This is a message to my Bernie Sanders supporting friends who are disillusioned by both candidates and are considering a “protest vote” for either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson.
I get it. I love that Bernie put a voice to what we know to be true–the destruction of our world, a system that is not working for Earth… or for people. I supported Bernie and love that he fought so hard for us. I, too, am righteously angry at the desecration of our world, of a system that perpetuates a destructive world view, at an economic systems that must change. We know that if Bernie had received even one tenth of the republican nominee’s corporate media airtime, he would have been the democratic nominee.
He is not. He did, however, fight for progress on the democratic platform… and while changing the party platform isn’t revolutionary, it isn’t the entirely wrong direction either.
The reason this agenda has been so difficult to enact is NOT that Clinton-like democrats are in the pocket of the 1%. It isn’t. Rather, it’s because WAY too many people are not yet awake. They are angry and hurt, and they literally put people in power who not only do not believe in climate change, they spew lies about it. They are not only racist, they spread the message of the KKK. They not only think Earth is here to be used up and dominated, they actively work to dismantle wilderness protections, national parks and (if they had their way) would cut down every last redwood tree. Their world view is shaped by lies and fueled by fear.
Personally, I would like reality to intervene as soon as possible.
We now face a choice.
We have two nominees–one knows how to work within the existing (flawed) system for good, and one is willing to destroy everything we care about for his own ego. He is willing to use nuclear weapons. He is willing to actively dismantle environmental protection. He is frothing his supporters to violence against everyone else. He (with media complicity) is sending exactly the wrong message to children of how to treat others. Unless we strongly repudiate this, we will see more of it from his base of angry and violent supporters in the years to come.
It is just the beginning. Unless we stop it now.
We need to take a stand. We must be willing to be as clear about what we stand for as his supporters are angry and violent. We stand for Earth. We stand for human decency. We stand for respect. We stand for diversity and service to others. We stand for women, for native peoples, for people of color, for all faith traditions. Let us be a beacon of light for all. This election should not even be close.
Here is my request. Do not cast a protest vote. Cast a decisive vote that repudiates the republican nominee decisively, clearly and powerfully. If you do not like Hillary and claim there is no difference–that she is “the lesser of two evils”– and you cannot bring yourself to vote for her–I would gently say this to you: In claiming to “vote your conscience” it is YOUR ego that is allowing you to feel powerless and victimized by the existing two party system. A protest vote will not change the system (though it may help you feel good). In fact, it won’t be noticed… it will be misinterpreted. it will be a footnote in history. With a protest vote, you are choosing to sit this one out. You are playing the victim and not claiming your power.
Please don’t do that.
Right now, you have the power to use that vote to send a clear message. Your vote can decisively repudiate an agenda that is 100% wrong. Not by a little bit. but by a LOT.
Writer and Earth Activist Starhawk says “The Universe only grants more power to those who are willing to use the power they have.”
I urge you: do not sit it out or cast a protest vote. Cast your vote for Hillary Clinton. Get your friends to do the same. And then work as hard as you did for Bernie to hold her to task on the things that matter.
P.S. The two choices are best compared by looking at the speeches this week. One is repudiated by the Anti Defamation League for its anti semitism and is filled with distortions and lies, and the other is FLOTUS.
The reason I loved Michelle Obama’s speech so much is that it came from her heart–from a place of authenticity and truth. And it is a clarion call to human decency. I urge you to listen to it. Here.