Sunday, July 17, 2016

You're So Vain: You Probably Thought This Election Was (Just) About You

Dear Bernie or Busters,

Perhaps it is time for you to consider the upcoming election in a new light: is it really about the country, or is it in fact just about you?

Yes, I know that you are thinking of voting for Jill Stein. You feel that you simply have to do this; it's the only way you can maintain your integrity, the only way you can remain faithful to your high-minded principles.

Which, by the way, are very high-minded, aren't they? Well, of course they are.

For example, you espouse the admirable notion that politicians and citizens alike must be conscientious, responsible, and--above all--caring. ALL of us must do everything we can to advance the common good, to help our country and our fellow humans.

And so, of course, you intend to vote for Jill Stein, an individual (like yourself) of high moral standards, someone devoted to the notion of making a better world, and...but wait, but wait.. also, alas, someone who has absolutely no chance of winning any political office whatsoever or of changing the world in any way. No chance. Absolutely none.

Hence, I must ask again: on behalf of whom are you taking this confidently noble stand? Are you sincerely thinking about the country and the common good (which Stein can never influence)? Or are you actually thinking somewhat more selfishly--of yourself, of your self-respect, of your "honor," of what you like to call your "personal integrity," of your self-image, of how you would look (or smell) to yourself and the other members of your high-minded fraternity if you let down your Righteous Guard? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I mean, how could you face yourself in the mirror if you actually allowed yourself to vote for someone like Hillary who, well, is just not as beautifully conscientious, responsible, and caring as you are? Mercy, she has made so many compromises, so many thoughtless blunders; she has so many political zits. No, no, clearly you must vote for unblemished Stein, the good person (like you), who does not calculate, misrepresent, scheme, break promises--who does not, in fact... do anything at all! There is such ease, such safety in stasis and pimple-free selfie-righteousness, isn't there?

Safety, at least, for your vaunted self-image. Perhaps not for the country or the common good--since your wasted vote for Stein might very well help deliver the presidency to Donald Trump, his acolytes and their poisonous programs and pogroms.

Yes, Hillary is a flawed candidate, one who--if elected--might fail to deliver many--or even all--the worthy changes you have been so hoping (somewhat naively perhaps?) Bernie would miraculously effectuate. But as much as you dislike her carelessness, her mixed motives and her lackluster liberalism, surely you do not consider HRC a threat of the same magnitude as Donald Trump. Do you? In your deepest progressive soul? Surely not. You've been excoriating him for months now.

So let's face it. You have repeatedly asserted that you want to do the conscientious, responsible, and caring thing for the country. And you have yourself said many times that this election is about the country, not about you. Well, then, BernieBros, are you just spouting insincere formulas or do you actually mean what you say? If so, then you simply cannot shirk your responsibility and waste your vote on Jill Stein--a vain, petulant gesture--intended merely to enhance your personal self-image, not to advance the common good of America. Vanitas vanitatum says the Preacher, calling you on your inauthenticity and bad faith. I agree.

You and I should both be with her.

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