6 Reasons I Just Became “Bernie or Bust”

I’m Bernie or Bust now. It’s been a long, thoughtful journey to this point, but I have decided — based on a number of factors — that should Sanders not win the nomination of the Democratic Party I will either write his name in, or I will vote for Jill Stein. Should Hillary win, I’m not someone who thinks that’s the worst possible outcome. I just think it’s not the best possible outcome.

Being prepared for the onslaught of insults and pejoratives, I decided after writing an “opinion” piece on it, that I’d also do one of these lists to give more of my entire rationale for this decision, so that no one got the impression I made this call on one singular issue.

#6. I watched our government’s checks and balances stymie Obama. It would do the same to Trump.

I will not be emotionally blackmailed into team sport politics. We have three wholly distinct branches of government, and the checks and balances the legislative body holds over the executive can and do stymie presidential agendas. Anyone watching how the Republicans have blocked nearly everything Obama has tried for the last eight years shouldn’t feel rushed to vote for anyone, just because Trump could be our next president. Sure, that would be horrible on so many levels, but to act as if he’ll come into power and by executive fiat bring the entire nation down is fucking ludicrous to the point of not even being worthy of addressing. Much to the chagrin of liberal Americans, the GOP has proven over the last few years that indeed, our checks and balances work. They may not work when we want them to, but they sure as hell work.

#5. I don’t live in a swing state.

I’m utterly sick of hearing about how if you don’t vote for Hillary in the General, it’s voting for the Republicans. Bullshit. Why do people in this country act as if we aren’t a nation made up of smaller states? I live in California. If this state goes for the GOP by one vote, you are more than welcome to light the pitchforks, grab the torches, and come get me. But for this state to go red at all would take some kind of Democratic voter rapture where all the Dems in the state suddenly ascended to Heaven. That’s not going to happen. I could write in “my balls” on the ballot — and since I’m 35, a natural born citizen, and have lived here for 14 years, they are eligible — and it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference in my state.

#4. Politics is not a team sport for me. No one gets to tell me how I should vote.

I care about ideas. That’s why when Republicans crow about how it was Democrats that started the KKK, and Southern Democrats who were pushing for Jim Crow laws I can laugh in their stupid, ignorant faces. The ideas that Bernie represents more closely align with mine, and as I think on it more and more, I want to make a stand for my principles. You won’t win me over by saying I’m a traitor to the Democrats because I will hold no allegiance to any group I don’t believe is heading in a direction I want to go. In this country we’re all free to do that.

#3. I’m tired of the status quo

If Hillary wins, that means that one of two families will have controlled this nation’s executive branch for at least 28 years from 1988-2020. It’s not written in the Constitution you can’t do that. But political dynasties bug the shit out of me. The great thing about this country is that it was founded on the idea that we like change. We created a new system of government because we love change and wanted to break away from the British Empire’s way of going about its business. So fuck me, I guess, for thinking that trading control of the nation between two powerful families isn’t in the nation’s best interest.

#2. Hillary’s horrid defense of Israel’s 2014 airstrikes on Palestinians 

This was, as I wrote about in another piece, really the straw that broke the camel’s back for me on Hillary. I can’t put my support behind someone who won’t — on some level — condemn the over zealous way in which Benji Netanyahu retaliated against Hamas in 2014. 2,100 or more civilians were killed in his airstrikes. The 9/11 attack killed just 800 more. We started two wars because of those civilian casualties. I’m not saying we need to go to war with our ally. I’m saying we need to curb our Middle Eastern attack dog. Whatever happened to, oh, I don’t know, not fucking playing into their hands by bombing buildings you know they put in a place to maximize civilian casualties?

#1. I vote with my conscience. I’m not a “Bernie Bro” or Bernie Bot. Or a fucking Tea Partier

Perhaps the most infuriating part of being a Sanders supporter is being lumped in with “Bernie Bros” being called a “Bernie Bot.” Understand that up until very recently I had no problem voting for Hillary if Bernie didn’t take the nomination. But the last time I checked, having a change of heart isn’t illegal, nor is it anti-intellectual. I am at a point in my life where I have to think about the future I am leading my children into. My oldest son would be of draft age by the time Clinton’s second term ended. I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who will perpetuate the same frame of mind that has gotten us into the wars of choice that have taken so many lives.

But I tell you what — if you want to make me feel even better about my choice, call me a Tea Bagger. Because nothing makes you look like a team party politicking motherfucker more than throwing out all concern for context and subtext and labeling me an anti-intellectual who aligns with the Tea Party. What an utterly baseless claim. We agree on so much, except who to vote for. So how the fuck dare someone compare those of us who have decided to take a principled stand to people who favor outright dismantling our government and handing over as much power as possible to the oligarchic interests that already dominate so much of our lives?

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About James Schlarmann 1446 Articles
Comedian, writer, founding contributor of The Political Garbage Chute, holder of zero world records or lifetime achievement awards.
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