#ImWithHer, or A Tale Of Two Platforms

Ask-HISTORY-How-did-the-Republican-and-Democratic-parties-get-their-animal-symbols-ESo, here we are America. The primaries are officially over, and the general election is set. The Democratic and Republican parties have both selected their nominees for President of the United States, and it’s up to us to choose one. Of course, it’s proving to be more challenging than usual, due in no small part to the recalcitrant, argumentative wing of the left that continues to resist the idea of voting for the Democratic nominee.

I once saw a meme on Facebook challenging people to justify voting for HER without mentioning HIS name. Now, skipping past the fallacy of that argument (the nature of the opponent is HUGELY relevant to the value of a candidate), I figured I’d take the bait and do one better: I’m not going to mention EITHER nominee by name. Because ultimately, the nominees are just figureheads for the real bellwethers of policy: the party platforms. To me, the real question is which platform is better… and the answer couldn’t be more obvious.

Perhaps the biggest thing to keep in mind when perusing these platforms is that these are not just the candidate-approved talking points for this election (though they are, and the fact that each candidate is willing to ascribe their name to their respective platforms should tell you a lot about each of them). These platforms are also indicative of what the entirety of each party will be working towards for the next four years. Even if you don’t believe the candidates themselves care about some or all of these issues, people in their party do, and in one case that is far more horrifying than the other.

The Democratic platform (a clean, concise document) includes the following goals:

-raising wages

-protecting social security

-investing in infrastructure

-creating clean energy jobs

-raising taxes on wealthy

-regulating Wall Street

-criminal justice reform

-guaranteeing rights for female/minority/LGBT/disabled people

-ending community poverty

-protecting/expanding voting rights

-climate change solutions

-debt-free college for the middle/lower class

-lowering existing student debt

-education improvements

-universal health care

-drug addiction treatment

-reproductive rights

-gun control

-curbing domestic violence

-repealing Citizens United

The Republican platform (a monstrous piece of bad writing that takes forever to make its point and is way too proud of its own vocabulary) includes these goals:

-tax cuts on the rich

-deregulating banking industry

-undermining consumer protections

-repealing environmental regulations

-disempowering unions

-not changing the minimum wage

-nominating Supreme Court judges that are against abortion/LGBT rights/Affordable Care Act

-protecting anti-LGBT discrimination

-supporting Christianity as national religion

-preventing campaign finance reform

-loosening gun control laws

-passing anti-choice constitutional amendment

-defunding Planned Parenthood and allowing states to close abortion clinics

-ignoring climate change agreements

-repealing the Affordable Care Act

-establishing English as national language

-supporting internet monopoly

-building the border wall

-supporting “traditional marriage” only

To me, the choice between these two platforms couldn’t be more obvious: one represents pretty much every progressive value and goal that could help move the country forward, while the other represents retrogressive bigotry and inequality that needs to be curbed at every opportunity. And the concern isn’t just for what things may or may not become law in the future, but which existing laws and court rulings could become undone (Roe v Wade, Obergefell v Hodges). You might question whether either of the candidates will actually live up to the ideals listed in these platforms (for better or worse) but ultimately we need to make our choice on the presumption that the winning candidate will 100% bring their party’s platform to pass. With that in mind, the choice becomes even more obvious. If even a little of the Democratic platform could be made into tangible law, it would be to the benefit of our country, while even the slightest bit of the Republican platform becoming legislation would be horrifying and heartbreaking. You might not be satisfied with the personal record of the person chosen to represent the Democratic platform this November, but you can’t deny that the platform she represents is definitively more progressive, more liberal, more inclusive and more forward-thinking than her opponent’s.

And there are some of you that are actually rooting for the Republican Party to win, because you believe it will usher in some epic progressive revolution. But why would you gamble on something like that, when it means handing the country over to such a hateful and ugly platform as this one? Why hold out for a larger, all-at-once reformation AFTER a Republican president when we have the chance to start reforming things RIGHT NOW? Why gamble with the safety and freedom of millions of Americans that the Republican party is gunning for, when the alternative is offering us a lot of what we want in the first place?

I understand being frustrated by the process. I understand being disillusioned with the system and intimidated by the problems of the world. But protesting the results of that process and system does no one any good right now. All it does is undermine our only real chance to have progressive beliefs and values reflected in our government for the next four years. Of course there are no guarantees that the Democrats will stay true to their word, but this story doesn’t end with this election. We can support this insanely progressive Democratic platform now and then spend the next four years holding the party to it. We can support as many progressive voices as possible IN THE MIDTERMS to ensure that these policies will have the support they need. We can stay loud and passionate for our causes whether the White House is up for grabs or not, and give the Democratic Party the mandate it needs to fight for us. But voting Green or not voting at all accomplishes none of that.

So yeah, #ImWithHer. Not because she’s the most liberal voice, or because she’s infallible. But because she sits at the head of a platform that represents pretty much everything I want America to aspire to, and stands in opposition to a cyanide-laced human carrot and his platform of fear, hatred and aggression. Because she is a serious person that takes this job seriously and doesn’t treat campaigning for it like an extension of Twitter. Because there is too much at stake not too. But none of that matters if more of us can’t get over themselves and get on-board NOW. “Stronger Together” isn’t just a slogan, it’s the goddamned truth. I hope we all see that before it’s too late.

I adjusted this post a bit on 8/7/16 after an enlightened conversation with some of my coworkers. The ultimate message of the post is the same.

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