Why I’m Voting Third Party

CwgkipQUAAACzsQA voting first for me: this is the first presidential election I am not supporting, donating and/or volunteering for the Democratic presidential nominee. Voting for the candidate that best fits your values is a right and I intend to exercise my right. I’m an Independent and have been since after President Bill Clinton’s election. Like Bernie Sanders I have worked most often with the Democrats. 2016 will be the first election I will not vote for or support a Democratic presidential candidate. We are at a crisis point in our nation this election because the two major parties have lost their minds and nominated the two least popular, worse candidates possible. Each side is claiming to be the champion of the people, with neither side having ever made any real attempt to represent the views and values of the majority of the decent people in their respective parties.

The thing about elections is someone always loses. The last few elections have been all about scare tactics: America is under attack, civil rights are under attack, women’s right are under attack, Christians are under attack, the war on Christmas, etc. This election is the American horror story comes to life. We have Trump and all his racist/bigoted/fact-challenged/morals-lacking followers, the ugly side of America we have long refused to acknowledge for way too long. Presidential elections can get folks very emotional and politicians thrive on that emotional connection. The election this time is a great example of that. On one side we have the GOP-Trump and all the racist and bigots one can find, while the other side is Hillary Clinton and her army of trolls.

Let’s start with Trump and his “Trumpanzees”. This may surprise you but I have Republican friends and they are nothing like Donald Trump, they are really decent people.  It’s hard to deny Trump and his supporters are very much the result of the seeds of hate the radical side of the GOP and their supporters have planted for many years. With the election of our first black president they vigorously fed and nourished those seeds. It may not be you, if you have a brain, but you probably know someone who is all things Trump/GOP; heck, I have them in my family. You know that person who blames Obama for everything; they think Obama is a Muslim; they don’t believe he is an American; they believe Obama is destroying “Merica”. Should you actually listen to them, you will realize they seriously believe Obama is coming to take their guns. These are the kind of folks who follow Alex Jones and his type religiously; they hate gays, they think guns are the answer to everything and they probably think Donald Trump was just engaging in locker room banter. These same people are not bothered when children are murdered in schools or doctors, nurses and citizens are murdered in women’s health clinics because many believe they are doing “God’s work”. Many of us have that friend and/or relative that is anti-immigrant, hates Mexicans, Muslims, Black Lives Matter and now Syrian refugees. Being a first-generation American, immigration is near and dear to me. My ancestors came to the USA fleeing war. Members of my grandmother’s family had been massacred in the war in Mexico. Later my grandfather was killed in an ambush. My grandmother loaded my mother, 3-months old at the time, along with my aunt and uncle into a horse drawn wagon and came across the border seeking refuge. If Trump and his supporters were around at that time, I would not be here nor would any other member of my family. Making villains out of women and children seeking safety is just wrong. Too many people, way more than will admit to it, are closet racists. Being okay with racism and bigotry among friends and relatives because, in your eyes, well, they really are a pretty good person is just wrong. It was Martin Luther King that said “To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.” My opinion the USA was better when we were “E Pluribus Unum”.

The other side is Hillary-DNC and her army of supporters/trolls all working behind the scenes, classic Clinton tactics. You will rarely hear Bill or Hillary make a disparaging remark in public. They don’t have to; they have big money Super-PACS with paid mouth-pieces/celebrities/trolls that do all of their dirty work for them. Those Super-PACS do employ many folks whose mission is to make life miserable for anyone anti-Clinton. Just to be clear, I don’t buy into any of that Benghazi, email-server, Clinton Foundation scandal crap; it’s just GOP propaganda. What I am amazed at is all you Hillary backers who think that just by her winning, all will be better. Have you noticed we already have GOP congressmen threatening impeachment of Hillary if she wins or to block all her Supreme Court nominees? The fact that this GOP-controlled Congress has spent years and millions of tax dollars trying to bring her up on charges seems lost on most of you. Do you really think there will be a “Kumbaya” moment when the GOP will go “okay, just kidding, we will work with you Hillary”? Please save me the argument if the Democrats win both the House and Senate, it will all be okay. In case you forget that happened in 2008 and we ended up with 8 years of GOP obstruction. I believe the Hillary camp/voters would lead us to at least 4 more years of a deadlocked, dysfunctional government.

