ENDORSEMENT: I Have Voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton

NOTE: I wrote this back in June as “I will vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton” but decided to hold off from publishing it until now. Edited appropriately.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton has completed the consolidation of the Obama coalition around her campaign, eight years after her first historic run. The Democratic pivot to the presidential election is now complete with Rodham Clinton at the helm.

I went to a Christian private school while HRC was a senator from New York, and I attended college while she served as Secretary of State. Since I wasn’t involved in local politics until maybe 2012, I didn’t follow her career or campaign. I’ve only found out more about her as a politician during these last two years. 2008 was when I started college, and I think I wrote in Ralph Nader in the general election because Obama came off as an “inevitable” candidate and I was interested in “bucking the trend”. I don’t remember participating in the primary that year, but it was my first presidential election of voting age.

HRC was someone who I remember my mother dismissing as “that woman who would take your kids away and put them all in government daycare”. I vaguely remember how she and Bill were mocked in jokes on TV in the 90s and 2000s.

She was someone who, from what I remember, came off as an ambitious, motivated First Lady who wrote, released and promoted popular autobiographies on her experiences for TV audiences. Her time as Secretary of State was when I first started taking notice of her as a multilateralist diplomat who would seek UN support to defend U.S. government interests abroad. She was someone who set a different tone from the Bush years of going it alone.

I was watching when the Arab Spring happened in 2011, which I think was the moment when Hillary and Obama, together, demonstrated the “lead from behind” strategy that kept us out of more overt war, stressed a reliance on drones and jets to assist Libyan rebels, and applying diplomatic and media channels to engage dissenters in the MENA region.

I remember Cablegate, when diplomatic cables showed how complicated we were in our relations with other countries. The release, which happened during HRC’s tenure, allowed the public to see the issues faced by our diplomats around the world. I think it helped her profile as a political figure, especially in relation to her public (but troubled) human rights stances.

In regards to our relations with the world, HRC emphasized restraint of our military capacity and the need to build bridges with other nations, even in the face of religiously-motivated violence abroad.

Unfortunately, I don’t think she broke enough with the Kissingerian tradition of “realpolitik”, and I don’t think it is possible in American statecraft to do so because of the vigilant free-market hawkery which has defined us for longer than HRC’s entire life. She is pretty standard fare as far as hawkery is concerned, just not an extremist like many of her predecessors.

HRC has cultivated her own political path over the last 16 years. I think she may not be the exact “New Democrat” that Bill and Jimmy Carter were in their presidencies. She had her highest political experience under Obama, and she is fully cognizant of how the Democratic party has changed. I don’t think she will move the party to the right of Obama like Bill did, particularly because to the right of the Democrats’ platform of civil rights and the ACA is the space occupied by the far-right which has demonized her constantly since she became First Lady in 1992.

HRC has no reason to tack to the right of Obama. At worst, she may be as corporate-friendly as Obama has been, despite the thankless, ungrateful behavior by corporate leaders over the ACA, net neutrality and climate preparedness. She has pinned her campaign on securing and maintaining the ACA, which will rub the proponents of single-payer the wrong way.

But her absolute bucking of the rumor-mongering regarding the FBI investigation into her private emails is polarizing. Sometimes, I don’t know who to believe – those on the right who DESPERATELY want her to go to prison for some sort of “treason” which is hard to pin down, those who despise her from the left for her “baby-killing” support for (multilateral, non-Bushian) intervention, those who find her “fake” for attempting to relate to audiences where they are, those who tentatively admire her for defending herself against and defying the GOP’s knife-edge vituperation, or those who see the severe criticism as unbridled good-ole-boy misogyny against a typical seasoned, multi-dimensional politician who just happens to be a woman.

HRC is a human being. She, like Barack Obama, like Bernie Sanders, and maybe even like George W. Bush, have multiple dimensions to their personalities. She has flaws, and she has triumphs. I don’t think her prior flaws disqualify her from the presidency any more than other presidents’ flaws disqualified them. As an African-American, I don’t think her past support for the “superpredator” thesis disqualifies her from being racially progressive since she has demonstrably removed herself from that position.

I wish to approach her with grace, magnanimity and an open mind until she proves otherwise as president. I think she can be a decent president, but the pressure should be on to keep a diverse socio-economic set of concerns at the fore of an HRC presidency and, hopefully, a more Democratic Congress.

