Tuesday, March 15, 2016

#ImWithHer. Sort Of

I did my patriotic duty this morning and voted in the Illinois primary election. I cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton.

7 days ago, I did not know how I would vote. As a political junkie, I am quite familiar with both Clinton and Sanders. I have followed them for quite some time.

Bernie Sanders is an intriguing individual. Although he is an independent, he has been a consistent voice for progressive values that the mainstream of the Democratic party have all but abandoned. When he entered the race, I was delighted. His fiery rhetoric would bring energy into the race, and he would force prospective voters to examine their values. He would run to Clinton's left on most issues, and left is the direction in which the Democrats need to go.

Sanders' position on the problems facing most of the people in this country - the 99%  - are closer to my own than Clinton's. The people, not only of this country, but of industrialized countries worldwide, have too long been at the mercy of a corrupt and indifferent financial oligarchy whose only purpose appears to be to funnel most of the wealth created by the common labor of humanity into the pockets of big corporations and a few wealthy individuals. I think this is the message that Sanders' supporters resonate with, and I think it's the reason he's been so successful so far in this primary.

However, as much as I love what Sanders has to say, I am not hearing enough about how he intends to implement the reforms we so desperately need in the face of an entrenched opposition who have gerrymandered themselves into an almost unbeatable position in the House of Representatives and in many statehouses across the country. A president needs executive ability, the ability to make deals, to stand firm when standing firm is called for, and the ability to outthink the opposition as President Obama has done so admirably. I don't think Sanders displays that ability.

Furthermore, his principal focus has been on domestic issues, but we live in an increasingly dangerous world that does not seem to be moving in the right direction. Who do I want sitting across the table from Vladimir Putin, making clear our position that he should not try to recreate the Soviet Union? Who do I want to continue the delicate negotiations with Iran on their nuclear program? For all her faults, Clinton has demonstrated one indisputable quality: she's tough as nails and can stand nose to nose with not only the domestic political opposition, but with world leaders, friend and foe alike, and fight for those interests which she does share with me. As such, she got my vote today, and will get it in November should she continue on her winning trajectory through the remainder of the primary.

I will, however, continue to listen to Senator Sanders, and I hope the dialog he has opened with Americans will continue long past this election. May he continue to inspire the next generation of American leaders, and may he succeed in thwarting the rightward lurch that too many Democrats have made since the Reagan era. This is my message to President Clinton (45): this primary will have shown you that a great many of your constituents do not want business as usual in the Democratic Party. Please stop listening to people like Rahm Emanuel and start listening to people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.