Pre-Election Day Thoughts

A while back, I wrote a post explaining why I was supporting Hillary Clinton for president.  It garnered more comments—and more ire—than anything else I’ve ever put up on the internet.  Now that the election is looming, I want to respectfully respond to some of the things I’ve heard…


“How can you vote?  With all you’ve done and written, how can you participate in this corrupt, money-driven system?  I thought you were far more radical than that!”

Political strategies and tactics are not jealous lovers.  You don’t have to be monogamous.  Direct Action will not feel betrayed if you also vote from time to time—you can be poly in your tactics.  And I am.  Of course I vote!  If you’re a woman, or a person of color, or a person who doesn’t own property, or even a white male who doesn’t belong to the nobility, centuries of struggle and many deaths have bought you the right to vote.  I vote to keep faith with peasant rebels and suffragist hunger strikers and civil rights workers braving the lynch mobs of the South, if for no other reason.  But there is another reason—because who we vote for has an enormous impact on real peoples’ lives.


“I’m voting for Jill Stein to send a message and build a third party that will be a real alternative.”

You can do that—but if you are in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico or New Hampshire I would beg you not to!  And even ‘safe’ states aren’t necessarily all that safe—nor is our democracy should Clinton win the electoral college but lose the popular vote.

And the message has already been sent.  It was sent by Sanders’ near-win in the primaries, which we can build on if Clinton wins.  But if Clinton loses, the Democrats will not turn around and say, “Oh how wrong we were not to choose the more progressive candidate.”  They’ll say, “The country has swung to the right and we must head right or be left behind.”  That’s what happened when Reagan won, and Bush, and Nixon, for that matter, and even though I believe they are entirely wrong-headed, whoever wins will claim a mandate.

The way to build a third party is from the ground up, starting with local campaigns and building a base and an infrastructure.  That’s what the right wing did—taking over things like school boards and city councils.  That’s where the Green Party is most effective and successful, and I’d like to see more of it.


“I won’t vote out of fear.”

“Don’t make decisions out of fear” is one of those helpful rules of life we tell ourselves when we need some extra confidence.  And there are times when it makes sense—say, when questioning whether to dive headlong into a wild, passionate love affair.

But sometimes fear is an appropriate emotion.  Should you dare to dive headlong into a pool without checking for rocks beneath?  To eat that unknown mushroom?  To dance freely and spontaneously out into traffic? 

Fear is the Goddess’ way of keeping us from doing really stupid things, and there are times to listen to fear, and heed it.  Fear can be a life-saver!  And in this election, fear of a Trump victory is an absolutely rational emotion—and that alone would be a good reason to vote for Clinton. 


“I must choose what my heart tells me.”

This is a good, romantic reason for choosing art instead of accounting for your college major—but it really has nothing to do with voting.  Because what our hearts tell us is mostly that we want something completely other than anything the system offers—and we already know that.  But at this moment we have a serious choice between two versions of what the system offers—and one is much, much worse than the other.  Now is one of those moments when we need to use our heads and think strategically.


“The Democrats are just as bad.”

No they’re not.  What they are is not as good as we hope they’ll be.  Yet Clinton’s policies are very good on some key issues: gay rights, women’s right to choose and women’s equality, and civil rights.  She’s running on a Democratic platform that is the most progressive ever, that includes raising the minimum wage, returning to free public universities, expanding and improving Obamacare and adding a public option—bringing us closer to a single payer system, appointing a decent set of justices to the Supreme Court that will uphold civil liberties, and rolling back Citizens’ United.  She believes climate change is real and will be susceptible to public pressure to rein in the oil companies and be a stronger protector of the environment.  Her foreign policy is hawkish but at least it lies within the realm of sanity.  It’s not like she’s running against Gandhi—she’s running against “Why have nukes if we don’t use them” Trump!


“The lesser of two evils is still an evil, and I would therefore be evil—or at least, morally impure—if I voted for her.”

Noam Chomsky wrote a brilliant critique of the ‘moral witness’ approach to voting—pointing out that the point of lesser-evil voting is precisely to do less evil—and that’s good!  Here’s what he has to say about moral voting:  “The basic moral principle at stake is simple: not only must we take responsibility for our actions, but the consequences of our actions for others are a far more important consideration than feeling good about ourselves.”

You can read his full critique HERE.


So when you vote, think about what world you want to wake up in on November 9…

Scenario One: 

Hillary Clinton wins big, and progressive forces celebrate and then mobilize to push for real action on climate change, an end to the Dakota Access Pipeline, an end to militarized policing and the rampant murder of people of color, economic policies that benefit the disenfranchised, and a sane foreign policy.  We build on the momentum from Sanders’ campaign and see some key changes get made. 

