Next week the United States will be voting to decide who will become the nation’s 45th President. In 2008, my generation voted for the first time and elected our first African-American President. Since that time our nation has evolved, progressed and continued in a promising direction, despite still having a long way to go. While I don’t trust Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Clinton will be getting my vote to keep this country moving forward.
Over the past nine months this year’s series of presidential primaries and caucuses have been a roller coaster of emotions filled with shock and despair. At the beginning, myself and many others like me were confident that our knight in shining armour, our robin hood, had finally arrived in the form of 75-year-old Brooklyn-native, Bernie Sanders, who was going to flip the political system upside down. However in late June our hopes were deflated when Sanders, who didn’t and still hasn’t given up the fight, vowed to vote for Clinton to make sure that Trump would never be elected president. I was with Bernie then, and I am with Bernie now.
Bernie Sanders said it best when he said, “Now is not the time for a protest vote.” And I agree.
Both Clinton and Trump have their fair share of deplorable strikes against them. For a variety of reasons, neither of these two individuals would be my choice to lead this country. It wasn’t until recently that I swallowed my own pride and started to look at the bigger picture. If the man I had instilled all of my trust and faith into could look past himself and instead look at the future of the country as a whole, why couldn’t I? Despite all of the problems with both political parties, despite all of the terror that both Clinton and Trump have inflicted on this world, there remains one constant: Donald Trump should not and can not be the next president of the United States.
My scepticism towards Clinton started in the early morning hours of June 28, 2009, in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, when the army forced then-president Manuel Zelaya onto a military plane and took him to Costa Rica in a coup d’état. Before his removal, Zelaya had organized economic and social reforms, including installing a minimum wage and working to resolve land conflicts between peasant farmers and agribusinesses. But this was just too left-leaning for the U.S. to handle. In June of 2009, Zelaya “called a referendum to decide whether an extra vote should take place in November—alongside the general election—to reform the constitution.” Despite efforts to push forward, Zelaya was ousted with help from the U.S.
It’s been seven long years since Zelaya was illegally and forcefully removed, and Honduras has been in freefall ever since. When Pepe Lobo Sosa took office in 2010, he introduced a series of pro-business policies and pursued a sell-off of Honduras’ natural resources. In the aftermath, environmental leaders like Berta Caceres swiftly fought back against mining, logging and agribusiness projects. At the same time, Honduras transformed into one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental activists, and these dangers persist today.
On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres was shot dead in her home, prompting international condemnation. Just weeks ago, José Ángel Flores, the president of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán (Unified Campesino Movement of Aguán, MUCA), and campesino leader Silmer Dionisio George, were assassinated in the northern Honduran department of Colón. And yesterday, Fernando Aleman Banegas, the son of Elsy Banegas, President of the Coordinator of Popular Organizations of the Aguan (COPA), a human rights group focused on labor and campesino issues in the region, was shot and killed.
In reference to the 2009 coup, Clinton has explained that, “The Legislature—or the national Legislature in Honduras and the national judiciary actually followed the law in removing President Zelaya. Now, I didn’t like the way it looked or the way they did it, but they had a very strong argument that they had followed the Constitution and the legal precedents.” This is false, and Zelaya’s removal was illegal. Various governments throughout Latin America, the UN, the EU and the Organization of American States (OAS) all condemned the military’s actions.
Clinton has made a mess of many situations throughout her time in politics from Honduras to Benghazi and now the email controversy. For me personally, her involvement in the 2009 coup in Honduras and her lack of involvement after the fact, will never be acceptable. She abandoned a whole nation and sent them spiraling into chaos and terror, and I will never forget that. That being said, Clinton has shown her ability to change and grow as a person.
Most notably, Clinton has shown her willingness to change and evolve on topics such as police brutality and racial violence. “The Mothers of the Movement,” a group of nine woman whose unarmed African-American children were all killed by law enforcement or due to gun violence, expressed how they think Clinton has the ability to enact real change. Additionally, Civil rights activist and journalist Shaun King, who is close friends with the mothers of the group, also explained how Clinton has evolved due to how much time she has spent with the group and the commitment she has made to these issues.
With Clinton there is potential because she has a willingness to listen and to change. With Trump, on the other hand, there is no hope for him to evolve, to listen, or to lead this country.
It almost seems unnecessary to explain when I began to disregard Trump entirely, to explain all of the reasons why I can not and will not vote for Trump next week.
Was it when he stated he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering into the United States? Was it when he called Mexicans rapists and said that Mexico is only bringing drugs and criminals to the U.S.?
Or was it when Trump said he would reintroduce the stop-and-frisk program that “worked so well” in New York? Maybe it was when he declared that he would get rid of all gun-free zones on his first day in office? Or what about when he declared that President Obama was the founder of ISIS?
This is just a snapshot into the vile and destructive character of Donald Trump. And right now Trump holds no real power in this world. Imagine what this world would look like if he did have power, and not just any power, but the power that comes with being the president of the United States. While I’m still not entirely happy or comfortable with the fact that I will be voting for Clinton on November 8, I am happy and comfortable with the fact that I am doing my part to ensure that Trump never obtains the power he so clearly is unfit to hold.
Bernie Sanders offered up a light in the darkest of political climates for young people. And while he will not be this nation’s 45th president as I hoped he would, he has embodied what true selflessness and what a genuine commitment to working towards a promising future really looks like. This is why #I’mWithHer in 2016, and never with Trump.
Parker Asmann is a 2015 graduate of DePaul University with degrees in Journalism and Spanish, along with a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies. He is currently residing in Chicago while focusing on issues of social justice and human rights. He is a member of El BeiSMans Editorial Board.