Pax title card

My vote belongs to me

[Image: Partial headshot of Pax with the words: Pax Ahimsa Gethen | queer * black * trans * vegan * atheist | blogger * photographer | gender & animal liberation | pronouns: they * them * their]

Note/reminder: I am affiliated with no political party and endorse no presidential candidate at this time.

I’ve been watching some of the Democratic National Convention while following the coverage in The Guardian, as I did with the Republican convention.

First, I will congratulate Hillary Clinton on becoming the first female presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. I’m phrasing it that way rather than “major” party as the media has, because I’m tired of candidates like Cynthia McKinney (who I voted for in 2008) and Jill Stein (who I voted for in 2012) being relegated to “minor” status. Regardless, I can acknowledge her historic achievement just as I acknowledged Barack Obama’s, even though I didn’t vote for him either.

Hillary Clinton does not “own” my vote any more than Obama did. A candidate cannot “steal” or “take away” a vote from another candidate that was not theirs to begin with. I have not voted for a Democrat for president since 1992, and don’t intend to now, regardless of which state I live in or who the Republican opponent is.

Being black in no way obligates me to support the Democratic Party. While there certainly are “Bernie Bros” that have displayed racism and sexism, it disgusts me that supporters of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are being told that they are flaunting their white privilege just by backing these candidates. While I do have economic privilege, I am still black, trans, and in a same-sex marriage. I have plenty to be worried about in a Donald Trump administration, but I am still not voting for Hillary Clinton.

If Trump is elected—and I will not be surprised if he is—the only people I will blame are the people who actually voted for him. As Michael Moore pointed out, these voters will include some people who don’t really understand or care what is at stake, and just want to shake things up. I will blame them too, but I will not blame his presidency on anyone who voted for a third-party candidate, or chose not to vote at all.

If you want to vote for Clinton, by all means do so. Campaign for her if you like. But do not tell me that I am in any way obligated to vote for her or any other Democratic candidate. My vote belongs to me.

8 thoughts on “My vote belongs to me”

  1. I know full well my vote will not make much of a difference in an election where the vast majority of voters will be driven to vote for the lesser of two evils.

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