Scenario Two: 

Donald Trump wins, and every racist and bigot in the country celebrates.  Every bully has a field day: every misogynist now has license to grab and snatch and harass as they please.  He appoints Supreme Court justices that repeal Roe vs. Wade, uphold the rights of white cops to shoot people of color with impunity, and decide that gay marriage—indeed, gay sex, is once again illegal.  He repeals Obamacare and anyone with a Latino last name lives in fear of deportation.  He undoes every gain that has been made around climate change, and derails every international negotiation.  He carries his bullying personality into foreign policy discussions and embroils us in war after war, perhaps even pulling that nuclear trigger.  Progressive folks spend the next phase of our lives fighting for things like keeping some minimal funding for health care, keeping ourselves out of jail should we happen to love someone of the same gender or need to terminate a pregnancy or worship in a mosque instead of a church, keeping some small measure of economic gains for the middle class (forget the poor) and digging our bomb shelters before the nuclear retaliation hits.

Scenario 3: 

Hillary Clinton wins small—possibly the electoral college but not the popular vote.  Trump makes good his threat to contest the election, whips up his supporters to roam the streets in vigilante groups. A lot of people get hurt or even die—most likely, women, people of color, gender-nonconforming people, or anyone who looks suspiciously Latino or Muslim. 


So, folks, we’re down to the wire. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Get out there and vote.  No politician will get us where we need to go—but I believe Hillary Clinton’s election will set move us forward in the right direction.  And then the rest is up to us!

33 comments to Pre-Election Day Thoughts

  • Beth

    Thank you! I saw your original post. Wonderful response.

  • Margot Schindler

    Thanks Star! I hope the first scenario comes to play… I’ve lost too much in all of this and I want to regain something. Some sense that I’m not alone here… That I didn’t fall off the planet and that my views aren’t too independent and wild… Peace!

  • Tana Culain

    Thank you Star! I voted last Wednesday for Hilary.

  • Carrie P.

    YES. Thank you!!

  • I have been most frustrated by comments just like the ones you replied to. Thank you so much for responding so clearly and brilliantly. I voted for Hillary and proud of it!

  • Wise words. I agree 100%. Thank you!

  • James Ru

    All of your comments are understandable and rational.

    However, Hillary was against gay rights until 2014. She voted for the destruction of Muslims. She didn’t just talk about it, she voted to kill them.

    By the hundreds of thousands. All for oil companies.

    Some of those people were women. Some were lesbian, gay and trans people.

    So you see our moral problem isn’t based on a minor issue.

    Someone in California might not grasp the life of someone who’s a refugee from wars for oil, who is starving to death and brutalized, who does not have access to Hillary, much less Trump.

    Further, Hillary boosted Trump’s campaign. Prior to this campaign they were good friends. He donated to her elections and she attended his weddings.

    These are not minor issues, this is how the oil companies work. Good cop, bad cop make up your mind which one you want?

    Well, no thank you. How about both of them get investigated for criminal civil rights abuses? Is that a choice?

    However, Standing Rock is opening up a new dialogue. And I am going to ask the name of the first homeless person I see, and I am going to write in that person’s name.

  • Beth G

    scenario one is my heartfelt desire..going to vote tomorrow, looking for white clothes to go do it in, and remembering my sister and my mother as I cast my ballot for our first woman President..

  • Amber

    Thank you Star! We are praying for scenario one here in Canada.

  • Comes from the wisdom of living through Johnson and Reagan and George I and George II and almost Jeb!. It’s not just the big stuff, it’s in the fine print that ordinary people are done out of their fair share. Thank you, Starhawk. Let’s vote and make Hillary the President she can be.

  • An Elder Apprentice

    Thank you!
    On accounting and ones heart’s desire: With three of my closest friends being accountants (and they are fine witches too), I vision a world where accounting, that is knowing the truth of where we all stand, knowing a truth, with respect to resources and our relationships of trust, interdependence, and future possibilities with respect to money, ceases to serve greed and fear, but rather supports the extension of beauty.

    Until that day I prepare to cast my vote with pride (if no expectation of perfection) for Hillary Clinton, knowing that elections at best ameliorate a flawed system and am pleased that there those who are called to be great accountants who can help us see where we all stand.
    Many Blessings

  • Barbara

    My favorite quote on the election so far from Rebecca Solnit- “A vote is a chess move, not a valentine.”

  • Margo Ervin

    As always, Starhawk, beautifully said!!

  • Eclipse Neilson

    I absolutely agree and thanks for your powerful voice. I hold scenario #1

  • Deborah Oak

    Star, you are on FIRE writing about this… in the best of all ways. Thank you. Brilliant and clear. I will share it and support every word you wrote. And love that you linked to Chomsky.

