All Lives Could Matter Someday

Last week I was in Amsterdam and a young guy asked me where I was from. The States, I said. Washington State. Ah, he said. Lot's going on there right now, huh? Yup. It's a real circus. Well you know that's what it is, don't you? It's all a game? You know you have no real choice, right?

That is what more and more of us, those who are listening, are finding out right now, and it is scaring the shit out of us. I know what some of you are thinking. Here we go, another conspiracy theorist. Or, here we go, another young idealist. And you would be right. I am 31 years old, a child of the '80s, a millennial. And yes, we are idealistic. But perhaps you should consider the narrative that led you to believe that idealism is wrong.

When you get older, you'll see. This is just how life is. Nobody said life was supposed to be fair.

We were raised on the idea that society is fixed, unchanging, and that it is in our best interest to leave it undisturbed. Assuming that could have been true once, it no longer is. When we look back, it is the MLKs, the Harvey Milks, the Betty Friedans, who stand out because they stood up for what was right and just in the face of corrupt opposition.

Isn't having a fair system the least that we deserve? Can't we ask that the people who hold the power over us be democratic, transparent, and just? Shouldn't they be acting in the best interest of the people? All of the people, not just the rich and white and powerful? And now that we have seen what the DNC and Clinton have done, how can we still believe them? Do they really want to defeat Trump, or would they rather have him over Sanders? Clinton is now losing to Trump (again) in the polls. Losing to Trump. Meanwhile, Sanders has a double-digit lead over the orange megalomaniac. It begs the question: Would the DNC rather have Trump over Sanders? They would never admit it, but they're not in the business of transparency. Bernie, though, does not want Trump to win, and he could defeat him.

Most millenials want equality, compassion, and justice. But sometimes we feel so powerless. And it's no wonder we feel powerless when we see exchanges like this one. When we know that the media is manipulating us, that our votes are being suppressed, that we are being silenced. The system that we think is set in place to allow us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is actually more about the rich getting richer, and profiting off of our suffering and lack of control. It's no wonder that we feel powerless when we are forced into giving our votes over to the institutions that are oppressing us.

Revolutions are not easy. We thought we were getting change with Obama, and we did. He did so many wonderful things for this country and I am so thankful that he has been in office, doing the best he can in the face of Republican opposition and obstinance. But we need to keep moving forward, and in order to do so we require a change that will allow us to break out of the two-party system that is keeping so many of our voices out of the conversation. This kind of revolution requires a collective will that our parents' generation has lost over time. How many times have you heard someone saying things like, Well sure, Bernie Sanders has a wonderful message, and I'd vote for him if he had a chance, but he can never win - and how many times did you tell them that if they would just vote for what they believe is right, good, and moral, instead of what their party tells them, then maybe we could fix this broken system?

We need to start speaking up for what we want. Not out of fear. Not with our hands tied behind our backs.

If we forget we have more than two choices, there will soon be no choice at all.

Trump is the worst, most dangerous candidate in our political history. I do not want him to be our leader. The idea is horrifying -- a man who thinks the 50s is a time that we need to return to. But what if he does win? Would we finally sink low enough to actually do something?

We have a choice to vote with our hearts, which is what we should have been doing all along. Maybe enough people will be so scared of Trump that they really will vote for Clinton even if it does not sit well with them. But should we be forced to vote out of fear? What's democratic about that? Is that not conceding that we are fine with being suppressed, and cheated, and lied to? It's a terrifying idea. I know. And I understand that others have much more to fear than I do. But should that make me complacent? Should I be forced to vote out of fear? Or should it make me want to fight even harder for those of us with the least amount of power and privilege, those who will continue to be oppressed and ignored by Clinton and the DNC?

For some, voting for Clinton is simply not an option anymore. The DNC needs to take that seriously. We all need to take that seriously. These people are the Bernie Sanders supporters who were brought in, or brought back to politics because they finally heard someone saying things that resonated with them. They knew that what he was saying was right. It was just. He actually cared about humanity and they could feel that. He gets it. He really gets it. And those people who felt such enthusiasm were cheated out of their right to vote. They saw it happening right in front of their eyes and nobody believed them. And what did Hillary Clinton do about it? Did she agree that it was wrong, and make things right? No. It would be hard to make that case when she and her friends are the ones doing the suppressing. It would be hard to make that case when she rewarded this behavior. Well, did she at least give progressives a VP that they could be enthusiastic about? No. So those people will not be voting for Hillary Clinton, and anyone who tries to force them to should try to understand just why they can't. What we need in order to beat Trump is enthusiasm, the kind of enthusiasm that we have for Sanders, but not for Clinton.

If Clinton wins, we will dodge one hell of a bullet, sure. But what will we do next? Will we be brave enough to tell them that we don't want to listen anymore? After we know that they really don't care about us at all? That our votes really aren't going to matter? We can't continue to let money run politics, and in turn, dictate our lives. We still have other choices.

So yes, a Trump presidency would be horrific, but we have to move beyond the fear. I know it's a huge risk. It would mean rock bottom. But no matter what happens we can never forget that real and lasting political change always comes from the bottom up.

Life can be fair if we choose with our hearts and do what we think is right. Choosing from your heart means doing your research to find out which candidate is passionate about the same issues that you are passionate about. We all need to do this -- democrats, republicans, independents -- anyone who has a vote to cast. We need use that vote to speak for ourselves and for those without the power to. We may not all agree on everything, but I still want to have faith in humanity. I believe that we all have a moral compass, regardless of our stations in life, our religions or lack thereof, and we can use that compass to create a country that we can be proud of. What direction would you choose if you believed you actually had a choice?

I understand that in the end many people are just too frightened of Trump to worry about their hearts right now. Fair enough. So all I ask is that you think about how hard this is for you, how hard it is going to be to vote for someone who you don't believe, or believe in. Just remember that so that you will keep fighting for progress no matter what. If we remember how it felt not to have a choice then maybe we will make the changes necessary to ensure that all votes, and all lives really do matter.