“I am not so narcissistic to say I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton,” said ultra liberal Angela Davis recently. Nor am I. But it is time to admit that to support a third-party candidate in America is essentially a narcissistic act.
Our vote is about more than ourselves. It’s about one-person, one-vote and voting rights. It’s about preventing nuclear war. It’s about whether to employ diplomacy or resort to our baser instincts and destroy the planet. It’s about trying to reverse climate change. It is about the 99%. It is about jobs and livable wages. It’s about whether we have reproductive freedom at all. It is about whether there is a public education system left. It’s about protecting Medicare from being voucherized. It’s about protecting Social Security from those wanting to divert money into the stock market. We should have learned that lesson in 1929 and 2008. It is about making health care more available. It’s about curing diseases. It’s about whether we have prison reform, or keep rounding people up and destroying their lives for minor infractions. It’s about whether real policies get enacted at all, or whether we are at the whim of a tyrant. But, some think it is all about their ego, their virtue, their “pristine” idealism.
I was a Bernie supporter in the primary. I will be again after Election 2016. But I will not pretend that there aren’t huge differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Yet these narcissists are willing to put our nation at incredible risk in the name of their electoral “purity.” They care little if Trump and his band of neo-fascist supporters usher in a new authoritarianism never experienced in The United States of America. It’s OK if Trump manipulates fear to strip America of its Constitution. It’s OK if he detonates a nuclear weapon. It’s OK if Trump implicitly threatens to overthrow an election if he doesn’t get his way.
Jill Stein is NOT a presidential contender and never was. She may be smarter than Donald Trump, but she is just as unqualified. A town councilperson does not a presidential candidate make. But Stein supporters would have you believe that a lifetime of public service, yes service, work on behalf of children, and work to open up housing to all, is nothing. Diplomatic service is nothing. Serving in Congress is nothing. And work to bring health care, immunizations and medicine to the world’s poor, in which she takes nothing for herself, is now recast as somehow evil. Do they hear themselves? Thirty years of disproven propaganda has so deluded them that Hillary is “evil” that they never question whether they aren’t being useful pawns in the manipulation of the electorate by the far right.
But it balms superior egos. In the unlikely event that a third party succeeded it would need to be built from the ground up, not from the presidency down. But that would be too hard. It will be interesting to see how these same people shirk off efforts to build alternatives from the real grassroots, a hundred Zephyr Teachouts could make a real difference.
But the Big Lie gets repeated every four years: If only we just stick with whatever spoiler shows up that year, things could be different, no matter how far out and lacking in cred. Everything will be great. But their ignorance of the differences between a democratic republic and a parliamentary system is infantile. Third Parties have been playing this card for my entire (long) life. And still they hope, pray even, that there are enough dreamers to sing Kumbaya with them while we lose yet another election. They always have their “purity.” They will never admit they brought us George W Bush, the needless Iraq war and countless deaths. No, those things are not their fault, at all.
Their “purity” was more important than the environment they purport to protect, more important than lives lost to war, more important than the Constitution upended by Bush-Cheney.They delude themselves that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are authoritarians like Trump. They turn a blind eye to Trump’s ignorance, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, bullying, exhortations to violence. All of that, they excuse, and look the other way.
Yes, there are dozens upon dozens of ways Trump and Clinton differ. Indeed a chart delineating such differences is what launched the inundation of this site by supporters of Stein. 2016 is a real campaign with real alternatives and potentially devastating consequences should Donald Trump get his hand on the nuclear codes. His desire to wantonly upend hundreds of years of development, precedent, rule of law, support for infrastructure, and civil society threatens us all.
So, the continuing saga of Jill Stein’s incredible ego trip continues. Her Green Party supporters slog along pretending there isn’t a century of evidence that third parties cannot succeed in America with its non-parliamentary system. And those feigning that they are better than anyone else just cannot bring themselves to join us little people in the real world where only one of the two major candidates will win. And it cannot be Donald Trump.