I don’t like being told what to do. Ask my Boo. It makes me want to do the opposite of what you’re telling me to do just to spite you. Childish? Maybe. But I’m just trying to keep it 100.
This dislike of being told what to do extends to all aspects of my life. I’ve always been this stubborn, ask my mom. I’m like 100% sure I get it from her. But this dislike even extends to the political sphere and right now, the people living in this sphere keep trying to tell me what do: they keep telling me that I have to vote for Hillary Clinton for president.
But I don’t want to.
Why I’m Not With Her
I know what’s going on in the politics right now is scary. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and what he stands for is bigotry. It scares me to think of the possibility of someone like him running this country. But that fear still doesn’t govern my thought process in who to vote for because, honestly, Hillary scares me too. She isn’t innocent and has blood on her hands. She too has said some harmful and problematic things about communities that I care about. She’s flip-flopped on important issues from immigration to LGBTQ issues.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people evolving, their beliefs changing with the times and as they learn more about other communities. I’ve evolved into a more progressive womyn myself, learning about the struggles of people who have lived different lives and I’m a better person for it but once I learn, I take it in, deep into my bones and it lives inside me forever. I don’t go back and forth, changing my mind because of what the political landscape looks like, whether we’re for or against immigrants, whether we’re for or against black folks, whether for or against poor people. I keep moving forward, hoping not to make a mistake and being genuine in my apologies when I do.
But she hasn’t done that. 2 years ago when unaccompanied youth were fleeing violence that the US helped foster in Central America was one of those moments I wish we could go back to and get an apology from her.
The stories that I read and heard from these youth, not just the violence they saw in their home countries, but also the violence they faced on their journey here to the US were horrific. I couldn’t imagine the desperation of their families to make that decision. And what the presidential nominee said was SEND THEM BACK. She said to send them back in order to send a message to the families that if they send their kids, they won’t be able to stay. Firstly, it’s actually illegal to just send them back. They have due process if they are from Central America and have the right to apply for asylum. Secondly, nothing to do with laws, is the lack of humanity as she said those words, knowing that her decisions and the foreign policy of this country have driven the violence and poverty in Central America, specifically the Northern Triangle, where these children are coming from.
But to send them back just to send a “message”, send them back to their potential deaths, is cruel. I don’t want a leader who just makes decisions without a sense of humanity. The destabilization of Central America, particularly Honduras where a majority of these young people are coming from, is due to the backing of a coup d’etat by the US, on the advice from Hillary when she was Secretary of State.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Latina Part of Me
I’m not down with White Feminism. And before everyone gets in a tiffy about race-baiting or whatever so-called liberals and conservatives want to call it, White Feminism refers to the lack of intersectionality of certain feminists; the lack of race critiques to the oppressive structure. Race matters when talking about gender equity.
All that to say, Hillary is a white feminist. Her lack of a racial justice perspective in her feminism is alarming to me as a brown womyn, whose loved ones are also brown people. Her lack of intersectionality in thinking that reproductive rights and justice doesn’t include the mothers of the black men and womyn being killed at the hands of the police. It doesn’t include the mothers of the brown children being sent to the US from Central America and Mexico. When she so casually said to send them back on national TV, she was not thinking of the brown mothers. When she called black folks “super predators” she was not thinking of black womyn, black mothers. When she thinks about feminism, she thinks about white womyn, white mothers, middle class white womyn. And that scares me. My community will be forced out or forgotten no matter who wins the election.
The Vegan Part of Me
I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed, or at least brought up, my distaste for capitalism. It exploits poor, working class folks, particularly people of color and especially undocumented folks. It uses their desperation to survive to its advantage. It over works them and under pays them. It sees them as dollar signs. It does the same to non-human animals as it does to human animals. It commodifies them so that it can make money.
Hillary is a part of capitalism.
She got her campaign money from millionaire capitalists that exploit the poor to get richer. She’s friends with these same capitalists that have put profit over people. And when she wins, she will owe these capitalists favors as a return in their investment to her election. Business people don’t invest in something that they don’t think will benefit them in the long run. Having a friend in the president is a worthwhile investment.
The exploitation of non-human animals is huge business. And if any campaign money came from big Ag, you better believe that our animal friends will not be thought about in the slightest when new protections need to be put in place to make more money. And neither will our beautiful planet. The only green that these folks want to see are dollar bills.
But She’s Making History!
I don’t care. Honestly, I really don’t. Because if you think about it globally, we are far behind on this front. There have been plenty of female leaders of other nations. Even my little Nicaragua had a female president in like the 90s! I’m pretty sure her politics weren’t that great but that’s neither here nor there. The point is we’re behind!
Plus, since she’s a white feminist, and as I am a brown womyn, I will not benefit from her success. Her lack of intersectionality again erases my very existence and my struggle as a latina women. And just like having a black president didn’t suddenly bring black folks out from under the thumb of oppression, neither will having a female president bring women out of the thumb of oppression, especially POC womyn.
To Vote For Her or Not To Vote for Her, That is the Question.
I still don’t want to. It took me about 2 weeks to finish writing this and I’m still not convinced nor do I think I will ever really be convinced. I don’t like to do things that go against my beliefs and particularly my conscience. It makes me feel uneasy and guilty about my decision. That feeling is what made me go vegan in the first place.
I keep seeing people saying that we have to support her so that Trump doesn’t become president, that she’s better than Trump. What I’m not hearing, which I think is telling, is that we should vote for her because she would be a good leader. That she would be good for the country. Maybe if someone laid it out that way, laid out what kind of president she would be beyond just that she is better than Trump, maybe it would make a difference to those of us who are disenchanted with this two-party system. Those of us who are tired of voting for the lesser of 2 evils.
But even with all that, I may vote for her but I will do it with my head hung low, and with shame in my heart. I will not do it joyfully but under the pretense that without my vote, Trump will win and my community will be at risk. I will vote for her without joy because I’m being forced to vote for her; because I didn’t have a choice. My choice for president wasn’t given a fair shake and now those of us at the bottom will suffer for it. And those around the globe will also suffer.
I know that at the end of the day, the power lies with the people. We just have to show others that too so that the next election, we have an actual choice, not just someone who is slightly better than the other. That the Bernies and Jill Steins of this country actually have a fighting chance of becoming the leaders that this country needs; that they don’t have the political party system against them, rigging the game, giving an unfair advantage to the leader that they want in power because then, our votes don’t matter. Our voices will not be heard.
So who knows who I’ll vote for. I’m still not sure. All I know is no matter who wins, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m not moving to Mexico or Nicaragua. I’m staying right here because the work isn’t done, not even close. No matter who wins, the work continues.