Thinking out loud

One can admire things about a public figure without liking them, and without descending into fandom. So it is with my feelings about Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I’ve never been a particular fan of hers, yet at the same time I’ve found myself admiring her ability to navigate treacherous diplomatic waters over and over again, as she continues to play on the world stage, and continues to rise above the investigations and (often ridiculous) accusations leveled against her.

Whether by fair means or foul, she is a consummate politician, and supremely pragmatic. I’m not saying that sort of detachment is always a good thing, but she is pragmatic enough to recognize that the strength behind Bernie’s support was nothing to be trifled with, and she — pragmatically — allowed herself to be pulled to the left. Despite her early cynicism about Bernie’s ability to campaign without corporate involvement, she saw that it could be done, and listened. She saw that people responded to Bernie’s platform, and she paid attention.

The bad behavior of the DNC is a definite stain on her nomination, but really we shouldn’t be surprised. The system is entrenched and corrupt; that’s the nature of any human institution over time. Any. She is the establishment, and so is the DNC. Bernie was an outsider, a late entrant to the Democratic party, and he accomplished amazing progress in so doing. I voted for him in the primaries, because he had walked the walk from the very beginning of his political career, and before.

HRC is many things, and I’m not suggesting we should just roll over and blithely accept everything about her; however, she is sane, and she recognizes the need to shift when necessary — and not with the wind as the Orange One does.

I frankly despise her war hawk position, but even that is less terrifying than Trump’s distinct (and off the rails) Nazi insanity.

By the way? Jill Stein is not the anti-vaxxer everyone makes her out to be. Now, while I agree that we need better vaccines, and that profit and medicine are antithetical pursuits, I’m still not giving her my vote, because I don’t think she has a chance of winning, and the alternative — Trump — is a very real possibility if too many people throw their protest votes. I’ve seen the math.

Our job is not to accept HRC or any elected official uncritically; quite the contrary.

Our job is to hold HRC to her word.

Now, all that said, I am so very tired of voting for “the lesser of the evils”. I think Hillary definitely falls into that category, though by a wide margin. It’s been suggested that she is even more dangerous than Trump exactly because she is such an accomplished politician.

Perhaps that’s true. I’m not convinced. But frankly, I’d still rather risk that than a madman who has been endorsed by the KKK, NRA, and Vladimir Putin. Hillary, at least, will play serious hardball with the perpetually shirtless Russian.

Hillary at least seems to have something like a conscience.

I’m not saying she’s innocent. I’m saying she knows the game and plays it really well. Trump’s run stinks like a world class publicity stunt (which it is), but what concerns me — knowing what I know about him from people who know him personally — is that he really is that much of an asshole, a narcissistic carnival huckster who plays fast and loose with other people’s money. He’s not playing into the public’s hands; they’re playing into his. He knows it. He’s a manipulative, self-interested, sociopathic, and very canny gamesman. He’s getting more outrageous with each passing hour and people are eating it up.

Bill Maher referred to him as the “wolf with bits of grandma in its teeth.” I would suggest that Hillary is the grandma with bits of wolf in her teeth.

Saying that we should vote “with our hearts” for a third party candidate (to wit, Bernie Sanders), and that he would win “if enough of us get behind him” gives me real cause for concern. We absolutely need a change, yes, and the two party system needs to be dismantled. Bernie started a revolution. But right this minute, we need to stop this generation’s Hitler, and I don’t happen to agree that HRC is our Stalin. She’s not perfect, and she’s kind of awful in many ways. I agree. And for now we need to work with what we have in the near term.

The status quo is killing us, and timid, incremental change is no better. We need revolution. But I believe we need to go about it differently than we have been. I think we need revolution brewing outside the establishment, while also being engines for change inside the establishment for the revolution to take place. Yes, that’s exactly what I mean: Break it from the inside. That, I think, is possible — especially with heroes such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Corey Booker, and others like them in positions where they can make real change happen. You want revolution? Run for office.

It’s not over yet, not by a long shot. And unfortunately, taking down the two party system isn’t going to happen this time. That needs to happen in between presidential election cycles, not in the midst. Our collective anger at the misdeeds of this election cycle must be the fire that fuels that change. As profoundly frustrating as it is to admit, Bernie wouldn’t win on a write-in. And I for one am not willing to take that risk, because Trump with state secrets is a possibility I absolutely cannot countenance.

Finally, I’m leaving this here as more food for thought. Please read it with an open mind:

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