The 2000 election was my first foray into the national political process. I was a junior at NCSU and an adamant supporter of Ralph Nader. The election, at the time, seemed frivolous to me, as the nineties were a far more comfortable era economically and militarily. Bill Clinton ended his term in office with a federal surplus in the billions mostly garnered, and rightfully so, by shifting the tax burden to the wealthy.
So, what did smartypants do? Instead of voting for Gore I opted to write in a, “protest vote” for Nader. Even though North Carolina overwhelmingly went to Bush, I can’t help but feel as though my mistake makes me a nano-bit responsible for the ensuing horrors of the G.W. Bush’s administration. In my defense, at this time there was no global war on terror. The only people in the west who even knew of Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda were political wonks and most of today’s ISIS fighters were in diapers. Many of the conservatives who cast votes for Bush in 2000 are now buried as a result of old age and good riddance to them. Many of that generation were the same who sent young men to die in Vietnam, beat civil rights protesters, took part in lynchings and supported the Klan’s less than covert actions in my, and surrounding states.
It’s 2016 and I have a new Ralph Nader in Bernie Sanders. Unbelievably, to my younger self, Bernie has a honest chance of taking the election, thereby justly anointing an ardent peace and civil rights activist to our highest office. By now, most of us have seen the images of him marching behind MLK and being arrested during a civil rights protest, to the chagrin of a suit wearing, cigar smoking supporter of Jim Crow.
What happens and how do we respond if our dreams are yet again dashed and the best person for the office is denied a chance to challenge the GOP candidate in the national election? Shall we not vote or make the same idealistic and foolish mistake I did in 2000? Hell no. Clinton, like Bush, is responsible for the errant war in Iraq as well as anti-gay laws passed in the 1990’s. It wasn’t until the dissidents against such ignorance became the majority did she switch. Clinton is a consummate politician, changing as the tide turns, whereas Sanders has been dependable in his support of a pluralistic society from his first day in the Mayor’s office of Burlington, Vermont in 1980.
In this hypothetical future we find ourselves with Hillary Clinton vs. Trump or Cruz. You have to remember who these men are. Trump is basically running as Oligarch in Chief while Cruz is running for Rapturville ring leader. Clinton, being the politician she is, will do what she’s always done, support the majority will, which today means expanding civil rights for LGBT citizens and treading cautiously into war. Trump nor Cruz have any reason to do the same. When you sit at home instead of casting a vote for Clinton you arm either one of these men with the, “political capital” W. used to flush our economy and the lives of thousands of soldiers down the toilet.
Billy Bragg, released a song called Help Save the Youth of America, which was covered, in 1998, by one of my all time favorite bands, Discount. One of the lines reminds me of Trump’s lack of motivation for peace. It goes, “War, what is it good for? It’s good for business.”
Cruz, of course, is a true believer who has no concern for the environment or peace because, like many Evangelicals, he is anti-science and believes that we live in end times. This line of thinking leads one to be less than caring for our environment, since Jesus is coming down to sweep them all up any minute now. To hasten their glorious ride into the sky, Cruz, like ISIS, would love nothing more than a face to face war. ISIS, ironically, holds many of the same Armageddon lusting ideals as American Conservative Christians. They just worship different wings of the big three Abrahamic religions.
If it comes down to it, on November, 8 2016, I’m going with plan B. Sadly, Trump nor Cruz’s mothers had access to the contraception that goes by the same moniker and it’s possible that neither will any of us if we go down their path.