It took me a long time to write this. I had to dig deep into my being to come up with these words. I'm recanting my endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
I'm aware of how vindictive Clintonians can be. I'm not speaking about the Clintons themselves, but of those surrounding them. Perhaps the saying is true: dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres. Your staff, your donors, your surrogates, and those you surround yourself with are a reflection of who you truly are, no? If not, why not curb any unacceptable behavior? Silence, indifference, or inaction is as incriminatory-at least to me.
There has been no repudiation, let alone denunciation, of what was said in those emails-just denial, finger pointing, and doublespeak. To appoint the very same folks who carried out many malicious behaviors to tip the scales for Hillary is just as unpardonable. Why reward unethical behavior? It's mind-boggling.
I rebuke with my heart, mind, and soul all the twisted narratives of sexism, misogyny, racism, and classism lay at our feet. Though some of them are legitimate, most were used to derail valid grievances from our communities and completely erase us. Our voices were drowned out by empty accusations, by a nefarious usage of identity politics recommended by one of our own, no less. That is a bamboozling of POC and unsuspecting allies. This is why Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve our vote, among many other reasons.
Many of us have been groundlessly accused of being politically illiterate, of having a conscience, and of being idealistic for expecting fairness. As if caring about our fellow human beings and we was such a bad thing. Without our love for others, without empathy, we are nothing but empty vessels, carcasses without souls, worthy of none of the things we cherish the most. Fairness is ingrained in our brains. If you don't really care much for it then you might just be a psychopath or a made sociopath. There's no going around that. Are you one? I hope not.
Bernie Sanders was treated horribly by the DNC, the Clinton crew, and the Obama administration, and by proxy, many of us were also stung. Without any apologies. In fact, we received nothing but contempt from the Clinton campaign and her surrogates. Then they expected us to fall in formation. Many of us did. I said I would endorse Hillary if she won the primary fair and square. And I did, but that was before I got a hold of all the highly unethical things that happened to get her to win.
I'm not telling you not to vote for her. I'm aware of what is at stake. The Supreme Court and a petulant man-child that might quicken the apocalypse, I know. I'm telling you that I'm no longer endorsing her. Vote with your conscience. Vote strategically. Or don't. It's your prerogative.
I've seen how our heroes, activists, journalists, and celebrities have completely sold their souls to support something no person with an iota of morality would do. I've seen them say and do things to derail candidates who would have been a million times better for those less fortunate around us. It's unfortunate most pretend to fight the establishment, to act like they love the people more than they love the struggle and the relevance that it brings them. I am not one of those and I won't continue to be until the good Lord takes me.
Yes, I am heartbroken, I am angry, I am defeated, but I will rise and continue to advocate for you, for my people, for those that don't have a voice. But I refuse to be a pawn, a conduit of their oppression, of their disenfranchisement, of their brutalization, of their exploitation, of their lives and deaths. That's what a Hillary Clinton endorsement means to me.
You may vote for whomever you wish. Or don't. But please, think of the repercussions before you cast it and never stop holding elected officials and their water-bearers accountable for how they've treated, treat, and will continue to treat you and me.
César Vargas is a writer, director, strategist, and advocate. He founded UPLIFTT and was named one of 40 under 40: Latinos in American Politics. His op-eds and quotes can be found on the Huffington Post, Latino Rebels, Okayafrica, Okayplayer, NBC, Latino Magazine, Fox News, Sky News, NBC, Salon, The Hill, and the Guardian. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.