In the fifteen years since I was last gainfully employed and through two alleged economic recoveries that have transpired since that time, it has been an ongoing source of pain to me that not one person I know has connected me with employment. In that time, I have completed a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, and a Ph.D. It is not like I have nothing to offer.
But to many of my friends, as to the world in general, it is as if I have no value. In my self-introduction page, I write,
Imagine being sealed in a concrete tomb, buried a mile underground. No matter how loudly you scream, no matter how hard you pound your fists on the walls, no one will hear you. This is what my job search often feels like.
But in fact it’s worse. Because some people do hear me. They have a fantasy that something will surely come through for me. They have been saying this, in one form or another, since I lost my last real job in the dot-com crash in 2001. It never happens, but they just carry on with their lives, as year, after year, after year passes.
It is my problem after all, not theirs. But it is a problem I am incapable of solving on my own.
I go on to detail my efforts to find work. But for all that, in all that time, I have had a grand total of three interviews for employment that even remotely reflects my value. I am twisting on the vine here, unable to go anywhere or do anything, because I have so little money. One would think that friends wouldn’t allow friends to suffer so.
But now, with the 2016 election, some of them will surely do something even more egregious. They will vote for one of the presumptive major party candidates. They will do so because, allegedly, “the other guy is worse.”
In doing so, they endorse the sitting president who both is complicit in the war crimes of his predecessor and has committed crimes of his own. They vote for his first Secretary of State, who has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy issue in the last twenty-five years and who invoked 9/11 in defense of her support for and from Wall Street. Let me say it more directly: My friends are voting in support of war crimes. Because, despite this absolute evil, internationally recognized as such at the end of World War II, “the other guy is worse.”
In voting for this candidate, my friends also vote not only for Wall Street, but for neoliberalism, insider influence, and widening social inequality. And this is where the political becomes personal.
It is neoliberalism that so loves the so-called “free market,” that it seeks to apply market principles even to non-economic dilemmas. It is neoliberalism that so loves so-called “free trade,” that it insists workers are better off disposable, unemployed, hungry, scrambling for what little work they can find, and even homeless than they are paying higher prices (but exorbitant rents are A-OK). It is neoliberalism that scapegoats the poor and eviscerates the social safety net that offers any protection for the poor whatsoever. It is neoliberalism that imagines corporate monopolies as benign and labor unions as the proper subjects of aggressive anti-trust enforcement. It is neoliberalism that devalues a liberal education in favor of job training. It is neoliberalism that celebrates greed and reduces all value to profit and loss. It is neoliberalism that slams the door in my face whenever I think I’ve found one that’s open. My friends are voting for this, too. Because, allegedly, “the other guy is worse.”
Look, I understand that Donald Trump is a horrible person. I get that. But when my friends try to rationalize Hillary Clinton as somehow less horrible, they diminish the evil of my condition. And they move from passively allowing me to twist on the vine to actually taking action to harm me.
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- American Conservative, “Which candidates are most likely to be guided by realism and restraint?” February 25, 2016, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-2016-foreign-policy-report-card/; Medea Benjamin, “Hillary Clinton Hasn’t Learned a Thing From the Iraq Experience,” Truthdig, October 29, 2015, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/hillary_clinton_hasnt_learned_a_thing_from_iraq_20151029; Marjorie Cohn, “Want Endless War? Love the U.S. Empire? Well, Hillary Clinton’s Your Choice,” Truthdig, February 1, 2016, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/want_endless_war_love_the_us_empire_hillary_clintons_your_choice_20160201; Greg Grandin, “Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton’s Tutor in War and Peace,” Nation, February 5, 2016, http://www.thenation.com/article/henry-kissinger-hillary-clintons-tutor-in-war-and-peace/; Daniel Larison, “Clinton’s Reliably Bad Foreign Policy,” American Conservative, April 12, 2016, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/clintons-reliably-bad-foreign-policy/; Jackson Lears, “We came, we saw, he died,” review of Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, and HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, London Review of Books 37, no. 3 (February 5, 2015), pp. 8-11, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n03/jackson-lears/we-came-we-saw-he-died; Lauren McCauley, “Critics Aghast at ‘Disgusting Speech’ Clinton Just Gave to AIPAC,” Common Dreams, March 21, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/03/21/critics-aghast-disgusting-speech-clinton-just-gave-aipac; Arnie Seipel, “Why Did Hillary Clinton Say The U.S. Is ‘Where We Need To Be’ In Syria?” National Public Radio, December 20, 2015, http://www.npr.org/2015/12/20/460489791/why-did-hillary-clinton-say-the-u-s-is-where-we-need-to-be-in-syria; Stephen Zunes, “Hillary the Hawk,” Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Winter, 2016, http://www.thecairoreview.com/essays/hillary-the-hawk/; Stephen Zunes, “The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq,” Foreign Policy In Focus, January 26, 2016, http://fpif.org/five-lamest-excuses-hillary-clintons-vote-invade-iraq/↩
