I’ve seen a few pieces circulating on Facebook from various voices on the left addressing the so called #BernieorBust movement — most recently in the form of Mari Brighe’s article in Bustle “The #BernieorBust Movement Throws Marginalized People Under the Bus” and George Takei’s video urging voters to #Votebluenomatterwho. The argument being that marginalized groups will suffer more greatly under a Trump presidency than a Hillary one, so people should get over their self-righteous ideals (and white privilege) and vote for her. In Brighe’s words, “I’m not asking you to show Clinton the same exuberant support you’ve shown Sanders. I’m not even really asking you to be happy about voting for her in November, should that be the way things fall. I’m just asking you to look past your signs, your ideals, your clever slogans and your movement, and realize that you’re standing on our necks.”
As a Palestinian-American woman with family living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, I find these pieces at best patronizing and at worst coercive. They’re engaging in a passive-aggressive silencing of injustice and violence that have resulted from and will continue through proposed Clinton policy. The frequent refrain in Brighe’s article and oft-echoed by other voices on the left — that Sanders supporters are white and male — also engages in a convenient erasure of Sanders supporters who do not fit that description. ( Linda Sarsour, Rosario Dawson, Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon, Residente, anyone?)
Brighe’s article, which argues that abstaining from voting for Hillary is a privileged position and throws marginalized people under the bus, is not only the height of irony, given Clinton’s aggressive foreign and domestic policy, but also highly triggering. Although the West Bank and Gaza may seem like an abstraction for the average American citizen, American foreign policy is anything but abstract for the Palestinians who live under the constant siege of a dehumanizing Israeli occupation which is cosigned and supported by an overblown US military aid package to the tune of 3 billion dollars a year. The occupation, which enforces an apartheid like system on the Palestinians, places restrictions on every day life and controls access to resources such as water and electricity. Additionally, Palestinians face the threat of home demolitions, arrest without charge, and daily humiliations at the hands of Israeli soldiers, as well as horrifying extrajudicial killings, all while illegal Israeli settlements continue to expand onto already dwindling Palestinian land.
Read more about injustices here: “A Synopsis of the Current Situation In Israel/Palestine”
Hillary Clinton of all the presidential candidates has come out as the most committed to continuing her uncritical and unwavering support of Israeli policy. She’s written an open letter of support to Right-wing Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in which she vows to fight to dismantle BDS — Boycott, Divestment, Sanction — the Palestinian Civil Rights movement aimed at non-violently ending the occupation.
And in her most recent speech to AIPAC (The American Israeli lobby) she spoke even more aggressively, attacking Donald Trump for saying he would remain neutral on Israel and Palestine, once again stating that she’d fight BDS, and revealing that she’d like to block any UN security council measure aimed at deterring the further growth of illegal settlements.
Clinton’s unwavering support for Israel’s political aggression is just one instance in which her foreign policy throws marginalized people under the bus. Her policies have been devastating for various countries throughout Latin America, the Middle East, and nationally. People such as Carnegie Endowment fellow, Mahroh Jahangiri, have noted the irony of Clinton’s supporters using the progressive guise of feminism in their support of her,
“When Clinton supporters refuse to apologize for liking her, or refuse to qualify their support of her, they are saying they do not have to listen to or prioritize the voices of women she has locked up- or blown up- in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, or Pakistan.”
Clinton’s aggressive foreign policy doesn’t just set her apart from her key democratic opponent Bernie Sanders. In a recent feature, the NY times wrote, “Neither Donald Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz have demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.”
Ultimately, nobody should be guilted into voting for ANY candidate who does not speak to them or to their core values — let alone one who is demonstrably against them. When someone argues that abstaining in voting for Hillary Clinton would somehow make you responsible for a Trump presidency, it’s an insidious strategy that erases the experiences of people such as Palestinians who would suffer devastating effects under a Hillary presidency. It’s at once manipulative and dangerously tone deaf.