I wasn’t “Bernie or Bust” until the New York Debate. One exchange sealed it.


I wasn’t “Bernie or Bust” until the New York Debate. One exchange sealed it.

By James Schlarmann

Modern Liberals

Sometimes I know when I’m going to write something that will anger a lot of people. As a comedian, those are some interesting times. Because my first instinct is to make you laugh, and it’s hard to make people laugh when they hate your guts. Although Dane Cook seems to be doing just fine and everyone hates him.

Wait. What?

Bernie Sanders socialismThis is one of those times. There are going to be a lot of angry responses on Facebook, and maybe in the comments on this piece, telling me I’m helping Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or anyone the GOP decides to pick at its contested convention, win the presidency. They’re entitled to their opinions, and I expect the vitriol.

I’m now, officially, “Bernie or Bust.”

I have plans to put out a little “listicle” of six reasons why I came to this decision, but I thought a decision like this warranted me going in-depth as to what finally pushed me over the edge. If not for those of you out there who ultimately don’t give a fuck what my opinion on this subject is, than for myself.

Once I’m done voting for Sanders in my state’s primary I will re-register as an independent. If he doesn’t win the nomination, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, because I cannot in good conscience do so after hearing and watching the exchange she and Sanders had on Israel’s abhorrent 2014 air strikes against Hamas that left approximately 2,100 Palestinians dead. All Hillary would have had to do to satisfy me — not that she’s required to of course — would be to say what Sanders did. Essentially, that Israel of course has a right to defend itself from terrorism, but that the response they gave was way, way over the line.

Hillary instead kept pushing out talking points about Hamas, where they put their bunkers and weapons caches, and essentially arguing like a neocon would that Israel just had to initiate air strikes in a way that they knew would cause massive civilian casualties. To me, that sounds like utter bullshit. But more importantly, it solidifies in my mind that Hillary would be no different than an 80’s or 90’s era Republican on foreign policy, and “an eye for an eye” still leaves everyone blind.

There can be no doubt in anyone’s minds that Hamas is an agitator. They are a terrorist organization, and they should be rooted out and brought to justice to face trial for their crimes. But to defend an Israeli response that left 2,100 noncombatants dead is just repugnant to me, on any level. Clinton gets so much right about so many other issues, and I am not a one-issue voter, but I cannot in any way justify voting for someone who can’t at least be honest with Benjamin Netanyahu and tell him he went too far.

That exchange spoke to my biggest “beef” with Clinton.

I love her views on things like women’s health — when she’s not saying she’d compromise if she got something out of it. I love her views on the environment — when she’s not pushing fracking world-wide when we know for a fact there are major environmental concerns with it. Her triangulation is maddening. I don’t want to vote for someone who I know going into it is so politically cynical that she’s been on nearly every side of every issue.

Had 2,100 terrorists perished in the strikes and much, much fewer civilians had it would be a little different. Still wrong to someone like me who believes in bringing criminals to justice and trying them in court. But at least she wouldn’t be boldly defending a policy that left over 2,000 innocent people — many of them women and children — dead. She can’t possibly think that’s good policy right?

And yes, like Ms. Clinton said last night, Hamas does intentionally put their shit where they know collateral damage will be greatest. My question is why she thinks that excuses Israel playing right into the terrorists’ fucking hands by attacking those places in the most heavy-handed, hyperbolic methods imaginable.It seems like Hillary is defending the fact that Israel decided to swat a fly with a bomb. It makes no sense to me.

The kinds of foreign policy initiatives Clinton believes in dump billions of dollars into defense contractors’ coffers. But isn’t that funding that could go to many of the programs progressives want but she says are too much to ask for because we “can’t afford them?” Everywhere I turn, I find problems with Hillary’s foreign policy, and that in the end, it’s too much for me in good conscience to vote for her. And the thing is — Bernie’s thoughts aligned better with mine, and I think he spoke the truth — Israel has a right to defend itself, but it doesn’t have the right to do things that had they been done by terrorists some would have been calling for blood in the streets.

How many civilians died on 9/11? How many died in the 2014 Gaza attacks? Maybe now you see my point?

I didn’t write this to convince anyone else to go Bernie or Bust. If you’re in a swing state and you don’t want Republicans picking the next Supreme Court Justice, maybe you shouldn’t risk it. But I don’t live in a state like that, and that does give me the privilege of using my vote more symbolically. And at the end of the day — no one gets to tell me how to vote, and no one will bully, taunt or tease me into voting a way I don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Hillary will make an okay president if she’s elected. She’s well-qualified. But this election is about more than R’s and D’s. It’s about the direction we want this country to go in. And I, a silly fucking clown who loves to mock the powers that be, think we should move the goalposts away from regime change, and away from a rubber stamp approval of everything Israel does.

That’s just one douchebag’s opinion though. You’ll find plenty more douchebags’ opinions that disagree with me out there too.



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