I am a progressive feminist, I am voting for Bernie Sanders, and I’m not the only one. Let’s begin with dispelling an important misconception, feminists are not a unified force on all issues. Feminism isn’t a cult or secret society, women don’t get initiated and then promise to always choose the lady over the fella if they’re duking it out. Hillary Clinton does not have my vote, even if Madeleine Albright is tapped into some psychic cosmic force and it turns out to be true that women who don’t help other women have their own suite near Satan, I’m still choosing Sanders over Clinton.
My feminism is intersectional and nuanced. I am not in a war of the sexes, I am in a fight for common decency and the breakdown of structural inequality and institutionalized oppression. The narrative that Hillary Clinton winning the presidency would change the world for women is a fairy tale. One woman POTUS does not gender equality make. Americans emphasize the importance of the individual while rejecting critical thought on what individual autonomy means and how much weight it should hold in politics.
Clinton is the mainstream white woman liberal heroine, but she does not represent me. Believing Clinton becoming president is going to dramatically reduce problems with gender inequality is like believing in trickle down Reagan economics. She may be at the top, but what about everyone at the bottom? The only candidate that is focusing on the American people and not on their personal ego is Bernie Sanders.
I am tired of the national mythology that Clinton will “obviously” win. Only 37% of the Democratic delegates were accounted for as of March 16, 2016. The difference between Clinton and Sanders was being talked about as if the lead Clinton had was overwhelming. As of April 20, 2016, Clinton is 60.7% of the way to the nomination while Bernie is 50.6% of the way, and that doesn’t count superdelegates. Only 54% of delegates have been determined. There are major states that have yet to make their move. The game is still playing out.
Clinton likes to say that she is the “progressive who gets things done.” What she means is that she will maintain the status quo, but that is not progress. Pundits have been decrying Sanders for a lack of success in passing sponsored bills, with several publications poking fun at a passed bill which renamed a post office. He passed three sponsored bills and one of them did designate a post office, but another one increased veteran’s disability compensation. Of the three bills that Clinton sponsored which became law one renamed a post office, one named a highway, and the other designated a national historic site.Sanders has passed (and supported) significantly more meaningful legislation than Clinton.
My feminism is intersectional and nuanced. I am not in a war of the sexes, I am in a fight for common decency and the breakdown of structural inequality and institutionalized oppression.
For decades, Sanders has been consistent in staying away from big money corruption and in fighting for the rights of the people. Sanders is an expert at navigating the tricky political landscape without losing site of his morals or the needs of his constituents. He has been one of the most effective politicians in the Congress since he began his tenure in the House of Representatives in 1990. Recently, the New York Times published a piece praising Sanders for his successes and quickly edited the online copy to say he just-kinda-sorta did some stuff in the Senate. Sanders didn’t use side doors to barely squeeze by, he tacked hugely important amendments onto other bills because he understands politics.
Sanders allows others to speak, like when the Black Lives Matter protesters took over the mic when he was giving a speech. Sanders did that because he believes all of our voices are important. Clinton, on the other hand, has had multiple confrontations with Black Lives Matter protestors and refused to engage in dialogue. You have to listen to the people who you want to help, and Sanders is the only one doing that.
I trust Sanders to bring people together to see common sense solutions, because he has been doing that successfully for his entire career. He is the candidate that will bring swing voters to his side. There is no bullshit with Bernie and that is why so many Americans are feeling the Bern. Sanders is not an underdog; he is the obvious choice for President of the United States. He isn’t just a legislative candidate, he started off as an activist and then served in an executive office as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Sanders says he will improve democracy and increase voter turnout, which is something he did as mayor when he doubled voter turnout in less than 8 years. He cares about all of us, and that is what feminism is about.
Kristance Harlow is a wanderlusting writer and sometimes comedian passionate about dispelling myths and correcting misinformation. A self-described culture nerd, Kristance has undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology and archaeology.