Either Clinton or Trump will win, our LGBTQ rights depend on our choice
By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist—
Disclaimer: As this is an advice and opinion column, it can generally be assumed that whatever you read here next to my byline comes straight from my own ideas and worldview. But just this once I’d like to be clear: The thoughts and opinions presented in this column do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of the owners, editors, or staff of this paper. They are my own, and I will gladly bear the responsibility for them.
Okay, now that’s out of the way, as this is the last column I will be able to write and have published here before the upcoming national election, I felt it was important, vital even, that I say a few words to you, oh my loyal readers. So, let me get right to it.
I want to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to get out there Tuesday, November 8, and vote. Not just that, I would like to urge, no, beg you, to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Let me be honest with you. Hillary was not my favorite choice. I have a few problems with her. Like many folks I know, I was an early Bernie Sanders supporter. I’m pretty left-leaning politically, and Bernie was the closest I’ve seen to a candidate who actually represents my own beliefs and concerns in a long time. I was terrified to get my hopes up, yet I unhesitatingly gave him my full support right through to the primaries.
Eventually though, the writing was on the wall. Hillary was going to be the Democratic Candidate. And when Bernie gave her his support, I gave her mine too.
Yes, although she’s a woman, which is exciting, she’s still old guard and old school, a career politician, an insider and a major player. Nonetheless, with the country in the uproar it’s in, I’ll take that over the alternative.
It’s also worth noting that Hillary is damn good at what she does. And my problems with her are not the ones I read in social media or hear repeated over and over on the news. Sure, she’s done some things we aren’t crazy about. But I do not believe for one minute that any of the things she’s been accused of are anything that any other career politician would not do or has not done if in her shoes. And yet, she is repeatedly met with this whole host of distracting accusations. She is held to this incredible double standard. Mostly, I believe, because she is a woman. As a result, she has to work twice as hard and deal with exponentially more BS than a male candidate would.
And for any criticism, Hillary is frankly excellent at all the jobs she has had. She has the experience, the skills, the intelligence, and the relationships, both domestically and internationally, to be a very effective chief executive. Hillary Clinton has the chops it takes to be the president and to do the job well.
But really, none of that is why I’m asking you to get out and vote. I’m asking for one simple reason.
Trump could win.
I know, we worry about it, we talk about it, we even joke about it. I also know that despite all that, there seems to be a certain cynicism that he’s not really a serious contender. He’s an overblown and overhyped reality TV star—a jumped-up Trump. There’s an unspoken belief that he couldn’t truly, really truly and in actual reality, win.
But this is wrong. I am telling you right here, he could. We have consistently underestimated him at every step. And, at every step, he has managed to surprise us.
Further, there is a frighteningly massive groundswell of support for Donald Trump. He has managed to tap into our worst fears and beliefs as a country, motivated the masses with hate and ignorance, and captivated us all with stellar sound bites and a masterful sense of showmanship.
We ignore him at our peril. And we cannot assume that old guard Hillary has a lock on this.
A few years back, on a more local level, this is how Scott Brown got elected. While we were all sitting back waiting for Ted Kennedy’s “rightful heir” to ascend to his Senate seat, Scott Brown was out there whipping up the electorate, getting out the vote, and he won that fight before we even knew there was one.
For us especially, as LGBTQ people and our allies, we cannot afford to let the same thing happen with Trump. Because while we have come a long, long way in the last few years, all the progress we’ve made for gay rights and trans rights, for marriage and employment equality, for basic civil rights protections, don’t think that it can’t all be stripped away from us in an instant.
It has happened before. It can happen again.
Let’s not let it happen here.
No matter how much you loved Bernie. No matter how little you may like Hillary. No matter how big a joke you think Der Drumpf is. I’m pleading with you, come that second Tuesday in November, get yourself and everyone you know out to your local polling place and cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.
Unless of course the people you know are going to vote for Trump. In which case, I’d recommend perhaps engaging them in a night of really especially heavy drinking on Monday, November 7.
Our very lives may depend on it.
*Lorelei Erisis is an actor, activist, adventurer and pageant queen. Send your questions about trans issues, gender and sexuality to her at: [email protected].