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How Are We Even Having this Conversation?
And how many more times will I be asking myself this question over the next days?
Tomorrow’s presidential election presents a host of conundrums. Voting for a third-party candidate that represents one’s moral principles, like Green Party candidate Jill Stein, is an attractive option… and one that those of us in deep-red states like Mississippi have the advantage of taking. However, especially in the swing states, there are reasons to consider voting for a candidate who, however flawed she may be, does not have a history of sexual assault… who has paid taxes within the past decade… who has not based her entire campaign on racist and xenophobic rhetoric, demonizing entire races, religions and ethnicities… who does not threaten to “rough up” those who peacefully protest her policies… who has not threatened to deny the right of women to control their own bodies… who at least makes a pretense, however specious, of encouraging unity rather than fostering hate.
Voting for a misogynistic, racist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, violent, regressive-minded “billionaire” should not even be on the table.
Yet, these conversations are taking place.
In public policy class last week, my fellow students debated the logistics of breaking apart families with the soon-to-be-created “deportation force” (suggesting sticking “anchor babies” in foster care or orphanages while deporting their criminal parents). Discussions with Trump supporters are no less mindblowing: allegations that Clinton favors “open borders” and is thrilled by late-term abortions (which, by the way, have been outlawed except in the case of the mothers’ life sine Roe v. Wade) abound.
Don’t get me wrong: Hillary does have many deeply troubling positions on a number of issues, from Palestine to the minimum wage to free health care to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But the solution is not to vote for Trump (or his TPP-touting, funerals-for-fetuses running mate, Mike Pence).
The Republican Party, in the words of its nominee, is “not sending their best” to run for president. “They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs.” (Viz. Trump’s defense of noted trafficker Joseph Weichselbaum.) “They’re bringing crime.” (Viz. the only candidate with two court dates — for fraud and child rape — set for after the election.) “They’re rapists.”
But let us forbear from putting everyone in the basket of deplorables just yet: “And some” of Trump’s supporters, “I assume, are good people.”