Let me begin by saying two things–1. my beliefs, like most of us (I hope?) are always to some degree in flux based upon continuous critical thinking. 2. As such, I am and have been wary of contributing much about my position in this primary election cycle, and especially I’ve noticed they when I have posted my opinion in a given moment, folks have tended to respond vehemently to smaller, not super relevant points they find provoking, while ignoring completely the larger main points, which are more complex and I think difficult to respond to.
I get that it is difficult to discuss things that are complex.
I do believe we are better than we do.
Can we please do better?
Here’s my deal–I agree passionately with most of Sanders’ ideals about American society and many about our domestic economy. In fact, my core beliefs run much much farther to the left than what I can glean from his statements. And if the enactment of most of those ideals coincided with the locus of control of the office of the Presidency, I might be fully onboard. I have noticed that most (NOT ALL, but yes, most) of the people in my world who are ardent Sanders supporters seem to have little accurate information about both the function and form of the office of the Presidency, as well as that of the other branches of government and how these offices support (and limit) one another.
(Side note–We also seem to have lost touch with what the word revolution historically means in the modern world, and what the results look like (Clue: it’s not socialism, and it’s also not this election. If what we were talking about was actually revolution, I’d be the first person on board. Well, I’d try to be. Anyhow, “Democratic socialism” and “revolution” are actually completely opposing terms). (I like to show off my own academic expertise by quoting wikipedia –haha–still though, check out paragraph three!)
MY understanding of the nuances of our structures of government, too, is limited, but I don’t believe I lack awareness of said limitations. (I could be wrong. I’m often wrong. We are all often wrong.) I mostly hear fallacies of logic floating around on this topic.
My favorite is the idea that somehow if we put someone in that office whose ideals are that that office were different, that will somehow make the office different. By the way, our entire system of checks and balances are built to make that impossible, and for good reasons.
Given my understanding of how the branches of government work, the legacy of the body of work our current President (President Barack Obama, remember him?) has created, which is only currently clicking into place, and the realities of the complexity of said form and function, I believe strongly that:
The good that could come implicitly to the status and nature of the society of our nation will benefit exponentially more within the next four years by having an qualified female face than it will by having Sanders in that role.
I know it is popular to pretend that gender is not an appropriate component to my evaluation of who is best for the job, but… it is. Gender is relevant. IT IS NOT MY ONLY REASON–not by FAR, and we can talk about Clinton’s skills and limitations at length, I love that stuff, especially how they apply to a theoretically representative democracy– I do also feel she is uniquely professionally qualified. I’m not insane. I’m not an idiot.
I also am not colorblind, which is a profound position of privilege.
Nor am I genderblind,
which is ALSO a position of privilege.
Its very existence, that of genderblindness, is also a lie.
I see gender.
I see male.
I see female.
I see fluid.
I see genderqueer.
I see transgender.
I see intersex.
I see questioning.
but mostly what I see… is male.
I also see very clearly that right now, in 2016, we are in the midst of a civil rights movement about issues that have been invisible to much of the populace for decades. #blacklivesmatter is a movement that spawned NOT out of some new set of problems–ask anyone living in a community of color: Violent offenses in the so-called free world against people of color by empowered offices (such as, but by no means limited to, police forces) are neither new nor unusual. This movement was in part made possible by a type of collective unconscious within our nation that made it safe for us–for white people– to watch.
SO what caused this change? Why now? Finally finally finally?
Living with the Obama Administration made things visible to some of us that had already been happening every day to others of us.
Putting a qualified black face in the office of the Presidency humanized black people in a deep way for white people who DID NOT KNOW that until that point, the American black citizen was inhuman to them. Most of us still do not know consciously that this was the case.
I am not certain the policing of the police and the spawning of the #blacklivesmatter movement would have happened–would be happening– if not for the incredible and dynamic cultural shift that happened as a result of our President being a black man.
Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Here’s an anecdote:
When President Obama was elected, I was teaching third and fourth grade in an afterschool program in Washington Heights, NYC. All of my students were people of color. A few days before the election, I posed the question of what the kids wanted to do when they grew up. I got a lot of the usual answers: policeman, teacher, store owner, janitor, and other working class jobs that my students had witnessed people doing in their neighborhood.
The day after the election, I posed the question again.
Half of them had decided they could be President.