Last week, I used the occasion of Hipsters of the Coast receiving its first spoiler card to make an apolitical call to vote for our generations. We got some 20k hits on that post, and I hope that my message may have sunk in. But while my desire for full participation in our democracy may be apolitical, with some minor caveats concerning GOP voter suppression efforts, I myself am not. As I would have explained on social media, were I not on a social media fast, I’m with her. And while there’s a positive case to be made for Hillary Clinton, a case which prominently includes the degree to which it does matter to have a woman in the presidency for issues of import like universal childcare and one which takes note of the degree to which the criticisms of Hillary Clinton do come down to double standards about powerful women; my reason for that social media fast is largely tied to anxiety about the prospect of a Trump win, let alone how it seems like the GOP will maintain its control over our legislature, now that the Praetorian Guard has put its thumb on the scale.

Either of those outcomes would be a disaster. Both is a nightmare.

I was raised in GOP country in Pennsylvania. I am familiar with the type of Republicanism which used to inspire the votes of my family and my community. They believed in freedom, not control of the actions of others. They believed in a positive vision of society, and not simply scapegoating their problems onto the disempowered. Their votes came from a place of principle and community, and not fear and hatred. But that Republican party is dead. It was dying when I was young, but the rise of the “Moral Majority”, 1984-style newspeak at its finest, did it in. The fear and hatred inspired by those bible-thumping Crucifictionalists finished the job Nixon started with his Southern Strategy, and by the time Bill Clinton was in office the serious responsibility of running the government was replaced with prurient investigations into whether or not our president relaxed by getting blown in his office, something I personally find far less disturbing a pursuit than shooting your friends while sport-hunting with your political accomplices.

But even the Bush years were a font of principle compared to the open collapse of the governing aspirations of the GOP during the Obama years. The media’s relentless insertion of fnords into the news created the idea that our government was on the precipice under the control of Obama, who had the misfortune of entering office during Bush’s recession, and whose stimulus package was slashed massively by the Republicans who cared more about their political futures than they did about the lives of the people they claim to represent. Instead of trying to fix things, they decided to break the government, using every lever they could to undermine Obama. Since the stakes, as disseminated by a media who thrives on conflict and does everything it can to gin it up, were apocalyptic, the obvious failures of this program of intransigence to resolve the issues actually influencing peoples’ lives lead to greater and greater demands for obstruction, and a “positive” policy slate of fantastical “common sense” solutions which will plunge our country and our world into a state of misery not seen in my lifetime, and probably not in yours either.

At least Bush bothered to claim a compassion he did not express in his policies. When Justice Sotomayor suggested she might use empathy, the ability to see something from the point of view of another, in her jurisprudence the GOP made a point to attack the very idea that the law might care. That’s morally grotesque, as is fitting a party that let the rot of greed and white supremacy take center stage.

But let’s dial down the vitriol, and delve into the policies. I, like Secretary Clinton, am a policy nerd. Perhaps it’s my vocation as a criminologist, my legal education, my studies of Roman politics around the rise of the empire, my identity as an intersectional feminist, my bookishness, my wide breadth of employment, or one of a million other factors . . . but I like to figure out how things work. I like to play out scenarios to figure out what different paths look like before I walk them. As such, I have studied the issues, and in each one there’s a choice between a well-considered policy and a potemkin village. Let’s look at some of the most prominent ones.

On climate change, the choice is between a coalition of kleptocratic greed addicts (like the Koch Brothers) and end-times rapturists (the evangelicals who care so much about god that they debase god’s grandest creation) who are using the decline of the Rust Belt coal industry as cover for a desire to prevent us from seriously addressing climate change. You can see that in Florida, where their GOP governor, a Medicaid fraudster who bought his way to legitimacy, has demanded that state agencies not use the term climate change. Miami is going to be underwater in a few decades unless we act now, but those are the types of games which interest the Republican party when it comes to the impending eco-pocalypse. On the other side, the Democratic party has seriously expressed a desire to address this issue, albeit to a lesser degree than I’d prefer. As we’ve learned from the drip-drip-drip of Russian data-dumps about Clinton’s Wall Street ties, she is going to make an effort to do this in a way least disruptive to the economy and businesses which drive American wealth. So the choice is continued denial as our coastal cities flood versus taking cautious steps to free us from this sword of Damocles. Vote for her.

