Fair Vetting Is Shining The Spotlight On One Candidate?
I have tried to be positive about Hillary Clinton rather than negative about Bernie Sanders; however, as we near the New York primary I find myself extremely frustrated at the lack of discussion of Bernie’s record. I support Hillary because I believe in her candidacy and approaches more than Bernie, but also because I disagree with many of his positions and I have serious problems with aspects of his past.
Are We Vetting Both Candidates Or…?
Many of us have talked about the infamous rape essay from 1972, however it isn’t an anomalous example or gaff. With vetting, we find Bernie repeatedly expressing distasteful opinions, such as his support of Reich’s hypothesis that sexual repression in women causes cancer. Both the rape essay and this bizarre medical view feed into destructive understandings of gender and sexuality.
While in Congress Bernie has voted against universal background checks for guns, in support of the gun liability shield and to allow guns on Amtrak and in national parks. He voted in support of the Minutemen and indefinite detention of the undocumented, against immigration reform in 2007, and of course to dump toxic waste in Sierra Blanca. Bernie Sanders also voted against stem cell research three times. Finally, Bernie voted against the Amber alert and even for Wall Street deregulation. Obviously all politicians have bad votes and since I’m a Hillary supporter I’m all for politicians evolving, but where is the discussion of these things? After all, vetting is supposed to illicit a reaction no?
Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric is strong and focused on helping the economically disenfranchised, but often his plans are vague, or harmful to those most oppressed by the current economic system. Focusing on free college rather than free pre-school and childhood education helps the middle class over the poorest Americans. Free college rather than loan-free college again puts resources towards helping the middle class while loan free college will help those most in need of a free college education.
People say Bernie is that candidate to help all Americans but he has not shown that with his behavior. He had few staffers of color while he was in congress and currently all the top positions in his campaign are occupied by men. His healthcare plan ignores the importance of specifying and prioritizing women’s health and he has not stood by Planned Parenthood while they have been attacked.
I have tried hard to remain respectful during this campaign, focusing on the positives of the candidate I support while refraining from criticizing her opposition, but I am continually disheartened by the vitriolic and base attacks against her and the blind support of Bernie. Hillary is not perfect and she has made mistakes but she owns them, has apologized for them and we know what they are.
I respect that some of my friends support Bernie but I can’t respect what that support often means. I cannot sit by as people decontextualize history to compare Bernie to MLK. I can’t listen to anyone else tell me that I’m being a “white feminist” for supporting the candidate that has overwhelming support from women of color. I can’t sit quietly as I’m told that Bernie is the real progressive and if I support Hillary I am supporting the status quo. This is not the case. I fundamentally disagree with Bernie Sanders both now and with his record. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the candidate I am voting for because I truly agree with her more and believe she will accomplish more of the changes I want.
Mia Brett is a PhD candidate in criminal legal history at Stony Brook University. She has a degree in American Studies from Barnard College.