I am #WithHer, but not who you’re thinking

Dylan Verdi

I want to be excited at the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman president of the United States. As a woman and as a feminist, I wish I could feel the thrill of shattering the proverbial glass ceiling. But I can’t.

Instead, I think of Berta Cáceres, a Honduran human rights and environmental activist killed at the hands of a government coup backed by 2009 Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. I think of the scores of innocent women and children killed in the attacks on Palestine in the summer of 2014 and years before and since then. I think of the child refugees from Central and South America who made the dangerous journey to find safety in the U.S. only to be met by the Obama administration, which has deported more people than any other presidential administration. Clinton has made it clear that her immigration policies will not deviate far from Obama’s and in 2014 said, “Just because your child gets across the border, doesn’t mean they get to stay.”

And yet, the 2016 Presidential election is truly an exceptional one.  On one hand, there’s Hillary Clinton, a left of center politician (on a good day). On the other hand, there’s Donald Trump: businessman extraordinaire, who is flippant, racis, and misogynistic. Trump bounces sporadically from far right authoritarian positions to moderate ones that seem harder to identify. He is certainly dangerous. Trump’s America would be a scary one.

For many voters, the prospect of President Trump is sufficient enough to elicit a vote for Clinton. I am absolutely sympathetic to this, however it isn’t enough for me.

Instead, I am choosing to vote for the Green Party’s nominee, Dr. Jill Stein.  The accusation that not voting for Clinton and voting third party is a privileged act is absurd; it’s privileged to be able to turn a blind eye to Clinton’s neoliberal policies that will directly harm women at home and around the globe.

Every four years, the same argument against third party candidates is recycled: “You’re throwing your vote away” “It’s a vote for the other party” and so on. This is only true if we continue to not invest in third party candidates and movement building. Without investment, there’s no growth, and without growth you stay stuck in the same place.

I am here to invest and to grow a future that is kind to this Earth and its people. If Clinton continually asks us to be “with her” instead of trying to be more progressive, (e.g. putting forth a progressive platform) I would prefer to invest my energy in a candidate who reflects my values, than make a choice prompted by fear. A future with Dr. Stein would be decidedly anti-corporate capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-racist. We are fast approaching the point of no return on climate change. Clinton plans to “reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025”. Dr. Stein, however,  has the most aggressive climate action platform of all major presidential candidates, with a jobs plan that will create jobs while transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030. 

Conor Kilpatrick, an editor at Jacobin Magazine wrote, “to be an effective radical, plant one foot in the world as it is, the other in the world as it could be. Too much one way, you’re useless.” I am choosing to keep a foot in the world as it could be and I hope that others realize they can too.