Before I talk about anything, please watch this video — Flashback to when Kamala Harris ordered same-sex marriage licenses to be issued after Prop 8 was overturned:
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
Matt Baum talks about the times Kamala Harris fought to bring Marriage Equality back to California after Prop 8, including what it was like to be standing with the two guys who were trying to get the license that you see in the video above: The Two Times I Watched Kamala Harris Make History.
I have previously said that sometimes you have to vote for the candidate that won’t make things worse. And in this year’s presidential election your choice is to either vote for Biden/Harris or you let the fascist win. It’s just math at this point. A vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Trump.
When I was explaining this one a few months ago to someone, I included the metaphor that, because society is big and you’ll never find a single candidate who a majority agrees with 100%, you have to think of it as transit. You get on the bus that is going in the right direction (or as close to the right direction as feasible). Someone who thought he was being clever came back with “What happens if neither bus is going in the right direction, hmmmm?” I’ll say then what I tried to say to him: not enabling fascist is never the wrong direction.
My first choice back when the debates were happening was Warren. By the time my state’s Democratic Primary happened, Warren had withdrawn. As had my second, third, and fourth choices. Warren was still technically on the ballot, because they had been printed early, but because she had already withdrawn, she would not be awarded any delegates even if she won our state. A vote for Warren at that point wouldn’t send a message to anyone. So I voted for my fifth choice, Bernie Sanders.
Before Bernie suspended his campaign a month later, for sixth, seventh, and eighth, choices had already dropped out (a couple of those dropped out long before my state’s primary, actually). So now the nominee is my ninth choice, Joe Biden.
But once he became the presumptive nominee, he became my candidate.
In my personal ranking for president, I had Kamala above Joe. But once we were in the Veep-stakes, where choices aren’t limited to other folks who sought the nomination, once the list of people being vetted was known, Harris wasn’t my first choice for Vice President, either. And my ranking was based on the question, “Of the people being considered, which one do I think is most equipped to take over the office of President, if goddess forbid, something happens to Joe—and keep us moving away from the alt-right mess and toward a more progressive future.”
I know people have their lists of all the policies Biden or Harris have supported that are “wrong” or “too timid,” et cetera. But whoever your favorite candidate is, I guarantee if you name them and give me a few minutes, I can come up with just as many things that that person is wrong about, et cetera. No one is going to match any single vote 100%.
Anyway, the choice has been made. The ticket has to be formalized at the virtual convention, yet, but we have the ticket. Now it’s our job to vote. It’s our job to register if we aren’t already registered, to confirm that we are registered even if we are certain we are, to plan to vote, and to vote all the way down the ballot. Swapping out the president isn’t going to be sufficient to get us out of the mess.
And the best way you can push the country further to the left than you think Biden or Harris can, is to elect progressive candidates in all the down-ballot offices. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I’ve going to close by quoting from Matt Baum’s article I linked above.
Kamala Harris isn’t 100% there on every issue that’s important to me. She never will be. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get over how she denied medical care to trans inmates.
But I also saw first-hand that at a crucial moment, she was ready to ensure that justice would be done.
The main thing I remember about that first election was that the person I voted to represent me in Congress won, while the down ballot races were more mixed. My preferred party lost the majority in the state legislatures lower house, that year.
Two years later was the first time I voted in a presidential election, and I have much more vivid recollections of just what a painful election it was. The guy I least wanted to become president (Reagan) won. My choices for Senator, Governor, and state Attorney General lost. The both house of the state legislator swung heavily into Republican control. I was devastated. It was another 12 years before the person who I chose on the general election ballot would win the Presidency—and that person had not been the candidate I supported during the caucuses. Then another 16 years before the candidate I favored in the caucuses got the nomination (and went on to become President).
My point is, out of 10 presidential election cycles, only four times did the person I vote for win, and even less often did the candidate I favored in the run-up even make it to the ballot. And the way things look right now, the person I wish would get the nomination and become the next president has become quite a longshot. But at no point has it ever made sense to me that I shouldn’t vote.
I was reminded this morning—while I was looking at the demographic information about who actually turned out to vote in yesterday’s primaries (and the heated discussion from some quarters about the results)—of the Zen story about A Drop of Water:
A Zen master asked a young student to bring him a pail of water to cool his bath.
The student brought the water, and after cooling the bath, threw the remaining water over the ground.
“Think,” said the master to the student. “You could have watered the temple plants with those few drops you have thrown away.”
The young student understood Zen in that exact moment. He changed his name to Tekisui, which means drop of water, and lived to become a wise Zen master himself.
The usual lesson people take from the story is that it’s easy while struggling with big problems (the buckets of water), to become careless about more routine chores.
One of the most fundamental of chores is to show up. It doesn’t matter how pure or noble your intentions are. It doesn’t matter how many people you have
harassed tried to educate on line. It doesn’t even matter if you have volunteered or donated to your great and noble candidate. If you don’t show up and vote, you leave the decision to other people. And yelling about conspiracies after the vote didn’t go your way, rather than admitting that the people who showed up (and thanks to voter suppression tricks going on in some states, stood in line for up to 7 hours before getting to cast their votes) just picked a different person.
If you did show up and vote, but the polling data indicates that a lot of people who claim to agree with you didn’t, those people are the ones you should be yelling at. They are the ones who have let you down. The other voters who maybe have your candidate as their second or third choice are not the problem.