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More bullshit about the stupid election

April 13, 2016

You may remember that back in 2008, I voted for Barack Obama. I was a fresh-faced college kid who took the bait, lured by the promise of hope and unable to recognize the ambiguity of the word “change”. Casting my vote for the fist black president made me feel like I was part of that change. I still remember being in the backseat of Chelsea’s car barreling down I-5 and hearing the news that he had won. We cheered at the top of our lungs.

Of course by the end of 2009, I began to sober up. Rather than holding Wall Street accountable, Obama had chosen to focus on his lame ass health care bill, a watered down piece of legislation written by insurance companies that has done little to lower health care costs for the average American. Rather than winding down the inhumane and troublingly inaccurate “targeted assassination” program started under Bush, he expanded it, personally giving the command  that has taken the lives of many innocent people including an American teenager. He surrounded himself with insiders and elites, including the Democratic candidate he had spent months convincing us not to vote for. He cloaked himself in pragmatism to cover his compromise of the principles that got him elected. He promised the most open government in history, and delivered the most classified, where whistleblowers are labelled traitors and prosecuted more than under any other president in history. He promised immigration reform and then deported more immigrants than W. He promised an end to our wars overseas and instead expanded them. Through inaction and bumbling responses, the Obama administration, with the help of Secretary Clinton, aided in the rise of ISIS and doubled down on the insane foreign policy of George Bush and Dick Cheney in Libya and other places.

By 2012, my hope had become a full-blown case of malaise about Barack Obama. The change he had promised literally boiled down to the fact that a black guy was doing all of this horrible shit instead of a white guy. Rather than changing Washington, Washington changed him. He was willing to chastise the elite and the entrenched until he was one of them then the need for “pragmatism” prevailed. It’s like when you have to kill someone to join a gang. They need to know you are one of them. “And they looked from Barack Obama to the Washington insiders and elite and then back to Barack Obama and they could not tell the difference.” Unfortunately the only person more out of touch with America was his opponent in 2012, Mitt “47%” Romney. I held my nose, and voted for Obama a second time.

I don’t know what I could have done different, but I still regret it. I was looking forward to 2016. We will have another chance. I had not given up on hope and change, just Barack Obama’s ability to deliver it. I told Paul when we started dating two years ago that he should be prepared for me to become obsessed with the election. I was chomping at the bit to get it started.

I knew Hillary Clinton was the “presumptive nominee” but I was like, “They always say that.” No way America is actually going to go through that again. We had already left her at the alter once. I’d heard rumblings about Bernie Sanders possibly running. If only.

Slowly a small pool of candidates formed, literally all of them preferable to Hillary Clinton.  Martin O’Malley picked a bad year to get in. Where was he in ’04? or ’08? or even 2012? I’m sure he could have beat FrankenKerry for the nomination and he certainly would’ve given Obama some worry. I like to dream that there will be a peaceful paradise in an alternate universe where Lincoln Chaffee is the President and finally passes legislation regarding the Oxford comma. Even Lawrence Lessig offered more relevant solutions than the “presumptive nominee”, recognizing that no real change can happen until our election system is fixed. I trust Jim Webb would keep me safe. Hillary Clinton can’t even keep her e-mails safe. Bernie Sanders entered the race and I was ecstatic. I was aware of his work in the House and the Senate and admired his candor and principled consistency. He has been consistent about what he hopes to accomplish through government since he arrived in Washington decades ago and before that as mayor of Burlington. He has chosen to stand for his principles even when they were unpopular. I cannot say that for anyone else in the race or for very many people I know. He is one of a kind.

If you have been alive for the last three or four decades, you know about Hillary Clinton. Quick name that scandal she was involved in! No, not that one. No, not that one. No, that isn’t the one I am thinking of. I’m not going to bore you with all the reasons why I don’t think she should be the president. We knew all those reasons in 2008 and that was before she had the whole e-mail scandal or her involvement in the disaster of Libya or her support for the ouster of the democratically-elected president of Honduras or taking money from Goldman-Sachs for speaking engagements. Measuring by the level of destructive influence on the world, it would be better to take money for speaking at a Klan rally.

Mrs. Clinton has been saying she will continue the good work of President Obama. That has been her sales pitch. “Let’s keep this good thing going!” I don’t really want to vote for a fifth Bush term. I want the hope and change I was promised. I want the change everyone says they want but no one can deliver.

This is the year.

Because of their electoral clown show and their inability to do their jobs as elected officials, the Republicans have pretty much guaranteed that they are going to lose control of the Senate and soon after that, if they continue, the House as well. If a Democrat is elected, and it is almost certain one will be, they will either inherit a left-leaning Supreme Court or will be able to nominate a new justice. This hypothetical president-elect will have the best shot any president is gonna get to pass major legislation. They might even be able to pass election reform or single-payer health care. Do you really want someone who is going to go in to the negotiation low-balling everything in the interest of pragmatism? “I could get $15 minimum wage but let’s go with $12 to be on the safe side.” The next president, if a Democrat, should be ready to shoot for the moon, to get as much done as possible to prove to the American people that the progressive agenda is the agenda of the future. Half-assing it on climate change is not an option anymore and any candidate who supports fracking is half-assed in their approach.

I am aware that the world is flooded with people praising their candidate on both sides and I am sorry to add to it. It is too important for me to keep quiet.

P.S. I would very much like to have a woman president, just not Hillary Clinton. I’d rather vote for Kim Kardashian.

P.P.S. If you liked this post you may enjoy “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” from 2012

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