For some, debating the differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton may seem like an annoying battle of political semantics.
Because of the trifling obstructionist politics of the Republican party,
Democrats are being lulled into a false sense of candidate sameness.
An “any Democrat will do” way of thinking.
“It doesn’t matter which one wins” they say. “They both will be great.”
But I guess that depends on what you value in a candidate.
That can also depend on who you are and where you’re from.
I’m from the south side of Chicago and for most of my life,
my family has lived on the “one pay check away” margins of poverty.
Even now, I type this message from my family’s home in Roseland
and the infamous ‘Wild 100s’ neighborhood
(hunnits, hundreds- whichever you prefer)
The average income is $18,000/ year.
‘Food desert’ conditions mean that my family’s local Trader Joes and Whole Foods are really just liquor stores, gas stations and Dollar Trees.
Despite how many 12 hours shifts my father has worked, how highly educated my mother is and regardless of being brought up in a loving 2 parent household, this has been our economic reality.
Our neighborhood is full of beautiful people who are forced to live under the shadows of joblessness, housing segregation, under-supported schools and a neighborhood hospital that is so scary andpoorly equipped, that some patients with medical emergencies would rather drive themselves several miles to the nearest ‘decent’ medical center than to have the ambulance drive them to Roseland Community Hospital.
No jobs. Poor schools. Food insecurity. Pitiful healthcare services.
The most infamous result of this American nightmare is crime.
Lots of it.
Now the Black community (lower income folks in particular)
are being led to believe that Hillary Clinton deserves our vote because she has supposedly always been there for us.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Her record of head spinning public and private political capitulations don’t add up to chants of “Hillary is my homegirl”.
“I was born at night, not last night”
-Prof. Cornel West
Hillary Clinton has received millions of dollars in speaking fees and political support from the same giant banks that she expects you to believe that she’ll be tough on.
She doesn’t deny this.
She doesn’t even apologize for it.
She in fact, defends it with the pathetic argument that well,
other people do it to… why shouldn’t I?
Hillary Clinton has accepted money from the for profit prison industry and didn’t stop accepting the cash because it was a sudden realization of a moral failure but instead because it was a political inconvenience.
When it’s politically convenient, Mrs. Clinton has celebrated her husband’s implementation of draconian, unjust crime laws and public housing rules.
8 years ago, Mrs. Clinton and her husband implied that Barack Obama was an untrustworthy, less-American other, full of unachievable, utopian “fairytales”.
Now she claims to be even more progressive than President Obama.
Where I come from, enablers of the Wall Street powers that have made upward mobility a pipe dream don’t get my vote.
Where I come from, a politician who hides behind the September 11 attacks as a defense for accepting millions of dollars from the companies that destroyed our housing and job markets is not my homie.
Where I come from, those who befriend the system that builds jails faster than prisons is no friend of mine.
Where I come from, those who support a system that punishes crime based upon the color and the zip code of the offender does not deserve to represent me.
Where I come from, someone who used America’s fear of a Black man in office as a means to secure power for herself shouldn’t be viewed as an ally in the fight against racial injustice.
We need someone who is consistent.
We deserve someone with unquestionable conscience.
Is Bernie Sanders a finished, polished product on the issue of national security or even racial understanding?
No. By his own acknowledgment, even he still has room for expansion and improvement.
But even without having to campaign for Black votes over his last several decades in public service, he has been fighting for the socio-economic, environmental, healthcare and foreign policy issues that are critical to people who look, live and dream like me.
Will I vote for any of the greed nurturing, fear mongering Republicans? NO.
But you’ll have to excuse me if I choose not to vote for Hillary just because she has a familiar name, SAYS all the right things and because her husband eats bean pies at his office in Harlem.
I don’t owe Hillary anything.
To me, she is just a more seasoned campaigner.
Not the voice that most resonates with my conscience.