If Only You’d Have Sacrificed Your Self-Respect and Belief in Democracy; We’d Be at Brunch
Social media can be a cesspool of misinformation and ugliness, yet somehow, we can’t seem to break our addiction to it. Anyone in the progressive movement knows that for around 2 years, vote-shaming has been all the rage. It started in July 2016, ironically before a single vote in the General had even been cast. It’s an (ineffective) way of allowing oneself to skirt any responsibility for the cluster-fuck we’re all in. It’s taking a cue from Ms. Hillary, the Queen of corruption, by deflecting anything unsavory onto the “others”. Blame is so much more fun than accountability. Ultimately, it’s sanctimonious garbage.
I along with many others, cannot quantify the number of times we’ve heard the term “wasted vote”. We were continuously told our vote wouldn’t count. It wouldn’t matter. Fast-forward to November 9, 2016, when our worthless vote, supposedly determined the entire election.
A “wasted vote” was voting for someone in the primary, who polls showed was either tied or losing to Trump, while ignoring the candidate who, from day one, polls showed beating Trump by double-digits. (But it was “her turn”).
The more I observe vote-shamers, the more I realize how bitter they are that there is a law of only one person, per voting booth. No doubt they feel slighted that they can’t physically push the buttons for us. It is the epitome of entitlement. They feel their choice is more important than ours. They implore us to feel a sense of obligation to appease them; however, they simply aren’t that important.
I live in Pennsylvania and as research will show, my state did not lose to Trump by one vote. It was many, many more than just mine. I voted for the person who I always planned on voting for; I wrote in Bernard Sanders. I envisioned myself after the election and knew that was the only vote I wouldn’t regret. And I still don’t. I saw people I volunteered for Bernie with, completely cave to the manipulation of voting for Hillary and utterly loathe themselves afterward, when she didn’t win anyway. We were put in a hostage situation. Pure entrapment.
When I tell the aforementioned people that I wrote Bernie in and my one, personal vote did not change the outcome of the election, it is always the same response: “Well if you would have voted for Hillary and others would have too, then….”. Since when am I personally accountable for how someone else chooses to vote? If we are responsible for others in that regard, I guess they failed because they sure as hell didn’t convince me to vote another way.
When people start trying to vote-shame you, ask them what they DID to get Hillary elected. Did they canvass? Phone bank? March? Hold voter registration drives? Or did they simply insult, berate, and demand people “fall in line”? Each time I’ve asked someone that question, there were crickets. I mean, she couldn't even fill a high-school gymnasium. She is not likable. She is not exciting. Take away "but…Trump" and her being the "first woman president" and they couldn't provide me with an answer on why I should give her my vote.
An epitome of a bad idea: Take groups of strong-minded, strong-willed people, from a life-changing movement and order them to obey you. Take those who you bullied and insulted for over a year and demand they join you. Expect them to forget infiltrating Bernie groups on Super Tuesday, with kiddie porn and cheating them out of a fair election. Expect them to ignore ripping up their signs and pushing them at the convention. Even HRC stated she didn’t need our votes. Numerous times. Bernie himself said we are very sure in our beliefs and "it is incumbent on HER to gain their support". Not only did she or her supporters not even try to earn our support; the bullying got even worse. I firmly believe “you are the company you keep”. Granted, some of this ugliness was caused by employees of Correct the Record, whom Hillary’s campaign personally hired. Epic strategy: make us loathe the party and then demand that we join it? “He’s not even a Democrat”, but you better “vote blue no matter who”!
The “vote blue no matter who” sect is exactly why the (un)Democratic party hasn’t changed. Why would they? There are millions of people demanding absolutely nothing. In essence, they are saying that the party can continue to take corporate money, not support Medicare for all, continue rigging elections, trash progressives, etc. and they’ll still get their votes. As long as that "D" is next to their name; all is excused. If someone is registered as a Democrat, that is their personal choice; however, they should still be disgusted and demanding change.
All too many people habitually say “well, the Republicans….”. Thing is, the Republicans don’t owe you a damn thing. You were never registered one. You never voted for one. You never donated to one. Place your fury on the party who betrayed you. The one who stole from you. The one who is the reason we have Trump to begin with. The more irate people are with Trump; the more comfortable the DNC sits. The DCCC changed its slogan to “I mean, have you seen the other guys”? Yes, I’m serious. That is what our “Democracy” has been reduced to. “We may be shitty, but they are even shittier”!