So I think HRC, with a comparatively-decent resume, can be a decent president and can make more progressive choices with decent pressure from within the Democratic party. I can live with “Madam President” and “First Gentleman”. And I can work to see more progressive, single-payer-supporting, pro-labor politicians in state and congressional office in the years to come.

This is why I have voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton as of October 18, and encourage you to vote for her and all other downballot Democrats in Georgia on November 8, 2016.

President Obama’s November 2016 List of Endorsements

President Obama has made many endorsements for political office for the November 2016 general election. In addition to the rare endorsement made by the President in Democratic primary contests throughout the year, his office has announced that he will make an unprecedented raft of endorsements for downballot candidates this week, including U.S. Senate and House, governorships, state legislatures and even other state and municipal offices which will have faceoffs in November. His goal is to further state-level redistricting reform.

Here’s a list which I’m gleaning from Politico, CNN and other sources.

  • Hillary Clinton – President
  • Tim Kaine – Vice-President

Senate

  • Catherine Cortez-Masto – NV
  • Patrick Murphy – FL
  • Kamala Harris – CA
  • Tammy Duckworth – IL
  • Deborah Ross – NC
  • Katie McGinty – PA
  • Maggie Hassan – NH

House

  • Tom O’Halleran – AZ-1
  • Ami Bera – CA-7
  • Michael Eggman – CA-10
  • Salud Carbajal – CA-24
  • Doug Applegate – CA-49
  • Bryan Caforio – CA
  • Morgan Carroll – CO-6
  • Charlie Crist – FL
  • Stephanie Murphy – FL
  • Val Demings – FL-10
  • Joe Garcia – FL-26
  • Monica Vernon – IA-1
  • Jim Mowrer – IA-3
  • Cheri Bustos – IL-17
  • Brad Schneider – IL
  • Jay Sidie – KS-3
  • John Yarmuth – KY
  • Emily Cain – ME
  • Suzanna Shkreli – MI-8
  • Angie Craig – MN-2
  • Terri Bonoff – MN-3
  • Brad Ashford – NE-2
  • Carol-Shea-Porter – NH
  • Annie Kuster – NH
  • Josh Gottheimer – NJ
  • Jacky Rosen – NV-3
  • Ruben Kihuen – NV-4
  • Tom Suozzi – NY
  • Sean Patrick Maloney – NY
  • Collen Deacon – NY
  • Zephyr Teachout – NY-19
  • Steve Santarsiero – PA
  • Christina Hartman – PA
  • LuAnn Bennett – VA
  • Jane Dittmar – VA

Governors

  • Roy Cooper – NC
  • Kate Brown – OR
  • Sue Minter – VT

State Legislatures

  • Abigail Medina – CA AD-40
  • Josh Newman – CA SD-29
  • Cheryl Cook-Kallio – CA AD-16
  • Al Muratsuchi – CA AD-66
  • Tony Exum – CO HD-17
  • Robert Asencio – FL HD-118
  • Lisa Montelione – FL HD-63
  • Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich – FL HD-103
  • Nick Duran – FL HD-112
  • Daisy Baez – FL HD-114
  • Beth Tuura – FL HD-47
  • Rena Frazier – FL HD-59
  • Ben Diamond – FL HD-68
  • Debbie Mucarsel-Powell – FL SD-39
  • Rod Smith – FL SD-8
  • Linda Stewart – FL SD-13
  • Bob Buesing – FL SD-18
  • José Javier Rodríguez – FL SD-37
  • Juliana Stratton – IL HD-5
  • Eric Lesser – MA SD-1st Hpdn., Hpsh.
  • Lindsey Port – MN HD-56B
  • Erin Maye Quade – MN HD-57A
  • Jamie Becker-Finn – MN HD-42B
  • Mary T’Kach – MN HD-52B
  • Zach Dorholt – MN HD-14B
  • Duane Sauke – MN HD-25B
  • Andrew Carlson – MN HD-50B
  • Paul Rosenthal – MN HD-49B
  • Tina Kotek – OR HD-44
  • Jennifer Williamson – OR HD-36
  • Barbara Smith-Turner – OR HD-45
  • Paul Southwick – OR HD-37
  • Janelle Bynum – OR HD-51
  • Gena Goodman-Campbell – OR HD-37
  • Teresa Alonso Leon – OR HD-22
  • Tawna Sanchez – OR HD-43
  • Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant – WA SD-49
  • Lisa Wellman – WA SD-41
  • Mike Pellicciotti – WA HD-30a
  • Kristine Reeves – WA HD-30b
  • Jeff Wright – WI AD-51
  • Art Shrader – WI AD-50

Other states offices

  • Josh Shapiro – PA Attorney General
  • Kirk Caldwell – Honolulu HI Mayor

RIP Dustyn Archer (1991-2016)

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Dustyn Archer. Photo by Jessica Whitley.