I do understand the Clinton charm. I’ve been there, and I have donated and volunteered to both President Clinton in South Texas and Senator Clinton in New York. I also learned they, the Clintons, are like many politicians, will say anything to get elected, and they are very smooth talkers. This election has been the typical Clinton pattern (replay the 2008 elections). In 2008, I was the n-word lover because I supported Barrack Obama. This year, as a long time Bernie supporter, I have been subjected to all sorts of name calling by Hillary and her supporters, even some of you. This time it’s things like “clueless basement dweller” and “Bernie Bros/Bernie Bots” by Hillary herself. Add to that list all the so-called celebrities who regularly call me fucking loser, whiner, immature, clueless, irresponsible, wetback, wetback idiot, traitor, Trump patsy, communist/socialist all because of whom I supported in the presidential primaries and who I now support in the election. True to their 2008 presidential election form, this election has the Hillary troops and paid trolls spewing all kinds of hate in my direction.

Let me take a few minutes to educate you Hillary fans.
I have been around government quite a bit over my 62+ years. You know I always figured, if you don’t get involved in elections at some level, you can’t bitch and there is a pretty good chance you could be really ill informed in matters of public concern if you don’t pay close attention. As a former Firefighter union officer, I have advised on health and safety laws, testified to the Texas Legislature and lobbied the US Congress on the behalf of firefighters and first responders. The law firm I worked at in later years was a big Ann Richards campaign supporter and I have been part of a Texas State District Court Judicial election. The Jimmy Carter campaign in 1980 was the first presidential election I was ever involved with. Maybe that spoiled me on what a decent campaign looked liked. There have been many elections since President Carter’s, Mondale-Ferraro, Dukakis-Bentsen, Clinton-Gore, etc. Many times helping with Presidential elections for me meant taking time off, traveling to less than friendly places to knock on doors, make phone calls, etc. I’ve been cussed at; I’ve had liquids thrown at me; I’ve been threatened with violence/guns/dogs; I’ve had had many doors slammed in my face. You should try convincing Alabama and Florida panhandle residents that a black man with a funny sounding name is their best choice for a President. In 2012 during the second President Obama election, Bastrop, Texas was no better than Alabama.

My years of experience has shown me one sure thing; Hillary Clinton has some of the worse judgment of any politician I have ever seen and people have suffered and died because of her poor choices. The list is long, but here are the tops three in my view:

1) The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was signed and championed by both Clintons and the GOP. Estimates are that that piece of legislation put 2.6 million families below poverty levels when it basically let states decide how to use federal funding for social service programs. Of those 2.6 million, over a million were children cut off from food and medications they depended on. Were you enraged then? When many civic-minded groups protested the changes, did you? What I heard and saw back then was indifference, even from Hillary. I realize all those cuts in services probably didn’t affect you. It mainly hit the poorest and the least educated in our nation. What is more amazing, this opened the door for GOP-governed states to start working towards cutting funds to other things like Planned Parenthood, Child Protective Services, public education, research grants, etc. I got a first hand, up-close and personal look at the results of that law during my days at the 98th District Court. So Hillary, who now claims to be the champion of women and children helped usher in all these problems we now suffer.

