Month: August 2016

Return to Sender

I want to vote for Dr. Jill Stein, but have some reservations.

Let me start with this disclaimer: I am in no way supporting La Trump. Interestingly, about a year ago, I wrote that La Trump was a necessary evil in that he would highlight the worst of the Koch-funded conservative candidates. This was supposed to be a good thing because conservatives would never listen to these issues coming from someone like Bernie Sanders. It bizarrely worked. I also erroneously noted that no RATIONAL voter would vote for this reality “star” with zero experience as a statesman. Instead, life imitates art as the world depicted in the dark comedy Idiocracy seems to be at its dawn.

This blog entry is more of an exploration, a sort of brainstorming. I am actually still trying to figure out whom to vote for. I have been a Bernie Sanders supporter since day one. However, the DNC played fast, loose and unfairly with this election and essentially imposed Hillary Clinton on us. If La Trump wins, you can blame the scheming Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Poll after poll had the scandal free Sanders easily beating La Trump with double digits.

My next disclaimer: I am not a misogynist. Like some almost surreal and bizarre knee-jerk reaction, any time I mentioned my support for Sanders, I was immediately accused of misogyny for not automatically supporting Clinton. Really? The fact is Sanders has way more experience as an ELECTED official. And as for Clinton’s achievements, before her senate election most of them were tied to her husband. Her accomplishments, if any, as an elected official and an appointed one are very thin.

Let’s take a brief glimpse at her record since being elected senator and appointed secretary of state.

In the Senate, she voted for the invasion of Iraq and for the Patriot Act as well as its subsequent reauthorization. Clinton also co-sponsored legislation that would make any true progressive cringe. For example, in 2005, she joined a bipartisan group of senators in signing onto the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which, according to the ACLU, would have essentially legalized discrimination.

As secretary of state, she pushed for the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan and the intervention in Libya and was also been a very vocal proponent of the drone war that has led to the deaths of 2,400 civilians. She was also very active in promoting fracking worldwide through the Global Shale Gas Initiative. Via the State Department, and sometimes personally, she lobbied on behalf of companies like Chevron who wanted to expand fracking (most notably in Bulgaria and Romania). Since stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton continued to express support for fracking, which she outlined in a 2014 speech to the National Clean Energy Summit. She has also remained silent on the Keystone pipeline.

Let’s talk about her running mate, Tim Kaine. On July 18, Kaine was one of four senators signing a letter sent to the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency asking that they exclude large regional banks from the “significant burdens” of reporting risk on a daily, rather than monthly, basis. It also called for them to revisit the amount of capital these banks must hold over a 30-day period to cover emergency situations. The senators’ request was undoubtedly deregulatory and irresponsible: SunTrust, one of the banks that would fall under this exclusion, paid $1 billion to settle mortgage fraud allegations.

The Democrats are now the Republicans, circa 1970. From DOMA to the crime bill’s “superpredators” (her word), the former Goldwater girl (again, her own words) has a history of supporting discrimination. And even though Sanders has pushed the party to the left, Clinton the war hawk will keep us in a perpetual state of undeclared war. This is why I am no longer a Democrat, but an Independent voter. I want intelligent dialog on pushing a progressive and inclusive agenda. CLINTON HAS TO EARN MY VOTE. So far, she has not.

Once Sanders was out, I began to explore other candidates. My preference, to date, is Dr. Jill Stein. True, like La Trump, she does not have experience as an elected official, but she has lead initiatives to fight environmental racism and injustice. She has also helped win victories in campaign finance reform, racially just redistricting, green jobs, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxic threats. A stark contrast from La Trump, who once bullied an elderly Scottish woman so that he could build a golf course.

My reservations are not with Stein, but with the Green Party. And it has nothing to do with what they support—in fact, they literally support everything that I support. The problem is that they do not have a lot of people elected into office. According to their website, there are at least 135 Green Party politicians in 15 states currently holding elected offices; all very local and none at the federal level.

We desperately need a third party. Third parties can force progress on political issues. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, they forced the major political parties to pass significant anti-monopoly legislation among other things. But today’s Green Party simply does not have that power. They certainly do not have the power to elect a president YET (though it is interesting to note Gary Johnson’s rise in the polls as well as third party candidates in senate races.)

I despise having to vote for Clinton simply because she is not La Trump. The right choice is hardly the easy choice. Thankfully, I still have time to decide.

P.S. On the back of the envelope pictured above, I wrote: You have Wall Street’s money. You don’t need me.