I’m breaking a long silence I’ve had on this blog to report that a colleague of mine (and former student at Macon State College, now Middle Georgia State University) has died.

From The Telegraph:

Dustyn James Archer
Macon, GA- Dustyn James Archer, 25, of Macon, Georgia, died October 12, 2016. He was born May 12, 1991 in Galveston, TX and lived in Macon, Georgia for the majority of his life.
He graduated from Middle Georgia State University with an associates degree in music. He had a passion and natural talent for music; loved to travel, experience and spread the love and healing of music. He was an advocate for equality, and helped many organizations attempting to achieve a better way of life for all. He was very loved and survived by his parents Randy Archer and Tracy Bridgeman-Archer and his siblings Kristyn, Michael, and Dana Archer. A memorial will be held at The Cox Capital Theatre, one of Dustyn’s most loved venues, at 382 2nd St in the historical downtown Macon, GA; on October 20, 2016 at 3:30 pm. All of Dustyn’s friends and family are invited. The family asks in lieu of flowers, for donations to be made to New Town Macon to continue the efforts of building the music and preserving the history of Macon.

I was made aware of Dustyn’s death by a member of his family, but waited to confirm this news.

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Photo by James GF Stair. Dustyn Archer, left, is holding the Georgia Equality logo.

If you remember, Dustyn was in the news earlier this year when an anti-HB 757 rally was held in Macon with the support of the Middle Georgia State GSA and Georgia Equality. He helped lead the rally and spoke to local news media.

Dustyn also helped in the Macon local effort to promote Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic nomination. Google searches show that he led the “Middle GA Students for Bernie 2016,” hosting voter registration drives and phone banks.

Sadly, things went south for Dustyn after the primary season was over. He had apparently developed an addiction to heroin and had entered rehab in Arizona.

I am greatly disturbed by Dustyn’s passing. He had his life ahead of him, and was heartfelt about progressive politics in Middle Georgia. I met him several times in college, and remember that he was an avid fan of music. Maybe I don’t remember too much about him from my time there, but I am glad that he was an activist on progressive issues in Macon.

To reiterate, Dustyn Archer’s memorial service will be held at the Cox Capitol Theatre, 382 2nd St in Macon at 3:30pm on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

Please stop by and support the Archer family, who are reeling from this tragedy.

Finding your queer family — when you’re 65 years old

When a new member walks into the GRIOT Circle community center in Downtown Brooklyn, a number of seniors come up to him and strongly suggest that he try a garlic knot.”Everyone’s eating them,” one member says while passing him a plate, the knots bulging with joy and carbs. “Why aren’t you?”Located on one of Brooklyn’s busiest streets, GRIOT functions primarily as a community center for the city’s LGBTQ seniors of color. The center serves food daily, and today’s special — there are often specials — is garlic knots.The seniors want him to try something new, to take of advantage of an opportunity. More than anything, they want him to join the community.

Source: Finding your queer family — when you’re 65 years old

Anti-gay pastor arrested on 70 counts of child pornography.

The hypocrisy keeps hitting the fan. From Arkansas:

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Anti-gay pastor arrested on 70 counts of child pornography.

This is Dave Reynolds, the recently fired pastor of the Cornerstone Bible Fellowship in Sherwood, Arkansas. He’s currently facing 70 counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing child pornography.

Oh, and he’s also vehemently antigay.

The 40-year-old pastor regularly preached that marriage is between a man and a woman and that all homosexual activity is a sin.

He was arrested after police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which claimed that a social media account in Sherwood was storing pages and pages of child pornography.

The account allegedly belonged to Reynolds.

In March, Reynolds informed elders at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship that he was under investigation for child porn possession.

When they asked if he had engaged in viewing the material, Reynolds told them he had “not knowingly done so.”

The elders ultimately…

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