I wouldn’t vote for anyone besides Bernie Sanders. And you shouldn’t either.
I say this knowing that Hillary is an excellent candidate and that the Democratic ticket is lucky to have her.
Hillary is a dedicated politician, with a clear record for decisive foreign policy, and a personal hero of mine. I want to get “women’s rights are human rights” tattooed on my body. She is a politician with bravery, intelligence and a commanding presence. The former Secretary of State is a paragon for post-9/11 Democratic candidates—centrist-left economic policies coupled with a tough-on-terrorism foreign policy. Hillary is everything the DNC could want from a candidate.
But I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.
To vote for Hillary would be to give my consent to the current state of affairs. It would be an endorsement of mainstream politics’ counter-terrorism policies—the same ones that make her a stronger candidate. A vote for Hillary would be a vote for Obama’s drone policy, it would be a vote for an escalation of involvement in Syria, it would be a vote for a political narrative that supports “Israel’s right to defend itself” regardless of the costs.
Part of me can overlook these things. After all, policy is one thing and leadership is another. I could forgive Hillary’s hawkish policies and embrace her smart power. I could fall back on my faith in Hillary’s ability to bring the world’s negotiators together and her willingness to tackle today’s problem with thoughtfulness and competency.
I could do it. (And you know what comes next now.)
But. I. just. can’t.
At the end of the day, my support of Bernie Sanders is simple. My support for Bernie is not about Bernie, and it is not about Hillary. My support for Bernie is about me.
I refuse to be complicit in today’s political system, where just 36.3% of the population voted in the last national election. I refuse to be complicit in a system rife with gerrymandering and voter suppression. I refuse to be complicit in a system that judges the future success of a candidate by how much money they have raised from corporate donors. I am sick of this political process where every election is two elections: the one we see and the one we don’t.
I am so saddened by the continual decline of American democracy. I do not want an oligarchy. I want a goddamned democracy! When I support Bernie, I support the 2.3 million Americans who have donated to his campaign. I end an acceptance of what American politics is and start to campaign for what American politics can be.
This summer, when Bernie announced his campaign for presidency, I laughed. I never thought that the Democratic Socialist from Vermont would go anywhere. Today, I believe. I believe in myself and in my classmates and in an American public ready to tackle a debate about the ways in which our current political system is rigged. We need to stand up to complacency and the status quo.
The primary in my state is on March 22, and I will vote for Bernie.
You should too.
Eleanor grew up in Tucson, AZ. She loves the desert and her friends. Her current apartment is less than 200 square feet that she makes less lonely with poems and pictures of her parents. You can occasionally find her ranting about war and other bullshit she doesn’t like. Her bottles of choice are Orangina and the tears of boys.