I see the Democratic Party fragmenting, and I don't care anymore. I see people pointing fingers, and I don't care. I hear rallying calls from Clinton supporters, screaming all the way “toe the line,” and I refuse to continue down the path. I am a dying horse, beaten over the last thirty years as my political ideology remains mostly unchanged, and my country has gone further right.
It all started in high school, AP Government class. We came in that first day, took our seats, where ever we wished. The teacher handed a test to us all. Not five minutes into the class and we were given a test, one promised we could not pass or fail, one that would determine seating arrangements for the first half of class. Today, I see it as your standard political alignment test. It was a very simple version determining if you were liberal, conservative, or moderate. After everyone had completed the test, we were all moved, liberals on the left, conservatives on the right, moderates in the middle. I for my part was in the middle. It was explained at that time that very few people are 100% liberal, or conservative. There are ideals we are liberal about, others we are conservative about (IE I support the second amendment, but I also support the right to an abortion/gay marriage/welfare).
The second half of the year, I was moved slightly off the middle, to the left. Some of my peers went further left, some went further right, but I was mostly unchanged in my political views. You see, politics had been something pushed in my household for years. Broke into it early by parents who saw the need to have someone voting that was well informed, or at the very least informed enough to make a choice.
But over the years, since before I was born, the choices have seemingly dimmed, becoming less about who will work for you, who has your interests at heart, and more about who is going to hurt you less. The lessor of two evils, the candidate who is not best for business, but the one who isn't going to completely bankrupt the place after burning everything to the group while playing a lute.... For all of my life that has been the trend, and for all the merits of the Obama administration, for all the things he wanted to do, that he tried to do, he failed. I don't blame him, given the chance I would still vote for him. If anything his run, his presidential legacy should be this. For all he failed to gain, for all that he managed to do, he opened a lot of peoples eyes.
He managed to get through to people, people who were tired of the same old same ole in Washington, we responded. With his leadership some of us finally started to see just how unhappy we were, and that things needed to change. We had to stop this cycle of self defeat, at all levels of government, from the local court houses to the highest office in the land.
So, here we are eight years later, Obama has run his last race, Clinton is running again, Sanders is running, and O'Malley is running. But, we have a problem. We have two camps, Team Clinton and Team Sanders, with some other guy from Maryland running. Sorry, if you support O'Malley, he seems like a good guy, but its a two horse race. Maybe by the time the Democratic Party is ready to nominate another candidate he will have a chance (I certainly hope so).
So, I am an basically an accelerationist. My train of thought is for social change on the scale we need to occur, things have to become so destitute that we are forced to change, I personally see no other way. So I was fine with whoever decided to run, a race to the bottom of the barrel was a good thing, eventually things would spiral, we would become angry, and someone worthwhile would stand forth, and set about fixing it all. But I also hoped someone would step forward now, because my humanity dictates that we should never allow things to become that bad again.
In runs Hillary Clinton, I say okay, it could be worse, as I look at the clown car convention of ignorance and hatred coming out of the GOP. Clinton is just a mild GOP of yesteryear, I can at least be tolerant of that. What is the worst that can happen, right? Yeah, I expressed that I hoped other people might run, a choice of candidates. Hey, if I am being forced to vote for the lessor of two evils, I want to at least pick the evil that I want. I quipped to a Clinton supporter that:
“I want to have a choice between walking into a bear trap, and walking into a spiked pit. Why? Because both are going to hurt or possibly kill me. The GOP is the pit, the DNP is the bear trap.”
Then Sanders came into the picture, and from that moment on, I have become less and less enthused about this upcoming primary. Some of Team Clinton wants nothing more than a parade lap followed by her anointing. From the get go, there have been some fairly nasty things said to anyone who does not toe the party line. Demanding more than a 9-11 response for Wall Streets crap (sorry that is GOP territory), that being a woman will make her Presidency drastically different form Obama's, and her seemingly disconnected statements from the average Americans reality. Sorry, I forgot the whole, its time for a Madam President comments, which I actually agree with, it was time for a Madam President back before I was even conceived. But not Clinton, it is not her turn to play at the White House, this is not some playground where everyone gets a turn riding the rides.
This is the real world, where a gaffe can create a deadly environment, we should be vetting candidates with every ounce of scrutiny we have. Every gaffe, every statement, every vote, every action should be reviewed ad nauseam. Not anointing someone because its their turn, or because it should be this gender or race. Certainly, we should not be destroying the party. But here we stand.
I once told a friend that nothing the GOP (or their candidates) said about Clinton, Sanders, or any other Democratic Party candidate would alter my view of who I was voting for. As far as I am concerned the first GOP debate ended any chance of my voting in their favor. I said at that time that only Clinton and her supporters could dissuade me from voting on her behalf. I wish to congratulate those of her supporters that I have encountered, those rabidly obsessed with her nomination, the ones who are willing to burn any bridges to people like me who were moderate by become left because of the political shift of the last three decades.
You see, since Clinton announced, and I held the same feelings now as I did in 2008, I have watched people attempt to bully others to toe the line. I have watched the party I have backed since the late 90's fall into the traps of using fear to scare people into line. Yes, if the Democratic Party does not keep the White House, we will loose judges on an already corrupt and contemptible Supreme Court. We will see the work Obama started undone, we will see the continued destruction of the environment, our freedoms, and the ability to slip free the chains of poverty.
But, here is what I see. Clinton is center right, a Third Way Democrat, someone who tries to be financially conservative while being socially liberal. Someone who is willing to give up things we should never compromise on, just to get some small measure of ground, and we have been compromising on the things we shouldn't to gain a small measure of worthless land, and we loose. The experiment of Trickle Down Economics should have ended in 1992, welfare reform (while needed) should have moved in a different direction, deregulation of banks should have never been on the table. In 2008, the bailouts should have been made to the people, not the banks. There should have been a single payer option with the PPACA. But we did not get those because for all his good, Obama is playing the third way way. Par for the course.
But we have a chance to snub our noses at this system, to make a change. But we really lack the courage to pull the trigger. I have been accused of being a child if I do not get my way come this primary. I have been told that I support Sanders because he is promising me free college, and health care, and guess what. They are right. He is promising to try and get me free of the shackles I am trapped by. He is promising to try and ensure that whatever job I take ensures that I have a decent standard of living, where I might be able to dig out, and have a decent life. Why would I not vote for that? Why would I not support it?
What has Clinton promised, that she knows what its like to be poor because she could not afford a several million dollar deposit on a multimillion dollar home while I can't even afford the deposit to get the lights on for the rest of the year (maybe into February depending on how things go)? No I don't believe that Sanders has intimate knowledge of what its like to be where I am, but there is one difference I see between their comments. Clinton seems to be a more of a “deal with it” type, Sanders seems to be more of a “this is wrong on so many levels, and it shouldn't be happening here.”
Vote who you want, but do not come down on those Sanders supporters who cannot find it in themselves to walk. We are tired of voting for the person who will hurt the least. We want change, and we want a fighting chance, and we aren't seeing it with Clinton. Not to mention all the other little things that have people up in arms (IE debate schedule/rules).
Oh yeah, as for that political test all those years ago, well they have changed a lot. Now they show left and right, but also authoritarian and libertarian. Guess what, my views are the same as they were back in the day, I found one of those old tests that showed Moderate. It seems that even though I answered those old questions the same way, I am now a socialist libertarian. Go figure that one out.