This harrowing election

There is no good outcome of the presidential election today. There is only a bad outcome and a worse outcome.

I know many people don’t feel this way (namely all the people who are weeping tears of joy at being able to vote for Hillary Clinton, who are “with her” and think they are making history by perhaps electing the first woman president). This includes many of my friends and family.

Here’s the thing.

Trump is a joke. A scary joke, a joke in bad taste, but still a joke. Yes, he’s a racist, misogynist, ableist narcissist who admires world dictators, and the comparisons to Hitler are not far off – because whether or not Trump has it in him to be the next Hitler, the forces that have fueled his campaign are the same as those which enabled Hitler’s legacy. That’s the frightening part: not the man himself, but the people standing under him, lifting him up. Many of these people have real grievances, but then so did the Germans after WWI.

Hillary, on the other hand, is deadly serious. She’s a serious, intelligent politician with experience and detailed plans and policies. She has extensive political and corporate connections. She’s an establishment insider with little to no populist appeal. She’s also a militarist who acts with a sense of American exceptionalism; has spent her career destabilizing other countries; and is antagonistic towards Russia (in a disturbingly neo-McCarthyist way) at a time when that could lead to nuclear war.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton tacitly supported the coup in Honduras which installed a military government that has tortured and disappeared numerous people and continues to murder activists who are fighting for human rights, indigenous rights, and the environment (sound familiar? Oh yes, there’s something like that going on now in North Dakota, which Clinton has conspicuously refused to address in any meaningful way). Even though Honduras is more violent and militarized than before and social activism is suppressed, Clinton still insists the coup was legal and scored points for democracy.

Honduras gives us a snapshot of her foreign policy; as president she would carry this foreign policy into countries like Syria, where she would rather continue/ramp up the current policy of arming ISIS sympathists than let Assad remain in power. Apparently she has learned nothing from her years of “experience” about what happens when the US goes in and removes someone else’s government (however flawed that government may be) – which is that a worse, more oppressive government fills its place.

I’d like to believe that my friends and family who are “excited to vote for Hillary” somehow don’t know about these things, rather than that they actually don’t care.

Yes, Hillary is a woman. Yes, she is a mother. She’s a woman who is willing to finance the assassination of human rights activists in impoverished countries. She’s a mother who is willing to burn children to death in the Middle East. I can’t vote for her because I’m also a mother, and I see my son in those children.

Even though I fear losing my son’s much-needed access to medical treatments and therapy under a Republican administration … I can’t vote for the deaths of other children, even on the other side of the world. I just can’t. I can’t give legitimacy and approval to those actions by my vote; nor will I give legitimacy to the system of government that has led to this so-called choice.

I’m going to write something that I’ve never told anyone. I voted for Obama in 2008. The night that he won, I had a very vivid dream. I dreamed about bombs falling. Specifically, I dreamed about bombs falling on children, burning them, blasting them to pieces. I woke up horrified and confused; I didn’t know at the time that I was dreaming about the drone strikes for which Obama has become known.

Obama has done good things during his administration. His healthcare reform benefited my family (I know some other people who’ve been harmed by it, however). I’m sure that Clinton will do some good things if she’s elected.

But does that make it OK? Does that justify the horrors we perpetrate on other countries? On their families? On their children? Why do we have so little feeling for people outside our country and our continent? Why can’t we see that we are fueling ISIS by these policies? That when Reverend Jeremiah Wright said America’s chickens are coming home to roost … he was absolutely right.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye… and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

I believe violence against human beings is very, very rarely justified. The terrorists’ actions are not justified, but neither is the terrorism perpetrated by the United States government.

To people in Syria and Yemen and so many other places … I am sorry. I apologize for what my government has done, is doing to you. I’m sorry that we failed to get a non-militant major party candidate nominated in this election. I’m sorry, and I know that my apology means little and will always be inadequate.


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