“Voting is a chess move, not a Valentine.”
So there’s still a lot of postmortems popping up concerning the US Election and one theme that is quite common among all of them is this notion that Clinton was unlikable. Setting aside the hazy malaise that expelled such conspiracy theories as “Clinton is a lesbian” or “Clinton kills kittens” (quoi?), we still see a few criticisms consistently popping up: Her corporate affiliations and Wall Street backers (“The Establishment”), her foreign policy, the emails she “lost” (which were but a fraction in volume compared to, say, Bush Jr.), and Benghazi.
Thing is, I have never once in my life seen a politician that I would want to have as a friend. I’ve definitely never seen a politician I would want as a parent (looking at you, Milo Yiannopoulos). To illustrate why, I present Trump’s shortlist for Cabinet: Corporatists, Wall Street bankers, his own kids*, Evangelicals, and war hawks.
You know, The Motherfucking Establishment.
If the claim that Clinton was unlikable was the reason you didn’t vote for her, I’ve got bad news for you: Everything you hated about her** is going to be worse at least ten-fold under Trump.
It’s not a politician’s job to be your fucking drinking buddy. It’s not a politician’s job to be a weird-creepy-Freudian-surrogate-parent. It’s not a politican’s job to avoid smiling too much or not enough or wave with just the right amount of enthusiasm. All these analyses of Clinton’s likability are so god damn shallow. I don’t care! She could show up to a rally and smear cat shit on her face, I would still vote for her if she said she’d implement single-payer healthcare!
It’s a politician’s job to make policy, and since we (ostensibly) hire them, it’s our job to make sure that policy is both fair and effective.
Hence, Solnit’s quote: “Voting is a chess move, not a Valentine.”
I don’t care how likable someone is or is not. And I wish more of us thought that way. Maybe if we did, policy would’ve made more than 32 god damn minutes of news in an 18-month long election cycle. If two amorphous blobs ran for that election, I still would be sobbing uncontrollably at Republo-blob’s victory because their policy planks were fucking rat poison.
Here’s what I would like to see instead.
We ask ourselves:
- What is their policy in any given area of government?
- What is the goal of this policy? If I dis/agree with this goal, why?
- Will this policy be effective in implementing its goal? If it’s ineffective, what are the consequences?
- Of my disagreements, which platform(s) are most likely to be receptive to changing in my direction i.e. can we lobby to have this interest represented in this party?
Guess what, you’re a Marxist or a Socialist? So am I. Within achieving realistic goals outside of violent revolution, I vote in every election not for the candidate I actually want (because that candidate doesn’t exist and never will), I vote for the candidate who is most likely going to inch public policy closer to something I consider an improvement.
Not perfect. No such policy exists. Just better.
Drop this naive idealism that Sanders could’ve fixed everything and play the pieces you actually have. You’re playing a game of chess which means you need to make many moves. Nobody wins a chess game closing their eyes and hoping for different pieces. They win by playing what’s on the board.
Republicans already get this. They’ve been working overtime for the past 8 years to secure every arm in government, and now that they’ve succeeded they get to set the agenda. You may post your “we’ll survive” platitudes but frankly if you genuinely believe that you never had cause to be scared to begin with***.
I don’t know what it’ll take to light a fire under your ass but dear dog I hope I don’t have to start a frickin church to get there.
*Because the correct response to North Korea is “yeah, more of that.”
**Aside from Trump not being a woman, but I’ve noticed any analyses that attempt to incorporate this observation tend to get shouted down. Not like way too many of y’all just elected a self-confessed rapist or anything NOPENOMISOGYNYHERE
***The Family Research Council is on Trump’s shortlist for cabinet. I hope we appreciate what it means if these policies are enacted.