by Adam Hefty
July 22, 2016
Incredibly privileged gay white man comfortably speaking for all the oppressed? Just no.
Acting as though political change in the US progresses in some gradual, arithmetic way from local races to national races? Just no.
(How could anyone think this after just watching the Bernie Sanders campaign? Yes, I’m aware that it happened within the context of a Democratic primary. But we just watched one of the two most significant insurgent, progressive presidential campaigns in the last 40 years, and you are seriously telling people to run for city council to the exclusion of higher offices? Also the Greens are running for city council in many places…but it’s the fact that Savage thinks this is a serious argument and people seem to buy it that I find flabbergasting.)
My 2 cents, since I’m already counter-ranting: it’s not just California; if you live in one of 35-40 states that are probably safe for one major party or the other, and you have left-liberal, progressive, or radical politics, then you are wasting your vote if you vote for Clinton, in that you are voting for something you do not want when you could be voting for something you more or less do want. Live in one of the swing states? I dunno, consult your conscience, higher power, or friends, and make a call. Vote one way or the other, realize that your hands are dirty either way, realize that voting is a rather incidental political act, and join an organization that is doing something to fight anti-immigrant politics, Islamophobia, white supremacy, austerity, etc.
On “tone” or the ethics of the discourse: engaging with a Dan Savage rant about electoral politics as if he’s not just a hack on this topic drags the conversation into such a muck. Who and what benefits when we stop having careful conversations about third-party politics and the dangers of a Trump presidency or a Clinton presidency and we descend into a slug-fest of shaming, chiding, vitriol, and condescension? Responding to this or the Rebecca Solnit article from 2012 feels like getting masterfully trolled by a puppetmaster with a Bill Clinton mask. I’m a sucker every time.
Adam Hefty is a long time member of Solidarity from California, currently living and teaching in the Middle East. This piece was originally published atThe Anarres Project.