Greetings, brothers, sisters, & others —
In the few days that have passed since the protests in Philadelphia, I’ve been asked about & have put a lot of thought into where I believe the future of our movement lies. I’ve reflected on my recent experiences as a writer, a journalist, an activist, & a protester, both during the course of the primaries & in the midst of the protests, and now I feel I am ready to give a tentative answer to the question of how we move forward. The short version of it is this:
Because I cannot, in good conscience, support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, I have changed my voter registration to reflect the fact that I shall be casting my vote for Jill Stein in November. However, I do not feel that merely voting is enough — it’s become clear that our elections are completely rigged & so I will be doing everything in my power, both with my pen & with my actions, to encourage & support non-violent direct-action with the goal of holding our officials accountable for their dishonesty.
That’s the short version — here’s the long one…
Why I cannot in good conscience
vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump is a bigot & a fool — without even mentioning anything else, his hateful, racist, & misogynist rhetoric, as well as his denial of climate-change, are enough moral reason to rule him out completely. It really is that simple.
The reasons for which I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton are more numerous & complex —
How can I vote for a liar? Even if she were to make so many concessions that she supported 99% of my own positions, how can I believe her? How will she regulate the banks when she is unable to explain why she is taking money from them? How will she take action against climate change while she advocates fracking & takes money from fossil fuel & oil? How will she help immigrants while she sabotages democracy in Latin American countries & helps to murder people like Berta Caceres? How will she make healthcare affordable for us when her own campaign is funded by the money that pharmaceutical companies extort from us?
How can I vote for a cheater? How can I vote when a mere 15% decided the choices? How can I vote for a nominee whose donors conceal any evidence that the elections results are accurate? How can you tell me that the nominee is legitimate when statistical evidence suggests otherwise? Why is there no paper trail to prove the legitimacy of the primaries? How can you ask me to vote for the candidate who colluded with the DNC to disadvantage the candidate that I voted for?
I cannot vote for a liar & a cheater — in the words of Cornel West, “I love my brother, Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him about this” & I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.
Why I support #DemExit & the Green Party
The Democratic National Committee has proven to us that it has no interest in holding fair elections (you know, the democratic kind?) & they will continue to pick whoever they please as their nominee (regardless of what the people want) because they believe they can bully everyone into voting for their candidate by using the GOP’s ticket to essentially hold the country hostage. This will only stop working when we stop falling for it. That is why I have changed my registration to the Pacific Green Party. If enough of us do this, it will send the message that enough is indeed enough & they will be forced to respond or destroy themselves.
As for the Green Party & Jill Stein — this has been a somewhat contentious conversation topic among the Berners & I’d like to throw my 2¢ in. I know that a lot of you are feeling something along the lines of “I’ll never love another candidate again!” but I believe that, whether or not you actually plan on voting Green in November, all of us should “support” the Green Party, now. Let me explain —
At the moment, it is the goal of many activists to get Jill Stein polling at 15%, which is the Commission on Presidential Debate’s polling threshold to participate in the upcoming debates. Basically, I think that this would be wonderful because Stein is a very smart lady & she would make the other two candidates look like idiots, by comparison. At the very least, this will be personally satisfying & provide grade-A entertainment but, at the very most, it could expose the greater American public to issues of actual substance, exposing the inane & vacuous character of the usual conversations — I believe that this would draw even more popular support to the progressive cause, giving us greater leverage over basically everything. Which is good. Soon, I shall be devoting an entire article to this topic, so stay tuned!
Why I will be supporting & engaging in non-violent
demonstration & why I believe that you should, too
Now — while I believe that it will be a good thing to place pressure on the Democratic Party by de-registering & supporting the Green party (both at the polls & with donations), I must say that, after all the treachery & dishonesty that I’ve witnessed over the course of the primaries, I am no longer sure if purely electoral means will be enough to transform this broken system. For this reason, I plan on advocating — with my pen & with my person — non-violent, direct action to transform the broken system into one that works.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “direct action,” I suggest you look it up & do some reading (think MLK, Gandhi, & the recent, peaceful Icelandic revolution). In my view, there is simply too much at stake to sit back & hope the system deals fairly with our movement — the earth is being poisoned, black lives are destroyed without accountability, & our global wars are destabilizing the very foundations of civilization. Enough. Is. Enough.
It is my hope that groups like Democracy Spring,† Black Lives Matter, & others will be stepping into strong visibility & power during the general election season and I hope to be personally involved in demanding that our society be meaningfully transformed for the better, not just with my vote but with my actions.
I want democracy now! Not later.
I want black lives to matter now! Not later.
I want the greedy few to stop poisoning the earth that sustains us now! Not later.
I want all these things now —
& I hope you do, too.
I will be writing more about all of this, very, very soon — but this cafe in Minnesota is closing soon & we have a long way to drive to get back to Oregon. I must away — in the meantime, keep the faith, my friends! Change is coming…
John Laurits #NotMeUs
Recent Articles by John Laurits
The DNC Protests, Part One: Confusion or Sabotage? (7/30) *New!*
The “Democratic” National Convention (7/27) *New!*
We Are Not Defeated (7/26) *New!*
Democracy Spring Demonstration, July 25th *New!*
The Democratic Convention: #MarchForBernie (7/24)
The Game is Up — #DemExit & the #DNCLeaks (7/24)
About Prayers & Violence (7/17)
A Letter to #OurRevolution About Strategy (7/14)
To: Democrats, RE: #IdRatherBern (7/12)
Mathematical Proof That You Are Not Alone (7/10)
To: Bernie — From: #NotMeUs (7/8)
Once More Unto the Breach — #DemocracyOrBust! (7/7)
The Delegate Math + An Urgent Call to Action! (7/5)
New, from the People’s Math Front: The News-REAL (7/4)
#ShowMeTheBallots or No Unity! (7/3)
Let’s Talk About Voter-Suppression (w/ math!) (6/26)
Why I Am #BernieOrBust (& why you should be, too) (6/23)
“How We #BernTheConvention, w/ Updated Math” (6/22)
“No Democracy, No Unity” (6/20)
“What is ‘Democracy?'” (6/14)
“What is #ExitPollGate?” (6/11)
†If you are interested, I published an article on the 25th about Democracy Spring (Click HERE for the link), which includes a video that I personally captured at their demonstration, in which 55 non-violent protesters were arrested.
*A very loving thanks to Mr. Jacob Yona for providing all of the photoshop & photography wizardry. Check out his photo gallery of the DNC protests!
**You can follow John on Twitter @JohnLaurits & (if ye feel so inclined) you may support him by buying him a coffee or shoes that don’t have holes in them HERE.