July 31, 2016

An Open Letter to My Fellow Progressives

 As I type this letter, I find myself disturbed by the ugliness of this election cycle. Not liberals vs conservatives -I'm incredibly used to that- but, left vs left.

Allow me to elaborate.

I joined Twitter in March of 2009, after President Obama was elected. Were the primaries ugly? Probably but, I didn't see it. What I saw was that the Democrats had come together, unified, to achieve an historic accomplishment: the election of the first black president. Everyone was excited. I made a lot of friends.

In 2012, we were all in on re-electing President Obama and fighting back against the obvious racism and obstruction of the Right. Again, there was unity, and I made even more friends. It was a whole lot of kumbaya.

And then, came 2016. The primaries gave Progressives a choice of two candidates; both of whom should be respected. Both of whom had spent decades devoted to public service. Both of whom would make for another historic achievement. Both of whom agreed on 90% of the issues. 

One candidate won the Democratic nomination and the other one lost. In my state primary, I voted for the one that lost. Was I disappointed? Sure. But, I did not fret because I knew the other candidate was highly qualified. Was she perfect? No. She is human. But, the candidate I supported in the primary asked me to, now, throw my support behind the winner, as he was doing, and I did so with enthusiasm and without reservation. I assumed -naively, perhaps- that my fellow Lefties would do the same. We'd be on our way to victory, yet again; this time to elect our first female president!

Then, reality set in.

The acrimony and the viciousness, the unwillingness of many of the people whose candidate had lost to accept the outcome of the primaries, the spreading of lies and distortions about a candidate that we should all respect. The freaking childishness of some people that I have followed for years. The insistence in making the outcome of one of the most important elections of our collective lifetimes about the instant gratification of individual desires instead of the needs and future of everyone in our entire country, including our children, grandchildren and beyond.

Oh, the pouting. Oh, the wailing. Oh, the gnashing of teeth.

I have now been accused, by people I have followed for years, of having "impure morals," of being a "sell-out" and a "fake Progressive" because I have chosen to back the winning candidate and not engage in a tantrum-induced exit of the Democratic party as a show of protest over my primary candidate's loss. Because I refuse to waste my vote on an unqualified, untested third party candidate that has zero chance of winning and will do nothing but, pull much needed votes away from the only candidate that actually has a chance of beating Donald Trump. Because I have chosen not to spend my time vilifying the "establishment" that brought us President Obama -one of the best presidents in history, in my opinion- and accuse the winning candidate of "rigging" the election and calling her hyperbolic names like "criminal," "evil,"  and worse.

Because I will not use my vote to punish America.

What's at stake is the potential election of Donald Trump, a dangerous, lying, fascist, narcissistic demagogue who mocks the disabled, emboldens racists, vilifies immigrants, attacks gold star families & POWs, degrades women, invites foreign powers who wish to do us harm to engage in cyber attacks against our country and interfere in our elections, who promises to roll-back marriage equality and a woman's right to choose and more.

I have been informed, more than once, that if Trump is elected because of the #Demexit, as they're calling it, it won't be their fault; it will be mine for backing the "flawed candidate;" it will be the "establishment's fault" for not giving the candidate who got fewer primary votes the nomination. It will be America's fault for not being "pure" enough. Some have even suggested that if Trump gets elected, all the better, because he'll be so terrible for the country that we will all come crawling back to them - the "pure" Progressives - to be the saviors of us all. Some have even said they will give their vote to him because "it's what America deserves."

You know what? Fuck you. That isn't being a Progressive; that's being an anarchist. 

But, it's your vote and your right. I get it.

If this was a normal election year, I might feel differently. If the GOP candidate was someone like Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney or John McCain, I might agree that voting third party would be a great way to show dissatisfaction with the system. But, it's not. It's Donald Trump, and his election as POTUS will cause severe damage to our country and possibly the world in ways that could be felt for generations to come.

So, sadly, I have begun a difficult purge of the people I follow on Twitter; some whom I have followed for years. Why? Because I cannot have the ugliness and negativity in my feed. I will not spend my time reading posts that accuse me and those of us who have chosen to put the country over our personal preferences by working for the change we want within the system that exists of not being Progressive enough, of being corrupt liars & sellouts. 

I choose to use my Twitter feed as a show of protest against your choice in the same way you have chosen to use your vote as a show of protest against mine. The only difference is that my protest won't potentially destroy our country.