2) The United States of America has roughly 5% of the world’s population, but we imprison 25% of all those incarcerated worldwide and we do it for profit. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was another Clinton-supported bill. It was during this time that Hillary made her infamous quote about “Super Predator” kids. The act’s provisions implemented many things, including a “three strikes” mandatory life sentence for repeat offenders, money to hire 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for jails/prisons, the militarization of police departments and an expansion of death penalty-eligible offenses. Other parts of the crime bill stripped Pell Grant funding for education and rehabilitation of prisoners, even though education is now seen as an effective tool against recidivism. President and Hillary Clinton also championed a “one strike, you’re out” policy for evicting public housing tenants if they or their guests were involved in any criminal activity, causing a jump in evictions and making it more difficult for former inmates to find housing. Some states even went as far as making kids who skipped too much school felons. The for-profit prison/jail industry exploded. Hillary had many chances to correct this problem but she didn’t because there was money to be made by her biggest contributors. The Clintons knew the justice system was stacked against people of color, the impoverished and poorly educated but they decided to ramp up the punitive punishment. Criminal punishment became big business and the lobbyists from the for-profit prison industry became very big players in defining criminal justice laws. I’ve heard Hillary say she is sorry, the law went too far, she promises to be a champion for justice reform. One big problem with that is Richard Sullivan of Capitol Counsel, until recently, a Raleigh, N.C.-based federally registered lobbyist for the for-profit prison operator GEO Group. Mr. Sullivan is the second-most prolific lobbyist/contribution bundler for the Clinton campaign. Sullivan’s firm, Capitol Counsel, has been registered for years to represent GEO Group subsidiary BI Inc. While the firm continues to represent BI, officially Sullivan no longer intends to do so, according to a disclosure form filed with Congress on Nov. 9, 2015. I have grave reservations about the intentions and sincerity of Hillary with her good buddy Mr. Sullivan so close to her. So how exactly will Hillary fix this huge miscarriage of the justice within the legal system? In 2009, it was estimated there were over 1200 innocent people convicted of crimes just in Texas. Tens of thousands innocent and non-violent crimes offenders are in jails all over the nation and we are paying for it. President Obama has made a small dent in the prison population by commuting the sentences of many, but there are so many more. Most of these are people of color, the poor and the poorly educated. Does Hillary plan to have a mass national pardon or will they just be written off as collateral damage because that would be her normal operating pattern? I really want to know that answer; lives are at stake, innocent, long-suffering American lives and time is running out for many of them.

3) The Iraqi war. Hillary’s vote and support of the Iraqi is the ultimate deal breaker for me. Officially there were approximately 4,500 American military casualties and the best estimate is 183,000+ civilian casualties in that conflict. Despite pleas from many of her supporters Hillary sided and voted with President Bush. When I raised my concern during the primaries, I was told, and I kid you not, “I think you put too much emphasis on that one vote, dead and wounded happen in war.” Wow, such compassion! If you’re okay with that, a war where innocent people died so Hillary’s donors could earn a profit, then by all means vote for her. Personally I think we didn’t put enough emphasis on all those lost lives.

I actually had someone tell me I needed to be patient because change doesn’t happen over-night. As I approach 63 years old I think I’ve waited long enough. I don’t dare leave the future of our nation in the hands of the people who caused this mess. For those reasons, and I could list many more, I will vote Green. Jill Stein like Bernie Sanders is much closer to my ideals. Do I think she can win? No, not this time, but very soon it could be possible. Who knows, if enough Independents vote Green Party perhaps we can push the major party election loser to 3rd place. In the best scenario we will push the Green Party over 5% of the vote and that is important for future growth. If our system is to get back to actually representing citizens, elected officials should answer to everyone, not just the social elite or corporations bent on destroying our planet for profit.

So you can cuss me, call me names tell me I’m letting America down, but my conscience and morals will not be compromised. There have been years of cries for help, fairness and justice from so many and it has been ignored by so many because it didn’t affect them until now. I would like to believe America is the great country we have all been led to believe it is. If America is still has any morals left, Hillary will win in a landslide; but if Trump wins, we will have to rethink what this country is really about. The election this time highlights how broken our current political system is. I do believe it’s possible the losing major party could cease to exist as we have known it and they will have no one to blame but themselves. I personally hope it’s the Trump crowd that goes down. I will accept a Hillary victory, even if I don’t like it. I won’t even ask to see the long form of her birth certificate, but I will never vote for her and because of actions by DNC officials, I will no longer work for the Democrat Party. Go Green!