I’m weary. Really weary. Weary of so many things. And one of the things of which I am weary is the implication, spread widely with more than a hint of belligerence, that as a male who considers himself a leftist, to chose not to vote for Hillary Clinton for President of The United States this year is a conscious act of sexism. That there can be no other reason to make that choice.
I see those posts on Facebook. I see those tweets on Twitter, and links everywhere to blogs using lots of big words and calling forth a litany of inherent historical sexism in society, of which I am now choosing to be part of – to participate in, to swath myself in that cloak, to fall on the always wrong side of “if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem”. Because of who I won’t vote for.
It’s lazy. It’s plain, unadulterated, small picture, blinded by the light lazy. And it is weak, and, for sure, it’s stupid.
To think that someone with a willingness to acknowledge and despise sexism in our society — personal, familial, institutional, educational, in levels of society way beyond what I, as a white male, will ever be able to understand — and at the same time to make a constitutionally guaranteed decision to not vote for a party’s choice who happens to be a woman, that those two thoughts are somehow contradictory, and therefore an act of conscious sexism, is not only wrong and lazy and stupid, it’s also arrogant. Because in the end it denies my right to make a decision on who I think the ethical, moral, spiritual leader of our Country should be, based on the facts that I take the time to learn and understand the best I can, and make my decision based on that, and my inherent sense of what is right – and who is wrong.
This isn’t about bashing Hillary Clinton, who in my mind doesn’t merit the label of ethical, moral, spiritual leader, and who I believe is entirely bashable, as will soon be made evident over the next three months. It’s about being called a sexist because I choose not to support her. So, let me offer these two thoughts.
In Presidential elections in the 80’s and 90’s I wrote in Joan Baez -twice – and Chrissie Hynde once. If Elizabeth Warren was this year’s nominee I’d be more than happy to vote for her. Ditto Barbara Boxer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, and Patty Murray. I’d be thrilled to vote for Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine. And I’d stand on the corner every weekend between now and November holding up a sign if US Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was the nominee. Never mind about 10,000 nurses (see Aug 21/2014 blog post, “Please Give the Keys to Florence”) and small business owners and women’s shelter Directors and US forest rangers and so many others from all over the Country who would do a magnificent job steering our ship, ethically and with moral vision, and all of whom who check off the questionnaire gender box “female”. I’m not not voting for this nominee because she’s female. I’m not voting for her because she’s she.
To my second thought. What if the Gods up there in Olympus, or whoever throws the dice and calls the show, what if they decided that Joe Biden’s son wouldn’t die, so Joe ran and he became the Democratic nominee, which could have happened. And with those last pair of die rolling over to snake eyes, and a few giggles in the background, what if it was Sarah Palin who was the standard bearer this year for the white-tinted, angst-ridden, dystopian-hugging Republicans. And so at the end of this very week the election for United States President was between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Would everyone of those posts and tweets and blogs and frustrated, agitated coffee shop confrontations, would every one of them state, for the record, that to not vote for Sarah was an act of sexism?
As it is, frankly, I’m weary hearing myself think about all this crap and write about it, knowing full well how important this election is for children and seniors and people of all colors and gay and lesbian and transgender Americans and soldiers, men and women, and the disabled, and artists, for that matter everyone over the whole granite planet who’d prefer not to be incinerated in an ever more likely nuclear roll of the dice, still, having said that, I’d rather be thinking and writing about art and science fiction and community building and team development and the Red Sox.
I could care less what someone calls me. Why do we collectively like and sing along with songs like “I Did It My Way” and “I’ve Got To Be Me” and “Climb Every Mountain” and songs that celebrate each one of us, we like and believe in them until someone isn’t happy with me doing it my way. With me having to be me. Then there’s something wrong. Something wrong with me.
I was getting my picture taken by the FBI picketing for Angela Davis in front of the Federal Building in Boston’s Government Center in 1971 when many, not all, but many of the women posting and tweeting and blogging about my sexism weren’t even a blink in the cosmic dust. That doesn’t make me better than anyone and it’s not a get out of jail for free card. But it’s one of the ways I can look in the mirror if I’m lucky enough to still be walking around the planet in November, and be okay.