And what about Gary Johnson? He had more votes than Jill and Bernie's write-ins combined. It’s the progressives the vote-shamers target. I’m sure part of it is that people voted for a woman; just not their woman. If they would actually take a minute and grab a calculator, they may learn something. Also, they’re being presumptuous if Jill weren’t in the race, those votes would have gone to Hillary. I can assure you, that’s not the case. Those voters would have likely stayed home, or chosen a write-in. The irony is, Jill Stein actually raised money to do a recount in 3 states; yet, that olive branch was ignored.
I was one of many thousands who marched for miles in over 100-degree heat, for 6 days at #OccupyDNC. I chanted “Hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary” until my voice was hoarse. I meant it. As did others. We said “Bernie or Bust” and they chose “Bust”. All too many people don’t acknowledge that the main reason for all of this, was the cheating which transpired during the primaries. Providing proof after tangible proof of unrequested party-affiliation switches, yuge exit-poll discrepancies, closing of polling stations, machine “malfunctions”, media collusion, voters purged, and countless other examples. Sure, it would be ideal if it were “one person, one vote”, but that we learned, is nonexistent in the face of the oligarchy.
For many moons, like others in activism, I’ve been given props for being a non-conformist; standing firm and proud in my beliefs. All of that changed in 2016. I was now called “stubborn”, a “sore loser”, and the like, for not joining the sheeple. I was being shunned for not using my one and only vote on the person who cheated me and our country, out of someone who continuously fights for us, the people. The person who had insulted and demeaned me and my allies, on countless occasions. The person who stole millions from the people of Haiti. The person who told people of color that she always carries hot sauce with her. The person who lied about being caught under Bosnian sniper fire. The person who voted for the Iraq war and referred to it as a “business opportunity”. The enabler who bullied her husbands’ 13 sexual assault/ rape accusers. The person who put our national security at risk, over and over again. The person who immediately (as in 2 hours later) hired someone who was just forced to resign, because of rigging the primaries, and most prevalent; the person who convinced Trump to run as a “pied piper” candidate.
Something too often overlooked is the responsibility of the media. For at least a week, the lowest percentage of Hillary winning one could find was 96%. They were absolutely positive she was going to win. They were certain. All of them. They repeated it continuously. That being said, it obviously affected the number of people who came out to vote. Our country had two shit, main choices. Over 90 million eligible voters stayed home that day. They were that uninspired. Do you think they all would have if they thought Trump may actually win? I guess we’ll never know, but I somehow doubt it. To many, It was inconceivable that someone could lose to a candidate as hated as Trump. Hillary and her Shills rigged the primaries, she had the media working for her, she had money at her disposal, she had the establishment working for her, she had her “if you don’t vote for me, you’re sexist” going for her, she had the current president working for her. All of those advantages against the most hated man in our country, (now, in the world). How could she lose, right? She certainly is special.
There is often discussion of “if you were able to go back and vote again, would you vote the same way”? Pure gaslighting: If you say that you would vote differently, you’re an asshole for not voting that way in the first place and if you answer that you’d vote the same way, you’re an asshole for not changing your mind. Ultimately, it’s not even a plausible situation, thus one’s answer is moot. (But just in case you’re wondering; yes, I’d vote the same way I initially did).
Democracy involves choice; not obligation. I voted for the candidate I wanted to win; not the candidate opposing the one I did not want to win. 2016 proved that strategic actions do not work in voting. There are way too many variables. If one wants others to vote “their way”, it is incumbent on them to be convincing; not demanding.
Democracy is not a spectator sport. There are those who want to improve it and put in the work to make it happen. There are also slacktivists who tell themselves they are making a difference because they post memes about Trump all day. The establishment will do what we allow them to do. We need to take the power back. Focus on what matters.
Cognitive dissonance and lack of accountability are so rampant, I genuinely fear we’re headed towards another 6 years of 2016. The causes themselves have been placed on the back-burner, while we scold each other about a single choice we made 21 months ago.
I still post about the election fraud and corruption in the DNC and won’t be stopping anytime soon. I am told to “move on” and “get over it”; however, I can assure you, that is not going to happen. They have changed nothing. They have learned nothing. It is time for people to wake up and acknowledge WHY we are in the place we are.
“Never, ever lose your sense of outrage”- Bernard Sanders
Image credit: Marcos Levy