On the criminal justice system, one choice is a candidate who uses “law and order” to mean suppression of populations he finds to be undesirable, has the enthusiastic backing of basically every police union (and even the FBI), and who promises to let the police, who are already killing civilians at an increased rate (yes, visibility means we see more of it, but the rate itself is increasing), have even less accountability for their abuses. On the other side, we have a candidate whose major criminal justice missteps were made when she was a ceremonial public figure, and who has since made an effort to show that Black Lives Matter. Do you want a modern Praetorian Guard to determine how the country is headed, or do you want the public servants we empower to kill folks in the name of the state to face basic accountability? Vote for her.

On the integrity of the judicial system, the choice is even more stark. For the first time in my life we have an opportunity to flip the Supreme Court, a chance to ensure that there is an end to this deregulating, pro-Lochner, oligarchic nonsense that has underpinned the jurisprudence of the court’s conservative half. Because either Trump is going to select terrible people for that lifetime appointment, in which case we have a future Supreme Court run by short-sighted bully Chris Christie, or he’ll abdicate his role in the process and let the religious right, represented by VP candidate Mike Pence, choose his picks for him. That would be its own type of disastrous, because their top priority is the repeal of Roe and Obergefell, which would mean more government entanglement in determining what women can do with their bodies, what type of relationships are allowed between consenting adults. With a trans rights case at the court right now, one that’s likely tied four to four unless we get another justice appointed before it’s resolved, the election of Trump means a world in which there’s a transphobic return to Bowers v Hardwick, a world in which people like me are prevented by law from using appropriate restrooms, which means more potty cops and more cis people having really bad days because they get mistaken for trans. On the other side, Hillary Clinton is a firm defender of Roe, of Obergefell, and of Citizens United. Justice for the people, versus justices that mock the people. Vote for her.

I could go on. Not only does Hillary Clinton have a thorough issues page, but she’s also spent decades of her life working to improve the greater good. Sure, she’s fucked up here and there; I challenge you to find someone who hasn’t. But Clinton’s errors are things like being overly polite and solicitous to companies that were willing to pay her to speak to them, listening to the wrong people when figure-heading criminal justice reform in the 1990s, or trusting men. Basically, the things we hate about Hillary Clinton, from the “email scandal” to her relationship with the media, all boil down to a question of the people in whom she places her trust.

That’s very different from Donald Trump. Trump’s issue is a continued violation of the trust of everyone who would give it to him. Trump made what fortune he has (and it’s far less than he claims) on the backs of taking shortcuts like using cheap imported steel, getting his concrete from the mob, and failing to pay back everyone from the banks that lent him money to the small businesses he hired to do his work. The “grab her by the pussy” tape, in which Trump brags of being a sexual predator (only to claim now that every single person who says “Trump did to me the thing he bragged that he did” is a liar), is so utterly damning because it speaks to his casual contempt for the agency of others. It doesn’t matter if you have a contract, a social norm, or even the force of the law behind you. The whole appeal of the Donald Trump public image is that if he wants to fuck a person he’ll fuck that person. Dominance politics, played out on the bodies of many women he’s deemed attractive, and thus valuable.

So do you want to vote for the man whose policies are incoherent, whose ascendancy would mean great trauma for a significant percentage of the nation, and whose personal character shows an inability to let a slight go by without attacking its deliverer repeatedly and against his own interest? A vengeful man who has no concept of consent, leading a government which only controls us because we consent to it? Or do you want the woman, who happens to be a gunner nerd, and who has spent decades having her public image attacked by a media that’s rigged against reality?

I’m with her. Please join me in casting your ballot for Hillary Clinton on November 8th. It’s the difference between life continuing on in basically the same vein, something convenient for all us fans of a relatively expensive pastime, and us having a Brexit-esque dystopian economic collapse. It’s a choice between increased state violence against civilians versus reforming the systems that let the state murder with impunity. It’s a choice between a woman who has shown she cares about others, over and over again, and a man who has shown he doesn’t give a fuck about anything but himself, over and over again. It’s a choice between rewarding a political party that sold its soul for political power, and their vicious plan for what to do once they seize it, and voting for a party whose greatest criticism is that it’s more corporate than we’d like (though far less than the GOP), and which has put forward the most progressive party platform this country has ever seen.

Play to your outs, America. Vote for her. I am.

Jess Stirba is voting for her.

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