Like many people on Wednesday night, I took to my couch to watch the Democratic town hall debate on CNN. While I already know for whom I’m going to vote, I find it’s extremely important to stay abreast of everything and anything regarding politics. Even as much as it pains me, I sit through the Republican debates because one must always know thy enemy, as they say.
As a Democrat, I watched the town hall event from a place of serious concern as to who will be the next president of the United States. While I’d rather see a Democrat in there, as opposed to a Republican, the Democrat I want to see and for whom I’ll be voting in the primary is Bernie Sanders. And no one can convince me otherwise.
But the problem with being a woman and outspoken feminist is that it’s apparently “wrong” of me to not vote for Hillary Clinton. Even when I took to Twitter last night to tweet through the town hall event, I found Hillary Clinton fans coming at me, accusing me of spewing “venom” and “hate” in regards to Hillary, which is something I didn’t do.
In tweeting that I won’t be voting for Hillary, that I don’t trust Hillary, and that Hillary isn’t the progressive that she tried to claim she was all night, I’m not spewing venom or hate at all. I’m not attacking her character; I’m just stating that she’s not the right candidate for me. I was then, for reasons I can’t figure out, compared to Ted Cruz by one person on Twitter, because of this so-called “venom.”
Needless to say, some blocking followed but not before the troll got one more tweet into me: they called me a traitor to my gender and an anti-feminist. I groaned, rolled my eyes, then rolled them even harder when I turned my attention back to the TV and Hillary was again trying to convince NH voters, as well as voters all over the country, that she’s a progressive.
Listen, I like Hillary Clinton. I like her stance on social issues, I respect how far she’s come, I enjoy that she has a level of badass to her, and how she is, through and through, a champion for women. To me, these are fantastic qualities in a president, but it’s not enough.
For me, I want something more. I want real change. I want someone who’s going to get into the White House and shake things the f*ck up, and do so without a single apology. In my mind, that person is Bernie Sanders.
I also feel that, of all the candidates I’ve known since I first started voting at 18, Sanders offers an honesty that’s rare in the world of politics. Hillary may be great in many ways, but I find her to be untrustworthy and have believed for a very long time that every move she makes is a calculated step toward getting into the White House as the first female president.
Don’t get me wrong: that would be huge and an amazing step forward in gender equality to have her in that seat but I sometimes wonder what’s more important to her: The country and its inhabitants or being the leader of this country.
But these are my opinions; they’re not based in any scientific proof, and one of the best things about living in the United States is that I’m very much entitled to my opinion, just like you’re entitled to yours. It’s how democracy works.
When people tell me that in not supporting Hillary Clinton’s run for president I’m somehow turning my back on my gender or am anti-feminist in any way, they’re wrong. What would be even more wrong is if I voted for Hillary because of her gender, while throwing out all my other reasons why she’s not the right candidate for me.
If one goes into an election year voting for someone based on their gender, the color of their skin, how they wear their hair, or the fact that they both like the same brand of ice cream, then these aren’t responsible voters. You vote based on what the candidate stands for and whether or not you feel that candidate is going to be the best one for the job.
I’d also be denying my feminist roots, almost making of a mockery of them, by voting for Hillary just because she’s a woman.
We’re very fortunate that we live in a country where we’re allowed to vote and vote for the candidate that we feel is best suited for the presidency. Having the right to vote isn’t something that anyone should take lightly; it’s something that should be researched, while examining how all the candidates feel on the issues before you go to the polls.
You don’t show up on election day and vote capriciously. That’s not what our forefathers expected from us, nor is it what women fought for when trying to get us the right to vote.
As I said, I want a Democrat in the White House. If that Democrat is Hillary, then fine. But in the meantime, while I have two options, I’m going with Bernie Sanders. That’s my choice and I’m sticking to it.
If you think that makes me anti-feminist or a traitor to my gender, then you might want to re-evaluate why and how you vote before you start criticizing me.