- James Downie, “Hillary Clinton’s unbelievable defense of Wall Street contributions,” Washington Post, November 15, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/11/15/hillary-clintons-unbelievable-defense-of-wall-st-contributions/; New York Times, “Hillary Clinton Botches Wall Street Questions,” November 15, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/16/opinion/hillary-clinton-botches-wall-street-questions.html; Janell Ross, “Hillary Clinton invoked 9/11 to defend her ties to Wall Street. What?” Washington Post, November 15, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/11/15/hillary-clinton-invoked-911-to-defend-her-ties-to-wall-street-what/↩
- American Conservative, “After Neoliberalism,” February 25, 2016, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/after-neoliberalism/; Binyamin Appelbaum, “Simmering for Decades, Anger About Trade Boils Over in ’16 Election,” New York Times, March 29, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/business/economy/trade-donald-trump-bernie-sanders.html; Laura Bliss, “The Pessimism of White, Working-Class America,” CityLab, November 17, 2015, http://www.citylab.com/politics/2015/11/the-pessimism-of-white-working-class-america/416379/; Ben Casselman, “The Economy Is Better — Why Don’t Voters Believe It?” FiveThirtyEight, November 12, 2015, http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-economy-is-better-why-dont-voters-believe-it/; Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick, “Wall Street Offers Clinton a Thorny Embrace,” New York Times, July 7, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/us/08wallst.html; Bill Curry, “This is why Hillary’s losing: The issue Jeb Bush and Donald Trump understand, which may keep Clinton from the White House,” Salon, July 26, 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/07/26/this_is_why_hillarys_losing_the_issue_jeb_bush_and_donald_trump_understand_which_may_keep_clinton_from_the_white_house/; Maureen Dowd, “Trade Winds Blow Ill for Hillary,” New York Times, June 20, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-trade-winds-blow-ill-for-hillary.html; Emily Flitter and Grant Smith, “Bush, Clinton are Wall Street’s favorites, donations show,” Reuters, October 16, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/17/us-usa-election-wallstreet-idUSKCN0SA0FU20151017; Thomas Frank, “None of the Bankers Think Hillary Clinton Believes Her Populism, a Financial Journalist Wrote,” Truthout, May 12, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36010-none-of-the-bankers-think-hillary-clinton-believes-her-populism-a-financial-journalist-wrote; Matea Gold, Tom Hamburger, and Anu Narayanswamy, “Clinton blasts Wall Street, but still draws millions in contributions,” Washington Post, February 4, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-blasts-wall-street-but-still-draws-millions-in-contributions/2016/02/04/05e1be00-c9c2-11e5-ae11-57b6aeab993f_story.html; Greg Gordon, “Hillary Clinton got nearly $1.6 million from big banks in 2013,” McClatchy, July 31, 2015, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article29711881.html?rh=1; Jesse Hamilton and Cheyenne Hopkins, “Hillary Clinton Lets Big Banks Off the Hook for Financial Crisis,” Bloomberg, October 2, 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-10-02/hillary-clinton-lets-big-banks-off-the-hook-for-financial-crisis; Simon Head, “Clinton and Goldman: Why It Matters,” New York Review of Books, April 12, 2016, http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/04/12/hillary-clinton-goldman-sachs-why-it-matters/; Patrick Healy, “Wall St. Ties Linger as Image Issue for Hillary Clinton,” New York Times, November 21, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/us/politics/wall-st-ties-linger-as-image-issue-for-hillary-clinton.html; Francine Kiefer, “Why West Virginia is making Democrats nervous,” Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2016, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/0511/Why-West-Virginia-is-making-Democrats-nervous-video; David Lightman, “Is Obama a help or hindrance for ’16 Democrats?” Sacramento Bee, November 14, 2015, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/presidential-election/article44891859.html; Brody Mullins and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Financial Sector Gives Hillary Clinton a Boost,” Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/financial-sector-gives-hillary-clinton-a-boost-1462750725; Robert Parry, “Neocons and Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill,” Common Dreams, May 13, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/12/neocons-and-neolibs-how-dead-ideas-kill; Kim Phillips-Fein, “Obama’s true heir is Hillary Clinton. 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