To The Undecideds

Well my last blog post broke my rule about not giving writing advice, so since I’m on a roll, I’m now gonna make the one and only political post you’ll ever read here. Feel free to skip. Next time I’ll be back to talking about movies and comics and hawking books. I swear.

august-landmesser-man-refused-salute-hitler-1936I am an idealist and a fantacist. I make no claims to being a realist. I’ve never voted for a winning president (or governor) in an election.  I’ve also never voted against anybody in my life, only for the person I thought was best suited to the office.  I was told again and again that third party candidates can’t win, and the last election had me pretty convinced. I saw the best man lose over and over, and had just about resolved never to vote again, because I had come to understand that my vote doesn’t count.  That’s just the way of the world, of politics. It’s a two party system, and I swore I’d never vote Republican or Democrat. They have always represented to me two sides of a coin I didn’t care to pocket.  There are differences in policy, in approach, but they ultimately serve the same unchanging system.

Then, last year, breaking yet another of my own rules, I registered as a Democrat.

I think you can guess which candidate convinced me to do that. It wasn’t Hillary Clinton.

But I don’t want to sit here and sling mud at her. My candidate wouldn’t like that.

I’m not gonna sing his praises either (much), or post a bunch of dank memes, or try to convince you of what’s great about him. Go to his website.  Watch his speeches. Seriously, do it. Listen to the man.

Instead, I’m gonna talk about something very important.

This election is going to be won or lost in the next two weeks, when the delegates and superdelegates choose the nomination for the Democratic party. Everybody knows it.

Our country is on the precipice of a very steep drop into a darkness it will be very difficult for us to climb out of should we choose to let ourselves fall. And it is a choice, make no mistake.

Is it our choice? Yours and mine? I really don’t know. I hope it is. I hope the collective will of the people counts for something in this election. Even more than that, I hope it’s a good and just will that animates the majority of us, that idealism and benevolence can prevail against ignorance, greed, and hatred. If it doesn’t, then no, our votes don’t count for anything in the end. Not if they’re misused.

Because make no mistake. The front-running Republican candidate is not a clown to be laughed at. I have never laughed at him. I remember 2004 and the re-election everybody said would never happen in a million years. I remember the bona fide war hero they put up against the draft dodging goof. I remember who won.

Moreover, I have seen the power of celebrity with people. It overruns reason. It whips up passions. It’s infectious. Level heads do not prevail.  The celebrity always wins. Always.  You have to consider all the prior years of entertainment as free campaigning. Name recognition is greater from the get-go.

Combine the influential power of celebrity, the vapid but forceful cult of personality, with bad or selfish intentions, and you have disastrous consequences. It’s happened before elsewhere throughout history. Are we going to let it happen here?

Just as I’m not going to champion my candidate (much), I’m not going to tell you what’s wrong with Donald Trump if he’s yours. If you’re honest with yourself, you know the answer to that in your heart.  Any reason you may have to support a man like that is yours to live with.  Nothing I can say will dissuade you, so I’m not addressing this post to you.

Who I am addressing is the undecided. Those delegates in states whose votes haven’t yet been tallied, those superdelegates who have not yet publicly backed a candidate.

You have a very important decision before you.  Not many people are given the opportunity to make a direct, positive influence on the course of human history. Not many people find themselves with the chance to affect the lives of their fellow human beings for the better.

But you do.

Hillary Clinton will not defeat Donald Trump in a general election for the Presidency of the United States. She can’t win. She’s evasive, unlikable, untrustworthy, and uninspiring.

A hypothetical clash between her and Trump has been thoroughly analyzed elsewhere, but I’ll summarize it here.

She has too much baggage. Too many poor decisions and unpopular stances to be taken to task for. Too much fodder for a juvenile bully like Donald Trump. Trump is a muckraker and he will not hesitate to loudly attack these many years of misdeeds and character defects.  His supporters will froth and cheer him on. Hillary will constantly be on the defensive, making her look weak and ineffectual. The din of Trump’s crowd will drown out anything she says in retort. Eventually, she will go on the attack herself, and the entire thing will devolve into the sort of mudslinging fracas a guy like Trump thrives in.

She can’t win.

In a fight with Bernie Sanders, Trump can’t attack his opponent’s integrity, or poke at his inconsistencies. He can’t dwell on the mundane or resort to ridicule. Bernie is nothing if not consistent. Finding no purchase for his usual tactics, Trump will look like the buffoon he is. He will be forced to address the core issues he has danced vaguely around thus far. Without his trademark sideshow distractions and schoolyard taunts, his woeful inexperience will be more apparent.  Yes, Hillary is more experienced than Bernie. But taking all her perceived character defects into account (rightfully earned or not), it just doesn’t matter in this instance.

I can’t guarantee Bernie Sanders can beat Donald Trump. Ultimately, that decision will define the character of our nation. If the majority of us elect to give in to the basest, most reactionary, most unworthy aspects of our own souls, then America deserves every subsequent disaster that befalls it.

But first, we have to get to that fight.

You have to decide now who’s better suited to face this threat to our integrity. This election is a clash between the summit of the most humane ideals our country is supposed to embody and the lowest, most unscrupulous, barbarous, and inhumane depths to which we unfortunately sometimes fall. There can be no compromise, no middle of the road.  Pandering will not get us past this. Untruths can’t prevail. Moderation will not sustain. Party loyalties won’t serve. It’s all or nothing.

My candidate is not a messiah. He won’t solve these deep divides overnight. I know that. But last night, when he said –

The truth is at some level when you hurt, when your children hurt, I hurt. I hurt. And when my kids hurt, you hurt. And it’s very easy to turn our backs on kids who are hungry, or veterans who are sleeping out on the street, and we can develop a psyche, a psychology which is ‘I don’t have to worry about them; all I’m gonna worry about [is] myself; I need to make another $5 Billion.’

But I believe that what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can’t even understand. It’s beyond intellect. It’s a spiritual, emotional thing.

So I believe that when we do the right thing, when we try to treat people with respect and dignity, when we say that that child who is hungry is my child… I think we are more human when we do that, than when we say ‘hey, this whole world , I need more and more, I don’t care about anyone else.’ That’s my religion. That’s what I believe in. And I think most people around the world, whatever their religion, their color — share that belief. That we are in it together as human beings.

The truth of the matter solidified in my mind.

The most important question to be answered in this election cannot be are we more Hillary or more Bernie.

It’s are we Bernie or are we Trump?

Please, for my children, for my daughters and my sons, and for everyone’s, look directly and truthfully into yourselves and do not flinch from the importance of the contention that lies directly before us all. Forget your loyalties if you have them, try to look past the misgivings or doubts you might have, don’t worry about your careers. Remember that policies and economics aside, the American dream is first and foremost a dream.

Don’t let it become a nightmare.


Now to the rest of you who are like me, and feel pretty powerless to affect what’s about to happen, if you agree with me, let these people know.

I couldn’t compile a list of every undecided Democratic superdelegate  on Facebook. Some don’t allow public posts, some don’t have profiles at all or I couldn’t confirm their identities, some already have banner pics of themselves smiling beside Hillary Clinton.

But the rest are below.  52 of them, culled from the list of undecideds on Wikipedia.

The first fifteen are from California. When I got to the end of that list, I decided it might be best to find as many as I could, not to limit myself. Tell them who you, the people want to represent you in the 2016 election this November.  I don’t know if this system is rigged against us all or not. I don’t want to believe it is. But this is all I can do.

You know his name. Tell them.