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Why I'm undecided about Hillary and Bernie

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JUNE 08, 2016

Being undecided in an election sucks. I have naught but days to figure out for whom I shall cast my singular vote — the symbol of my freedom to participate in and shape our government. It’s heady stuff, y’all. And as I repeatedly agonize over this momentous decision, I realize how conflicted I really am.

Hillary is a woman and has shown time and again that she supports putting female reproductive issues in the hands of actual women (this appears to be the only arena in which old white dudes are comfortable talking about lady bits). Hillary is experienced, eloquent and intelligent. She’s held an executive position before and has extensive foreign policy experience, something that Bernie, in my opinion, lacks.

But she seems more out of touch with the youth of America. I don’t think Hillary quite grasps what’s truly important to people under 25 in America. We do care about foreign policy and the economy, but we care more acutely every day about having good, affordable health care, getting through college debt free, affordable housing, correcting institutional racism, LGBTQIA rights, intersectional feminism — in two words: fairness, equality.

Hillary, for me, lacks the understanding of intersectionality that we as a society have come to require from those who aspire to lead us. She’s a white female who learned her brand of feminism from the era of Women’s Liberation, which advanced women’s rights greatly, but systematically alienated and excluded women of color and LGBTQIA women.

One of the things, though, that I really love about Hillary is her ability to adapt. She was raised in an upper middle class, white, privileged household in the 1950s. She was a Republican for the first 20-odd years of her life. She wasn’t just a regular Republican either, she was the president of the Young Republicans Club at Wellesley as a freaking freshman. But, she renounced her Republicanism because she didn’t agree with the Republican position on the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

When she educated herself about the injustice of racism in America, she changed her position because of new information. Many people have dubbed this as “flip-flopping” on issues. But I really believe that when Hillary gains new information on a topic, she gives it real attention and thought and shifts her opinion accordingly. The ability to admit to wrongness and evolve is honorable and important.

Still, she hasn’t quite caught up with us yet.

Bernie, on the other hand, does much more to acknowledge intersectionality. He eats bigotry for breakfast. He yells at it with the appropriate amount of rage in his absurd Brooklyn accent, gesticulating wildly, with a lone songbird perched on his podium.

According to www.isidewith.com, I agree with Bernie on 98 percent of issues. So, why am I undecided? Bernie seems like the obvious choice — we agree on a statistically remarkable percentage of issues, he possesses what Hillary lacks and the state of his hair always causes me to giggle. Why the hesitation?

There are three reasons:

Firstly, and I’m painfully aware of how terrible this sounds, I hate the overly zealous Bernie Sanders supporters. I understand that this is a gross generalization of a truly massive number of people, many of whom I’m sure are perfectly lovely people. But there are particular friends and acquaintances with whom I’m not comfortable sharing my indecision or support for Hillary (I have support for both candidates) because they’re so vehement in their loyalty to Bernie Sanders that they are likely to become rabid, foaming at mouth, at the mere mention of the “H” word.

They’re the kind of people who ask you who you’re voting for, which is a hugely personal and necessarily private piece of information, and then base their opinion of you on that singular piece of information. If they don’t like your answer, they don’t like you. They’re obnoxious and contradictory and bothersome — it makes me like Bernie less that some of these people support him.

Secondly, in my opinion, the chances of any of Bernie’s policy positions actually being inscribed into the legislation of this country is quite low. If Congress remains conservative, hardly any of the reforms he speaks of will get the votes they need to become law. What good are his ideas if he can’t follow through?

Thirdly, his stance on gun control, which his campaign characterizes as “middle-ground” and largely a state rather than a federal issue, is pretty unforgivable for me. Gun control is an issue that has come to define life in America. I have a contingency plan in my head for if my movie theater or classroom gets shot up. I know two separate people who’ve been shot outside of two different Church’s Chicken restaurants in St. Louis. This issue is very close to my heart, not only because I grew up in what is consistently one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, but also because campus gun violence reached a heart wrenching crescendo for California students this past Wednesday. Human-murdering machines should not be readily available to anyone.

It’s strange to walk around, while being constantly battered with conflicting signs, buttons, shirts and other varieties of paraphernalia, and still have no clue who I’m voting for. Some days, Hillary’s my gal — she’s flexible, more likely to get bipartisan support, highly experienced and rocks the fuck out of a pantsuit. But, some days I imagine America sailing into the future with Bernie at the helm.

I’m sure the internal debate will continue until the moment I put pencil to paper in that voting booth.

Sasha Ashall is the Clog editor. Contact her at [email protected]

JUNE 08, 2016

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