Page Two: Time for All Those Who Voted Their Conscience to Claim Their Credit in Trump’s Election?
Congratulations on feeling pure and noble. Guess where it got us.
Obviously every citizen has the right to decide who they are going to vote for during a presidential election. But this by no means precludes a discussion over the consequences of those votes.
Isn't it time that all those who refused to vote for the lesser of two evils but insisted on voting their conscience step up and take credit for their participation in Trump's victory?
This past election, many of those who made this decision to privilege their conscience also insisted that there were no consequences to that decision. Which is preposterous. The final voting totals were certainly important, but perhaps the greatest impact was how this attitude contributed to the overall atmosphere of the election, where the pronounced distinctions between the philosophies of the two leading candidates became underemphasized in every way. In a remarkable blurring of obviously, dramatically different ideological agendas, the election weirdly refocused, becoming presented as a more simplistic contest of personalities. The three-decades-long assault by the right on Clinton was happily joined by self-righteously pure leftists whose dislike of her became far more important to them than the long-term effects of the election.
Currently, the two major political parties each represent distinctly different political visions – one more conservative and the other reform. Yet the claim that there is no real difference between them, each much the same as the other, has become more widely accepted. This lack of difference declared allowed many to feel freed from any party support, resulting in their deciding to vote their conscience, usually by choosing third-party candidates.
Many Naderites still insist their vote in the 2000 election was pure and noble. But rather than claim their role in Bush's victory, they actively deny it, often proving this point by offering convoluted reasoning and strangely stretched logic to make their point.
Not only are the two parties significantly different, but who is elected affects not just the national, social, and political agenda but the very dynamic of how Americans regard and treat each other.
When a significant number of voters decide that the outcome of an election is not important enough to prioritize their party's candidate, the result is just not on third- party totals but the very tone and tenor of the nation's dialogue. In this past election, as in 2000, those whose votes privileged personal feelings over national interest had immediate consequences – not just derailing and pushing back a progressive agenda but enabling a conservative if not reactionary one, that deliberately reduces the rights of significant segments of the population.
Usually before elections these dissidents casually boast of their own integrity, especially as contrasted with the masses of mainstream voters. They seem to not care at all how the election results affect such groups as immigrants, women, minorities, the working class, labor, the LGBT community, and academics.
After the election rather than owning their role in its results, they not only deny their impact but indignantly dismiss any who criticize their decisions as bullies trying to dictate to them how to vote.
Those on social media who liked neither candidate should now really strut their stuff. Frequently mentioning their disdain for both the candidates, they did seem to expend the most time, energy, and effort trashing Clinton. Labeling her evil and corrupt, they happily posted any and every accusation against her.
Regardless of what she had accomplished, the portrayal was of Clinton as dragon lady. They flatly stated that she was wrong about everything, especially Libya and Syria. The criticism of Clinton's performance was presented without context, as though her decisions happened independently of world circumstances and national policy. Thus it appeared as though her actions were personal, driven by her passion for war and violence evidencing her deliberate and purposeful evil. This strongly contributed to an overcharged atmosphere of hysteria where the huge distinctions between the two presidential candidates were basically denied, defining the decision of who to vote for as basically and only a choice as to the lesser of two undeniable evils.
Now if you ask our brethren on the right, they are in agreement as to how wrong she was, but though the left didn't like what she did, the right felt she didn't do enough.
These folks often talk about how evil all politicians are, that our elected leaders make terrible decisions for the worst reasons. Social media self-declared pundits condemn government, business, media, and diplomacy as concurrently they anoint themselves, proclaiming their pure and untainted moral vision.
Ironically many of these same people were shocked by reading Clinton's emails, stunned to discover that grownups in politics play a cutthroat game. Having forever described the system as hopelessly corrupt, evidently they thought its participants would be like shepherds with sheep, wise men with staffs, compassionate monks in the sweet gardens of government.
The basic assumptions of those most critical of the Democrats and candidate Clinton were that a two-dimensional good guy vs. bad guy scenario was appropriate. They positioned it that incredibly difficult decisions were actually easy, while fantastically complicated situations offered clear solutions. Evidently it turns out from extremists of both the right and left that foreign diplomatic relations were actually simple and easily executed. Rather than impossibly difficult, what needs to be done in places like Syria and Libya is as clear as following a marked route on a map.
Of course these exact routes of action or inaction are strictly determined by the ideologies of those advancing them. All agree that what needs to be done is simple, but based on ideology the exact details are diametrically different.
Still, armchair generals know only victories. When one has no skin in the game, if an action they advocate happens and doesn't work they will simply argue that it wasn't carried out well.
Let's suggest that rather than easy, government is hard. Decisions are difficult. Problems are complex. Often there is not an easy answer. But again, sitting at home it is easy to not just make decisions but pass judgment on others who do.
Often when we think the government is most broken, it is working as the Founding Fathers intended. But then when we insist it is broken, claim it doesn't represent us, that given the poor choices it is more important to vote our conscience than care about the future government of this country, then it becomes broken, because we break it.
Unfortunately the claim that there is no real difference between the parties is going to be seriously addressed. Having overly obsessed on the Democratic Party's imperfections and failures, tired of waiting for them to offer a more perfect vision, folks helped hand the country to Trump. I'm pretty sure that quite dramatically he will be schooling us in the difference between the two parties.
Whereas I'm sure there would be actions and moves by a Clinton administration that I wouldn't like, in general, I suspect that such a presidency, especially carrying forth the current president's agenda, would have been radically different than Trump's.
NOW we are likely to see the championing of reactionary politics, the deliberate destruction of the social safety net, the privileging of big money and big business over most Americans, the turning of citizen against citizen, and the acceptance of a gospel of exclusion and discrimination. The dark shadow nightmare of the progressive agenda. A half-century of progress is likely to be wiped out. Parts of the population will be heavily discriminated against. But at least we know there are a lot of proudly progressive, even radical citizens who refused to legitimize the corrupt Democratic Party. And are feeling very good about their vote.