The Moral Voting – And It’s NOT….
By Maxine Nodel
My older sister (a former sixties war protester, now upper-middle-class, white-progressive, Jewish wife of a progressive doctor) recently went to her doctor on Long Island’s affluent Miracle Mile. Her nurse, a gentle, young Muslim woman who wore a delicately wrapped hijab, was taking my sister’s vitals when the two got into a conversation about the upcoming election.
My sister confessed that she would be voting for Hillary, because she despised Trump’s visceral hatred and feared the fascist society a Trump/Putin presidency would bring. The nurse became teary-eyed and asked my sister if she could give her a hug- perhaps because she had found an ally in an unlikely place- a place where many affluent whites don’t openly show concern for the plight of American Muslim women. Perhaps it was because she is frightened. The reason is both.
“I’m so scared Trump’s going to win,” uttered the nurse as my sister embraced her warmly back.
When my sister told me this story, I realized there are two types of ‘progressive’ voters: 1) those voting for Hillary, because they want to protect people like this nurse- an American Muslim women (as well as other minorities who are often victimized by Trumpian Americans and who will certainly be victimized further if Trump wins) and, 2) those voting “their heart or conscience” by supporting a third-party candidate like Jill Stein. To them, a Stein vote symbolizes a detachment from the ‘corrupt’ corporate infrastructure of a two-party US political system.
In addition, their Jill Stein votes symbolize the support they have for Palestinians whom they feel are the victims over there in Israel. This is because many Jill Stein voters are anti-Israel ‘progressive’ Jews and Christians who care deeply and empathetically about the plight of Palestinians. Ironically and tragically, they do not appear to care deeply and empathetically for Muslims here. If they did, they would be voting in the context of the “greater good” as opposed to the “LEV” (lesser evil vote) as Noam Chomsky coins it. They would be voting for Hillary to protect Muslims (and others) in this country.
Even Noam Chomsky acknowledges and suggests in his “8-Point Rationale for Voting for the Lesser Evil Presidential Candidate,” that not voting for Hillary will have horrific consequences for millions of people in this country. Chomsky writes:
“The suffering which these and other similarly extremist [Trumpian] policies and attitudes will impose on marginalized and already oppressed populations has a high probability of being significantly greater than that which will result from a Clinton presidency.”
As these ‘progressives’ vote for Stein they are, in effect, annihilating their own ideology by indirectly voting for Trump who will do everything in his power to deport/incarcerate the types of people Stein voters desperately want to protect in Israel. It’s as if Jill Stein voters care more about Muslims abroad than they do about American Muslims and other “marginalized” groups here. In this case, voting “their heart and/or conscience” means voting against the candidate more equipped to protect the human rights of those groups attacked by the undereducated, white, xenophobic Trump Americans.
Of course, everyone wants to vote for the candidate who embraces their deepest ideologies. But author, Olivia Goldhill, of “Unprincipled Voting,” writes that “fervent idealism that places support for a certain candidate above all practical consequences of that support, is foolhardy. According to ethicists, it’s also immoral.” Jason Brennan, author of The Ethics of Voting and a philosophy professor at Georgetown University, succinctly delineates what voting for the greater good means:
“The purpose of voting is not to express your fidelity to a worldview. It’s not to wave a flag or paint your face in team colors; it’s to produce outcomes…. If they’re smart, they’ll vote for the candidate likely to best produce the outcome they want. That might very well be compromising, but if voting for a far-left or far-right candidate means that you’re just going to lose the election, then you’ve brought the world further away from justice rather than closer to it.”
Those choosing to vote for Jill Stein voters (or choosing to stay home on Tuesday) will be bringing “the world further away from justice rather than closer to it.” Instead of bringing Bernie Sanders closer to the place where he can affect more progressive change and recruit more progressives, Stein protest voters (or those refusing to vote) will be indirectly helping to destroy decades of all the hard-fought progressive policy triumphs we’ve had in this country: everything from social security – to union protection – to civil rights victories – to a woman’s right to choose – to marriage equality, etc.
The bottom line is that
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote for Trump.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote to overturn Roe v Wade.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote to increase the US maternal death rate.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote for the KKK and neo-Nazi groups to hanging black dummies from their yards next to their Trump signs and assault minorities.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote for reversing marriage equality.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote against women.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote for increasing police brutality.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote to deport Mexicans and Muslims.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is vote to destroy and displace families.
- A vote for Stein (or staying home) is a vote for having a sexual predator narcissist near our nuclear buttons.
The Muslim American nurse who cared for my sister does not have the luxury of voting for Jill Stein or staying home on Tuesday. This nurse is voting for Hillary to save her own life and the lives of others victimized by the ultra-right hatemongers in this country- the scum that Trump has drudged up from the belly of ‘good Christian’ hypocrisy.
I hope the Jill Stein voters (or those wanting to stay home on Tuesday) will realize in their hearts and intellects that a vote for Hillary does not make them less progressive but, in fact, does make them more progressive. They will be allowing their understanding of the greater good to enable them to do the moral thing: to temporarily ‘trump’ and transcend their hatred of our two-party corporately-controlled system as to protect their most vulnerable and precious fellow citizens (and themselves) from the hands of fascism. – THIS is why Bernie wants his supporters to follow his lead; he understands that change is a process, not an event such as a self-destructive, knee-jerk third-party vote.
Please share this post with anyone you know who is planning on voting for Stein.
For those who are thinking of writing in Bernie, please share this post: https://justnomore.com/news/some-of-us-have-loved-bernie-for-35-years-and-we-still-do/