There is a saying: “Better the devil you know . . .”
It’s an old saying, and older people tend to say it.
“Better the devil you know” than some unbeknownst evil.
Younger people, when they hear older people say this–when they’re issued this warning–hear complacency, not caution.
“Why any devil?” they demand to know.
“Why can’t we hold out for a savior?”
Young people almost always want revolution.
They tend to have more rigid ideals than older people.
They have more hope and energy.
They are infatuated with newness; they want a world to match their own.
This is evident in the way so many young people talk about this year’s Presidential election.
“I’m not voting for Trump or Hillary,” I keep hearing so many of the young people I know say.
Or rather I keep reading on their Facebook feeds.
And I get it.
I was young once, too. I wanted better choices for my generation so I could have a better life than my parents. I wanted a better world.
I still want a better world.
But age has given me two things to replace the hope and energy it’s robbed from me.
It’s given me perspective, and it’s given me candor.
It’s stripped away my tendency to talk mainly in terms of dreams and possibilities, and it’s impelling me to say:
The American political system can be revolutionized, but it won’t be, not by November.
The election will come, and a choice will have to be made within the context of the existent political framework.
And I think that for people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants, people with special needs, women, and poor people, that choice should be Hillary Clinton.
It pains me to say it, but a Republican in Democrat’s clothing is better than a borderline personality in Republican’s clothing.
Yes, I know: Hillary is Washington establishment.
She is a student of her husband and Obama, under which she served as Secretary of State. She is a game player, not a game changer.
She will probably continue with many of the programs Obama established, for bad as well as good. Others she’ll tweak and make more conservative.
His social initiatives, she’ll probably let fade into nonexistence.
She will probably allow the prison industry to keep growing, the NRA to keep calling legislative shots, and the public school system to descend further down below the nation’s expectations and closer to hell in that inequitable handbasket.
She’ll do little to nothing to stop mass shooting or racially-motivated police murders.
She’ll do nothing to change the way America squanders trillions on weapons.
She’ll do less than nothing to alter the class structure in any appreciable way.
She will more than likely continue to deport undeserving illegal immigrants in record numbers.
She will probably watch from atop Capitol Hill, ensconced in the safety of her job and wealth, as police forces grow more like military forces, as they use more robots to deploy more bombs on more civilian criminals.
She will probably order more American military forces to more foreign countries to fight terrorists that may or may not be a real threat to America.
She will probably pick someone disappointingly safe to fill the empty Supreme Court seat.
She won’t stop the southern states from making discriminatory laws against LGBTQIA+ citizens, and she won’t stop Republican governors from cutting off abortion rights.
She’ll give concerned speeches, and she may even make laws that seem to take on our concerns, but she won’t change the world or country.
She’ll be yet another US President, with the perennial baggage, but a woman.
This sounds terrible, too, right? Listed out like this. It sounds fatalistic or pessimistic, but what it really amounts to is a lot less dramatic: Hillary Clinton, if elected, will maintain the status quo.
Because as revolutionary as electing a black man to office may have been, it didn’t revolutionize government in the US.
Obama could’ve been any color, if we’re being honest.
His policies , when reviewed without bias, don’t reflect any allegiance to any particular minority or oppressed community or passion to alleviate any one issue troubling the nation.
Obama was not the One That Was Promised, to use Games of Thrones parlance.
He gave great optics, and he was, without a doubt, one of the most likable and morally upright leaders we’ve ever had.
He led with considerable intelligence and consistency. He gave great speeches, especially in times of tragedy, and he maintained a superlative level of dignity in the face of all the Republicans’ unwarranted, fallacious attacks.
He gave us a relatively improved healthcare system (for which I am personally and eternally grateful).
But Obama didn’t part the proverbial sea and lead us to the Promised Land.
Let’s be real.
So Hillary shouldn’t have to, either, I say, in order to obtain our votes.
It’s unfair, unsavory, and it’s damn disenchanting, but I think that all she really needs to be–in lieu of Trump–is not Trump.
That said, I think that we can want–and we can even start discussing and planning for–real and radical change in our political system, but, until we get something concrete on paper, or, better yet, in the works, we better vote in this election come November, and we better vote for Hillary Clinton. Or else.
I know this sounds horrible coming from a black feminist, but I can’t afford to be romantic or naïve about the importance of this election, and I don’t think anyone else with any of my financial or social concerns can afford it, either.
A lot of Americans opted out of the last midterm elections for the same reason they are thinking of opting out of November’s election–the lack of worthy candidates–and what happened?
We got a Republican Congress that couldn’t give a fuck about anyone that isn’t rich, white, cishet, “Christian,” male, and (not “or”) a born citizen of the US.
We got a Republican Congress that couldn’t give a fuck about honoring its President or political protocol when it came to doing their job, which is–and we seem to forget this just as readily as the members of this Republican Congress themselves–representing us.
We got a Republican Congress that couldn’t even produce a compelling enough presidential candidate to beat out Trump for the damned candidacy–a Congress that helped create the political climate, with its racist propaganda and rhetoric, that made conditions ripe for Trump’s ascendency.
We can’t allow this Congress or its Frankensteinian monster to get any more powerful.
We can’t give Trump the White House to run into the ground like all of his previous business ventures.
We don’t want to be contestants on this reality TV show he’s producing for nothing more than ratings and revenue.
I don’t like Hillary any more than anyone else–because she won’t create any real change–but I’m also terrified of the changes that Trump would create–to our nation and the world.
So I’m going to vote for Hillary.
I’m not going to skip voting and increase the chance that Trump will win.
Not by the tiniest whit.
I’d rather have Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump in the White House.
Shit–I’d rather have Chelsea Clinton than Donald Trump in the White House.
Better the devil we know than the devil known for his violent unpredictability.
Better the devil that will singe than the one that will incinerate us.