Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

I’m With Jill

So, the core Clinton campaign message has devolved to “We can’t have Trump and not voting for me is a vote for Trump, so, you must vote for me”. But, I don’t. On the contrary, trump clintonI don’t think I want electing Hillary Clinton and her version of white supremacy on my head.  In the 2008 campaign, she co-signed a subtle but clear racism in her attempt to win the nomination, the most memorable examples being her surrogate, Bob Johnson, commenting that Bill Clinton was more of Black man than Barack Obama because he had slept with more Black women and her pressuring Obama to denounce both Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. She has argued Dr. King’s dream was realized with the passage of the Civil Rights Act,  made no attempt to apologize for her depiction of young black men as “super predators” and was an integral part of the team that has intensified The New Jim Crow.  As if this was not enough, Hillary Clinton has solidified American imperialism in Haiti by preventing an increase in minimum wage to .61 and her private server emails show she pressured Haitian officials to change results from the first round presidential elections in 2010. As Marian Wright Edelman stated in July of 2007, “You know, Hillary Clinton is an old friend, but they are not friends in politics.”

Following the 2000 election in which Nader received 2.75% of the popular vote, the Democratic Party blamed Al Gore’s inability to win an election on the 2.75% of Americans who chose to vote for the candidate they felt was most qualified and not their party’s platform or the Florida Supreme Court. Since that election, the Green Party has not received more than 1% of the popular vote (This year, Presidential candidates must receive an average of 15% across 5 polling bodies selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates is needed to gain entrance into national televised debates) which leads me to believe the Democratic Party’s argument that a third party is responsible for the Bush years has been successful.

My interests in this election are quite simple – it is about being a part of the long game to establish a legitimate third party that is a threat to win an election. I have conceded this election – Trump or Clinton – to me the difference is not enough that I in good faith would vote for either. I survived Bush, I survived Obama, I hope to survive Clinton or Trump – neither represents the radical change we need from the current status quo. Stein, like most “progressively left” candidates has shown limitations in her able to critique white supremacy, but she is in support of reparations, tuition-free public colleges, and the demilitarization of the police. This is a vision I will support. If we acknowledge a vote for Clinton or Trump is a vote for evil, why not invest in a third party? the evil is coming regardless.

 

Did The Clinton Campaign Appropriate The Good Words of Jesse Williams?

Jesse WilliamsSo, I want to add my reaction to the many out there re: Jesse Williams’ fiyah spoken word piece at the BET awards, and actually not his words, those I appreciate and recognize from social media, but to the backdrop of his speech, to the people I feel like benefited as much as us at home watching and that is the Democratic Party and presumptive Democratic Party Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton. To my eye, clearly the folks at BET have returned to the side of Hillary Clinton for the 2016 election (you’ll remember the former owner, Bob Johnson, endorsed Clinton over Obama). In most years, the musical performances dominate the discourse of the BET Awards, but this year the noteworthy performance was not the performance featuring both Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce, but from an actor – Jesse Williams – giving a speech reflecting his continued commitment to speak out against police violence. In the past days, the New York Times, LA Times, Time Magazine, and countless other media outlets (not to mention Twitter and Facebook) have spotlighted Williams’s speech, and of course I agree with all of Williams’s words, how could I not??, but I have been thinking a lot about the frame within which I saw his words and of course frames affect pictures.

For me, the core message of the evening didn’t come into view w/ Williams’ really well crafted combination of speech, spoken word and informal chat, but rather started with Terence J, who prior to introducing the hosts Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, told the audience “Your vote is your voice.” Shortly thereafter, Tracee Ellis Ross shared that the most important demographic in this fall’s presidential election was single women and that her vote (because she is a single woman) would decide the election and concluded by stating “Welcome to the White House, Hillary Clinton.” Throughout the show BET would include more messages on the importance of voting (and due to Ross’s quote – it was clear these messages are pro-Clinton) all of which set the stage for Williams to really put it down for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

To reiterate, everything Williams said was true and was quite poetic, “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” However, it is impossible for me to not see his words inside the context of the Clinton advertisement that was running throughout the 2016 BET Awards. So, the current Democratic political climate has ostensibly embraced the rejection of bigotry – in fact, the rejection of bigotry has become profitable (Apple was sure to announce they would not sponsor the RNC due to Trump). Clinton, despite her own history of bigoted politics (which were on display in her last attempt to secure the Democratic nomination and the mass incarceration policies of the 90s), has somewhat successfully turned herself into the candidate whose bigotry is acceptable while running a campaign that argues Trump’s bigotry is not. BET’s endorsement of Clinton from Black Girls Rock to this BET Award show assists in that cause. Still, without Williams, the night’s endorsement is incomplete.

Ashley Williams demonstrating at 2016 S.C. Fundraiser

Ashley Williams demonstrating at 2016 S.C. Fundraiser

Williams’s poetry legitimized the BET Awards as a “woke” platform as he bravely denounced whiteness and police brutality, gave deserved props to black women, and spoke against the appropriation of black culture. However, following Williams’s performance, Samuel L. Jackson, stated “That brother is right and he’s true.” He then added an interpretation Williams’ had not even remotely implied and said, “Make sure you vote and take eight more people with you. We gotta fix this. Don’t get tricked like they did in London.” So, who is the benefactor of the call to vote? What Jackson ignores (or doesn’t see) is that the whole Award show is part of the trick because by placing Williams’s spoken word in the context of this larger call to vote, Clinton benefits from Williams’ words without taking any of the risk or committing to any of what he offered. Williams made the BET Awards “woke,” and since BET is down with Clinton she is thus also “woke” or maybe more accurately “woke enough” or “not a Trump nightmare”. In case we had somehow missed the message, the show concluded with Usher dancing with an anti-Trump message on the back of his vest (i.e. a pro-Clinton one and since when is Usher making explicit political criticisms?) as social media pounced on Justin Timberlake’s cultural appropriation, I was also seeing the Clinton campaign’s appropriation of the evening, the kind of appropriation that Williams had just rebuked.