So, I finally did it. I didn’t really want to do it, and doing it didn’t fill me with pride or hope, but I did it.
I turned off my recurring monthly donation to the Bernie Sanders campaign and I donated a few bucks to Hillary Clinton’s.
I have a few reasons for doing this, not the least of which is a commonsense understanding of the numbers. Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic Party nominee for President, and anyone who tries to tell you different just isn’t living in reality.
Those numbers tell us that the threat of a Donald Trump presidency is both real and terrifying. I remember how few of us on the left believed that George W. Bush could actually win the White House, but I also remember how unenthused most of us were about the prospect of Al Gore in the big chair.
I believe that it’s precisely because so few of us were motivated to actively support Al Gore that George Bush was able to get close enough to send the election to the Supreme Court and put into office the worst American President in living memory, maybe ever. As much as I support the policies promoted by Bernie Sanders, and as much as I wish the numbers were different, I know as well as anyone how high the stakes are, as does anyone who was politically conscious throughout the eight years of the Bush presidency.
It’s not, as so many have argued, the lesser of two evils. Those eight years of Bush taught us that it’s really a choice between a President, who’s likely to say much, but do little for working class LGBT Americans; or a President, who’s at best as likely as not to declare open season on LGBT equality and civil rights for his own political gain as he looks the other way when Republican-controlled states do their level best to legislate LGB and especially trans people out of modern American life.
Simply put, the stakes are just too high for me to cast my lot with my ideal candidate anymore because, as much as I wish it were otherwise, I know in my heart that at this point Bernie Sanders has about as much chance of actually becoming President as I do.
My values haven’t changed, nor has my opinion of which candidate would make the best President. I’ve simply come around to acknowledging the truth, that when the choice is what it is, Clinton versus Trump, there’s only one credible answer.
Honestly, I don’t expect much from a President Hillary Clinton. Once elected, I expect her to forget about working class LGBT Americans and the issues that matter most in our lives just as quickly as Barack Obama did. The fact that she’s apparently unwilling to keep even the most basic of promises she could make to the trans community, to fill out the Trans United Fund survey and tell us where she stands on some pretty important trans-relevant issues, says much. And yet, I’d much rather have a President who ignores us than one who actively looks to harm trans people or helps others to do it for political gain.
So, I’ve stopped giving money to Bernie Sanders, as tiny as those donations were, and instead I’ve made my first and maybe only donation to the Clinton campaign. I don’t want to spend another eight-year stretch like the Bush years just hoping trans folks can manage to stay out of the line of fire and knowing that real progress for trans people at the federal level is simply impossible for at least the next four years.
If I’m to be completely honest, I don’t feel good about it. I can’t honestly call myself a Hillary Clinton supporter. I feel like I’m giving up on fighting for my ideal America because even just maintaining the status quo and losing any real hope for progress is better than the alternative of having to live under a federal government that would actively seek to punish me and others like me just for being who we are.
I’ve been there, as have all of us of a certain age. I remember what it was like. I don’t want to go back there again, nor do I suspect do many of us who support Bernie Sanders and what he stands for.
I just want to live in a country that accepts me for who I am and a government that doesn’t go out of its way to punish me for it.
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m just getting too old for this shit.