Today is Election Day in the USA. All the talking is done, the decisions are made, and democracy is in motion. No one will be convinced to change their mind now, at the last possible minute. So, this is the perfect time to talk about why I support Hillary Clinton—and every candidate that I do.
I’m not talking about policy positions, personal record and experience, or character, I’m talking about one thing only: I know what I’m doing.
The further ends of the rightwing and leftwing alike have accused people like me of not knowing what we’re doing, of being stupid, ignorant, uneducated, plus a whole lot more. Yesterday, a rigthwinger said I voted for President Obama only because “he’s half-black” (a favourite term among the far-right/alt-right creeps), and that I was supporting Hillary Clinton only because she’s a woman. A few days earlier a leftwinger told me I was supporting Hillary “on the basis of [my] sexual tastes” because I’d said that, “As a gay man, it would be both absolutely batshit insane and a betrayal of my family and *everything* I've fought for for over 35 years to do ANYTHING other than vote for Hillary Clinton,” something that’s no surprise to readers of this blog.
What those two people have in common is that they dismissed everything I am, believe, know, and care about because my position conflicted with their own. We all saw this sort of thing repeated endlessly on social media, whether we were the targets or merely bystanders. It was disgusting.
It really is true that some people do, indeed, choose which politician to vote for based on superficial or even stupid reasons—it happens all the time and all over the political spectrum. But the vast majority of people take their choices seriously, mulling over their decisions to the best of their abilities. So, calling other people stupid, ignorant, uneducated or terrible things merely because we disagree is, in fact, what’s stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and other terrible things.
I support the candidates that I support based on a lot of research and thinking as I try to mesh the reality of the candidate with the ideal candidate in my head. I ask myself whether the candidate is aligned with my values. Does the candidate support any/all/most of the many, many issues I deeply care about? Will the candidate stand up for me and my human rights?
Most of us do that sort of thing, regardless of our spot on the ideological spectrum, or who we end up voting for. We may disagree, and sometimes passionately so, but we must never treat other people as if they’re stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and other terrible things, even if we think some of their choices are.
I’ve said this a million times before, but we all need to talk with the other person, not at them. I had to learn that lesson, and am still learning it; there’s no reason others can’t. We also need to accept that some people will never, ever, agree with us. That’s life.
So, the reason I support Hillary Clinton and the other Democrats I voted for is simple: Because I care. I’m not stupid, ignorant, uneducated, or other terrible things, and I bet neither is anyone else reading this. It’s far past time that we all started acting like we know it.
Let’s change the way we do this. We can, and we must.