Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yes, I'm Voting for Hillary. And No, I'm Not Sorry.

First let me say this: I love Bernie Sanders. I love his whole crotchety-grandpa-who's-gonna-yell-until-you-listen vibe. I love his politics--I am a democratic socialist at heart.

But I am still voting for Hillary. I think you should, too.

I have to admit--I was caught in the whole "feel the Bern" movement. Damn, it felt GOOD to have a guy who was saying "screw you" to Wall Street, the insurance companies, and the 1%. I've listened to him many times as he raked the rich over the coals, and deservedly so. Who wouldn't be drawn in by his fervor, dedication, and charm?

But a funny thing happened as I listened to all the debates (and yes, I saw every one). It became clear to me that Bernie was mostly repeating talking points. Yes, most politicians do this (I'm looking at you, Marco Rubio), but Bernie's talking points are almost all about domestic policy. If you don't believe me, take a look at his Twitter feed, @berniesanders. I spent the last ten minutes scrolling down his feed looking for a tweet on foreign policy, and I could not find one. Not ONE.

In short, if you were to ask me what Bernie Sanders' foreign policy is, I'd have to say I don't know. And I have seen every debate, I follow him on Twitter, and I am a news junkie. Even if you go to this website and look at where he stands on the issues, there is almost nothing about his foreign policy. There are 22 talking points, and 20 of them relate to domestic policy.

Bernie and Hillary agree on most domestic issues. Where they differ is a matter of degree, usually. For example, Hillary wants to expand the ACA, while Bernie wants single payer. For the record, I also want single payer, but it is not going to happen. Obama could not make it happen, and he had both houses of congress on his side. And let's not forget that Hillary fought for universal health care way back in 1993, so it's not as if she's new to the game. She spearheaded the CHIP program that insures millions of kids to this day.

She's fearless on foreign policy, and frankly, no one knows more about the issues than she does. That's not a knock on Bernie or anyone else. It's just that Hillary's voluminous knowledge and experience give her a wide edge over any other candidate in the race.

To this day, I recall her speech in Beijing called "Women's Rights are Human Rights". I used to teach it along with speeches by MLK and JFK as shining examples of American rhetoric. It took tremendous courage for her to make that speech in the People's Republic of China, and before delegates from over 180 countries, most of which practice systematic repression of women. That speech alone told me all I need to know about her commitment to human rights and her willingness to confront those who would take away those rights. She is fearless.

And while no one really likes to talk about it, there is the issue of electability. If Bernie is nominated, there's little doubt that he will be painted as a free spending socialist who will run the deficit beyond anyone's worst nightmare. In my view, that will be enough to turn those purple states red. Furthermore, a Sanders nomination will almost certainly lead to a third party candidacy by Michael Bloomberg, and frankly, I'd vote for Trump before I'd vote for Mikey. Or Satan. Finally, if Sanders can't be elected, it will obviously change the make-up of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

Before someone accuses me of voting from fear, let me say that I would have voted for Hillary anyway. In my view, she is the stronger candidate and the one who actually has a real chance of getting her ideas to come to fruition. That being said, if Bernie is nominated, I will back him wholeheartedly.

I know my education blogger buddies mostly disagree with me. They see Hillary as a hindrance to education, but I see her as a strong supporter of unions and an ally of public education. For those who claim she wants to close half of all schools, that remark was taken entirely out of context. Clinton further went on to make it clear that she would not meddle in closing schools at all, as this is a state and local issue, not a federal one.

So yes, I'm with Her. And no, I'm not sorry. She is the smartest, most experienced, and most accomplished of all the candidates.

Plus, she has Bill. Damn it, I LOVE Bill!