, where my uncle's emails are 100% correct about her, she gets my vote because Donald Trump is that bad. He's an existential crisis to America, our way of life, what we stand for, and possibly for the entire world. So there is no gain for me to consider greatly the small details, the what abouts, and coincidences, and the might have beens of her political career. For now I'll trust the multitudes of Republican lead Benghazi meetings that have found nothing, and a Republican appointed FBI direct who says there is nothing to indite on and move forward against the worst candidate the country has ever put forth for serious consideration. In addition when I look at the world, at the people I respect the most, public figures and friends and colleague--intellectual and moral giants--they almost all line up behind Hillary. So please forgive me if I can't even make it to the "she's as bad as Donald" side of the argument. The best minds I know disagree with that statement. And more important than that, the best hearts I know disagree with that statement.

With all that in mind, there is no way in hell I'd give either Jill Stein or Johnson my vote. Such a vote buys me nothing. It buys the least among us nothing. Even if the naysayers are right about Hillary, it wouldn't even help me sleep at night because I'd know that I made such a vote to condemn the least among us so that I could have some sense of useless purity. My heart couldn't take that. If there were some realistic odds of a third party candidate winning, and I believed Hillary to be the devil, I would cast my lot with the person most likely to defeat Trump, though I would be pained to vote for either of the two most likely usurpers because I don't align well with their professed values, but I'd still do it.

You can judge me as a sheep. Or blind. Or stupid. Or willfully ignorant. But those labels won't change any of the above nor the amount of thought and heart I've put into this decision.

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