Cornel West recently continued down his long, winding road to breaking my heart.
He returned to his recurring role as a panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher, where he was even more overbearing than usual. He battled with Barney Frank and barely let my future second wife Alex Wagner get a word in edgewise; even Maher was visibly annoyed.
On top of his interminable – and now played-out – bashing of Barack Obama, West spent a good amount of time castigating Hillary Clinton and bolstering Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president.
Listening to West – one of our eminent Black scholars and a man whom I’ve venerated for years – back a horse that could contribute to the election of Donald Trump was like Yoda feeling the disturbance in the Force when Darth Vader slaughtered the Jedi younglings. I wanted to throw one end of his scarf into a wood chipper while still around his neck and force him to change his position.
Michael Eric Dyson authored the definitive (if not petty as hell) ethering of West; that’s not what I’m here for. I plead that you don’t listen to West, or anyone else who would convince you to send your vote to Stein in November.
The Green Party has been bopping around in the U.S. for a little more than three decades now; it gained notoriety when presidential candidate Ralph Nader put a small wedge between Al Gore and George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election (the first in which I was able to vote).
The oft-touted idea that Nader “stole” the election from Gore has been disproven. But he sure didn’t help matters in an election he couldn’t win. Stein is threatening the same interference for the 2016 election, which has higher stakes.
Folks aren’t riding for Stein or the Green Party and it’s Candy Land-ass platform because they’re impressed with either – they’re planning to throw their vote away on an “anyone-but-Clinton” play, which is misguided at best. Truth is, Stein could walk past my desk, grant me my 40 acres and a mule and I still wouldn’t know who the fuck she was. Put a picture of her alongside one of Clifton Powell, and I bet even White folks would recognize Powell first.
To be clear, I’m not Clinton’s number-one fan; many of her critics’ have valid points, and I certainly believe her presidency would usher in more status-quo bullshit. (My general sentiment on this election hasn’t changed.) But I don’t abide by the hyperbolic sentiment that she would, in any way, leave our country worse off than George W. Bush did, and I don’t give a shellacked shit about emails and servers. Despite protestations, no one really does.
I also recognize that there are scores of sexist troglodytes under the impression that a woman pushing 70 will somehow start World War III because of her "emotions," leaving us all to walk blindly through the post-apocalyptic wasteland fighting bandits like Denzel in The Book of Eli. Those people should be taken as seriously as Trump voters.
Truth is, your day-to-day will likely not change under her presidency. Henny will still be in plentiful supply, grown-ass men will still be chasing Pokemon and Kevin Hart will still make the same movie over and over again and you niggas will go see it.
However, as Damon wrote, there’s a crystalline divide between the parties and their two candidates. If you’re placing Clinton and Trump on the same plane of “evil,” you’re probably wrestling with a cognitive dissonance that negates the importance of your opinion for anything outside of which brand of plastic forks to buy for the cookout. And you’re probably also a White male.
Trump is an unfettered demagogue who has made no less than six public statements that, standing alone, render anything he might do positively as president irrelevant and should prohibit him from ever getting within pissing distance of the White House. Unbridled xenophobia, racism and a demonstrated lack of domestic policy and foreign relations should be enough that I shouldn’t even have to write this fucking piece.
The only reason Trump ascended to become likely the most absurd presidential candidate ever is because he ran against a bunch of contestants from the Real World/Road Rules Challenge who couldn’t manage to beat that guy. Folks already conceding to a country run by President Trump should remember this and not be so hasty.
To that end, I’m surprised to see some Black folks, of all people, adopt the position of privilege by suggesting that a Trump presidency might benefit our community in the long run. “Enh, let’s ride this thing out with The Donald. See what happens,” said no Muslim or Mexican ever.
I’m guessing at least 90 percent of you considering voting for Stein are doing so because you Felt the Bern. That Doc Brown-looking-ass nigga lost…get the fuck over it.
Better still, think about how diametrically opposed Sanders would be to a Trump presidency. And how he’s really wants you to vote for Clinton now. Go with common sense, folks.
Like many of you, I’m over our government’s two-party system…not to mention the Electoral College, lack of Congressional term limits and other antiquated aspects of our democratic process that allow us to get stuck in these mires of political malcontent.
That’s why it’s important to rally behind an alternative party a hell of a lot sooner than a few months before the election. While some would argue that a third-party system is futile altogether, I think everyone would agree that the revolution doesn’t happen in the same amount of time it takes you to get off of new employee probation. Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency took several years.
At this point, you’re either #WithHer or you wanna Make America Great Again. Anything else is a waste of everyone’s time. I still don’t think Trump will win the big seat, but if he has any chance at all, it’ll be because of bullshit-ass voters in battleground states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania who stay home, vote for Stein, pencil in their Uncle Howie or some other dumb shit.
Jill Stein is merely a nostrum, and I believe Trump is legitimately dangerous for numerous reasons. Vote for Hillary Clinton now – figure out how to create change immediately thereafter. And if you happen to be one of the three conflicted Black Republicans reading Very Smart Brothas, then go-go Gary Johnson 2016!!