Despite Bernie Sanders clinging desperately to his chances of nomination like the country itself depended upon him to be the only rational choice in an otherwise catch-22 election, I feel comfortable saying that the next American presidential election will be a catch-22 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton representing the downward spiral that is the American status quo, and Trump representing the harbinger of the end of days.

I don’t want to spend that much time covering why Trump is the absolute worst person imaginable. He thinks building a giant concrete wall is somehow financially feasible or that the president has that kind of bullying power over another country. He thinks censoring the press is something reasonable to do within a democracy. He disparages women with superficial insults, and thinks that Hitler had the right idea when it came to handling an ideology that differed from his own. Honestly I feel stupid for even writing this out because if you haven’t figured out that Donald Trump is a terrible human being by now, then literally nothing I write is going to convince you. That being the case, moving right along.

However, Clinton’s status quo isn’t much better. The democratic party to which she is aligned, under Obama has deported more people than any previous president. For a political party to condemn Trump’s wall “solution” to illegal immigration, their own draconian practices really shouldn’t reflect the spirit of that wall. Obama also ordered ten times more drone strikes than President Bush, among them the assassination of an American citizen whose crime essentially amounted to hate speech. Closing down the torture prison for Muslims, despite being a campaign promise of 2008, also seems to have been forgotten eight God damn years later. What kind of hypocrisy is it to lambaste the bombastic xenophobia of one admittedly insane individual while grudgingly accepting it within the so-called progressive party of the United States?

That’s the democratic party though, not Clinton, so despite her being fully indoctrinated into its corporate culture, there’s still a chance she might distance herself from its less-than-illustrious past, right? Well, except she kinda voted in favour of that whole Iraq war thing, which greatly destabilized the region beyond its already pretty-much-fucked state of affairs, giving birth to everyone’s favourite terrorist group: ISIS. Clinton, in true politico fashion, prudently regrets the decision now that the whole world knows what a shitty idea it was. Of course, she would have known it then too, if she had actually read the information that was available at the time. This is what we want from a president: gross neglect when it comes to matters of global affairs. Like how she’s facing criminal charges for her mishandling of classified information by using her private, unsecured email server, despite multiple warnings to desist. People rightfully belittle Trump for his many business failures to contrast his claimed acumen, but Clinton’s facade of competency should face similar criticism.

At least she’s not clamouring to ban all Muslims! However, not being Hitler-esque in one’s policies is a really low bar. This article from Al Jazeera makes a compelling argument about the problem with the way Clinton frames the Islamic controversy. She forces Islam into a binary of radical Muslim terrorists on the one hand, and ‘good’ Muslim moderates on the other. This binary ignores the many facets that make up human beings, and resorts to defining Muslims solely in their relationship to terrorism. Within this framework, Islam is still incontrovertibly linked to terror, and it is only the measure of dedication that one has to their religion that denotes one’s likelihood of committing terrorist acts. Again, it’s not Hitler, but it’s not really ameliorating the situation either.

Clinton would also mark the very first woman president, meaning a victory for women akin to the one Obama’s election had for black communities: Pyrrhic. What are Clinton’s plans for low-income and part-time workers, the majority of whom are women? How does Clinton plan to help with child care? Having a female president does not accomplish much for feminism if most of the problems facing women are social and economic, and that president is corporatist in her politics.

So what are Americans to do? I originally wanted to sarcastically suggest voting for Trump, but now even joking about that makes me gag. I mean he’s to the left of Clinton on some issues, so he’s got that going for him, but he’s just as imbecilic about those policies as he is about his right wing beliefs. He advocates for local industry in lieu of global manufacturing which would greatly improve the domestic economy, yet produces all his own products in China. He wants to get corporate money out of politics, and brags about financing his own campaign, ignoring the fact that he himself is quite literally an anthropomorphic corporation. He’s even maintained some fairly progressive opinions during his political flip-flopping, and has come out both for and against gay marriage, which I guess you can call a draw. An article I read that I don’t care to find again because I don’t remember the source speculated that the danger with Trump wasn’t his radical ideology, but the uncertainty of which position he actually held on any given topic.

Chris Hedges in his book The Death of the Liberal Class says that voting for the “less worse” party (ie. the democrats) can only serve to push the acceptable political ideology further in that worse direction, and concessions to the right become a constant. Anyone left of Fox News only has the one option after all, so Americans end up with candidates like Clinton whose most admirable characteristic is that she is not Donald Trump, yet who is by no means a reasonable person to lead a country.

What do you do when the extent of your political influence as a citizen only allows you the choice between a neglectful criminal and a psychopath? Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau very diplomatically said that he would work with whomever was elected, and that the Canadian/American relationship goes beyond the personalities of two individuals. This eloquently illustrates the common mentality of individuals in a contemporary democracy: accept the state of affairs for the sake of stability and maybe grumble about it privately at the water cooler. If either candidate is elected, Americans will very likely continue on with their lives, hoping that in four years their choices will be better. Yet my repeated analogy to Hitler is pertinent to this mentality: at what point is a society morally obligated to abandon traditional means of political change and opt for the non-traditional? Ought a society to continue to accept an escalating criminality in their leadership, trusting that the only potential for change is an increasingly meaningless democratic system?

Noam Chomsky’s theory is that people have forgotten other political processes in favour of blindly focusing on the carnival we call an election. To steal his line because he is much smarter than me and delightfully sarcastic, “Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world.” By retaining this focus as the only option for political participation, citizens do not even consider the activist route as a means of altering the course of their Hindenburg of a country. If the political system has failed, and it most certainly has, then it is up to the people to make the necessary changes to improve their country.

It is my understanding that citizen-based political reform outside of the incumbent structures of their system is called…

ANARCHY!

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