observations and opinion
A Letter to the Never Hillary People
The original piece below was written in the summer and told third party voters they were being selfish, self-indulgent and unpatriotic by not voting against Trump. Not every Libertarian voter would have voted against Trump, I suppose, but look what happened in four states adding up to the crucial 75 electoral votes:
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE, ASKING THIRD PARTY VOTERS (IN VAIN) TO RECONSIDER…
The progressives, liberals, Democrats, conservatives and Republicans offering reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton, are putting their preferences and personal interest ahead of their patriotic duty. People have sacrificed everything to protect the right to vote. Yet these “Never Hillary” people sacrifice nothing — not even a single ballot — for the good of their country.
Those of us who have not served in the armed forces have trouble comprehending the experience. It is exhausting, overwhelming, all-embracing. Your life, your day is not your own: it belongs to your comrades, to your commanding officer, to your country. And you belong to them.
The U.S. Armed Forces has been a volunteer enterprise for generations: everyone in it, asked to be. They have marched, sailed and flown into harm’s way. In wars that seemed just (Afghanistan) or entirely wrong (Iraq), Americans have done their duty with amazing energy, resolve and grim commitment.
Along the way, thousands have lost their hands, faces, skin, arms, legs or lives. Their spouses have quit on them. Their children have forgotten them. For many veterans, dreams have dissipated into pain, rehab and opioid addiction. The vets and their families have sacrificed almost everything.
What about you? What have you sacrificed?
Recently, Khzir Khan said to Donald Trump the words: “You have sacrificed nothing” and the moment you heard the words you knew: this is a noose for Trump. This is a bumper sticker for the Dems. This is the slogan of the 2016 Election, the “Yes We Can”. It is a stunning moral indictment, painfully accurate, and one that Trump added to by his predictably dumb over-reaction to it.
It’s easy to say “you have sacrificed nothing” to Donald Trump. It is the most obvious thing about him, as glaring as his blonde hair or his orange face. He’s a sinkhole – all he does is consume. But what about other Americans? What are they prepared to surrender for their country?
The question leaped to mind the night after Khan’s speech, when Hillary Clinton addressed the Democratic convention to accept the nomination. In the arena that night, and across the United States today, were many people – progressives, liberals, Democrats – who jeered her. People who said “Bernie or Bust” or more pointedly, “Never Hillary.”
You have to wonder: how different are the “Never Hillary” people from Donald Trump? The leftist Never Hillary people have decided that Clinton is insufficiently progressive, too chummy with Wall Street, too rich, insincere about protecting people from the hazards of free trade, and so on. She is too far inside the Beltway, too moderate, too something.
These Never Hillary people have decided that their preferred policies, their hopes and dreams, are more important than the actual real-world impact of their vote. The craziest of them thinks it makes no difference if Clinton or Trump wins (“they’re all the same”) while the more adolescent-minded believe that it will all be taken care of by somebody else – banking that enough people will vote for Clinton, so that they, the Never Hillary crowd, can indulge their fantasies and grudges.
The other Never Hillary people live across the way, in the Republican Party. It is likely that the vast majority of traditional Republican voters see in Trump a wild, unreliable demagogue (hell, he is now pledging BIGGER deficits to fund infrastructure!) Many of these people are acting like teenagers too, hoping they can stay home pouting while enough adults show up on Election Day to elect Clinton. Republicans have brand loyalty and love to point out Hillary’s alleged character flaws, as justification for failing to step up and stop Trump. These Never Hillary people are identical to the leftist ones, they just have different excuses for doing the wrong thing.
When I say “the wrong thing” I mean remaining passive, taking the easy road and choosing not to campaign, donate or even vote, for the only candidate who can stop Trump.
In both cases, left and right, the Never Hillary people have more concern with their reputations among peers, than with acknowledging honestly what it would mean for Trump to be elected.
In both cases, they put their policy preferences and ideological purity, ahead of possible real-world outcomes.
In both cases, they pour energy into reasons not to vote for Hillary – most of which are, let’s face it, pretty feeble – rather than think about the horrific possibility that she could lose.
In both cases, they promise to sacrifice nothing. They are just like Trump.
If you are a conservative or Republican who knows Trump is dangerous, but you keep coming up with reasons not to voice support for Clinton, this is what you are: a selfish coward. Like Paul Ryan and his friends, you have put self-interest squarely in front of patriotic duty.
And if you are a Democrat or progressive pouting about Sanders’ loss and refusing to step up and give Clinton your work and your vote, you know what you are? You are a selfish coward.
That is just the truth. The plain, hard truth. You can cough up all the reasons in the world for not admiring Clinton, you can cobble together all the excuses on Earth to justify your choice, but you know in your heart and mind, that your choice is about YOU – your preferences, your reputation, your self-interest. Your choice is not in the best interests of your country. You are sacrificing nothing. Just like Donald.
Those are harsh words, but they are fundamentally true. Are you prepared to sacrifice your preference, for your country? Senator Sanders did. More and more Republicans are creeping out of the closet to say “Never Trump.” Will you be as worthy and generous to your country as they have been?
Come November, you may have to make an unhappy choice to vote for a candidate you don’t admire. If you walk in on both feet, exercising the ballot bought and paid for by the blood and bone of people who really know what patriotic sacrifice is – maybe instead of indulging yourself, you might feel some gratitude. And then, maybe you will give something back by voting for the candidate you don’t like, who can stop the candidate you ought to fear.
Let’s hope you find that much patriotism on Election Day.