  • Lilith Rogers

    Yes, tomorrow
    is a very big day.
    If things
    go the wrong way
    there literally will
    Be HELL TO PAY!!

  • Cheryl Dunlap

    Thanks, Star. We couldn’t agree more. Dori and I waded through the California ballot and voted Saturday. We look forward to celebrating the first elected woman President of the United States tomorrow!

  • Evergreen Erb

    Yes, yes, yes! This is going to be the last thing I read on this election, and I am going to share it widely. I voted today, and our town clerk said that over 1000 people have voted early in our small Vermont town. That’s amazing, and I am hoping that I know who almost all of them voted for. I am so glad I read this tonight! Thank you, thank you!

  • Patricia

    Hi Starhawk,

    I’m Patricia, an old friend of Donna’s. You came to stay with me, once upon a time, mid 90’s in Amatlan after a Bio conference in Tepoztlán. I am going to be in SF Thursday to Sunday with children and friends staying near Union Square. Do you have anything going on in those days or can you recommend something special to do?

    And right on! Love your scenarios. May tomorrow be a day when goodness triumphs!

    All the Best,

  • Mary Levasseur

    Thank you Star!

  • Mary Gomes

    Much gratitude – thank you for being a voice of wisdom in such challenging times.

  • SharonJ

    I so agree with you. Thank you.

  • Tree Fitzpatrick

    Trump can inflame people if he, miraculously, wins the popular vote but not the electoral votes. So what? Presidents have won before after not winning popular vote but winning enough electoral college votes. Trump can blow smoke and hire lawyers and throw the country into needless turmoil but I don’t think our understaff U.S.S.Ct is about to give in to Trump litigation — after all, there is not, at the moment, a conservative majority on the court.

    I agree that people in close states should vote for Hillary but I live in super blue CA and I am voting for Jill Stein.

  • Kevin Roddy

    Aloha Star – thanks so much for these words – I whoelheaetedly agree with you. I am optimistic and I hope for the first outcome. I fear there will be more obstructionism based on misogyny when Hillary assumes the Presidency, just as Obama had obstructionism because of his skin color. This stuff really has to end if we are to ever move forward. Hugs, and all the best!

  • Nina Tepedino

    thank you Starhawk. I read your web piece on voting day at 2am and I was proud to vote for our first woman president. We now have your blessings and the Goddesses shall lift us into a new future. I voted for Grandmother Clinton early by mail. It is in there!!

  • Wendy Valhoff

    You are so right. I have had these same kind of conversations with friends, and I can’t believe how hard it is to convince them that a protest vote this time around is folly. I live in Canada now, and am a dual citizen, so I vote in both countries. Canadians have no trouble unbderstanding what must be done in this election. They are scared to death of Trump, and those who have looked at Hillariy’s actual record find good reasons to support her, and the Democratic platform.

  • SharonJ

    Interestingly I did choose an art major over something more prosaic. And it doomed me to a lifetime of being a secretary. Lots of non-profit work.. very inspiring but facing old age without a pension which means I have to keep working until I drop. Following your heart is truly not always the way to go, sadly.

    From Canada, I wish all my American friends and family the very best and we are hoping and praying for the best of all possible outcomes. (although I really want to go back to bed and hide).

  • suzan seymour

    Starhawk, I respectfully disagree….I cannot support Clinton today or tomorrow. She has not spoken out about Standing Rock,or the TPP… and has ample time to have done so. When we go to war in Syria, how will your logic carry forth?
    I cannot vote my fear.
    Voting my conscience, for Jill Stein.

  • Thank you for being well balanced in your approach to what the heart wants and what’s just plain good stragedy!
    Putting this election and indeed American politics into perspective is a breadth of fresh air out hear in the west county bubble so many beautiful people seem to be inside of.
    By the way..isn’t this all great material for another book ..America sliding off the plot and unhinged. Precipitated by a massively divisive election in the future (now)..hmm.

  • Debra Grant

    Shocked and appalled and Starhawk you just lost all my respect. It’s a damn shame that people are voting for the lesser of two evils and this article, from one of my favorite authors feels like a punch in the stomach. DISGUSTED BY BOTH CANDIDATES FOR GOOD REASON! SHAME ON PEOPLE FOR VOTING FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS OUT OF FEAR!

  • Thank you, Starhawk. Spot on…

  • Brenda ShelAra Violet

    I was always the personal conscious vote and now I am pragmatic. Movements take nurturing, hard work and committment. That beginning is with Bernie Sanders, Black lives ‘M
    after, Standing Rock water protectors, surge of Hispanivc voters. Your eloquent words give us Wisdom that I am in total agreement with. Thank you for your articulation.


    Just a little post election reminder from Casey Neill and Andy… It’s going to be okay. Wanna dance?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>