September 18, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Ending the Political Hegemony of Righteousness

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To the Editor:

We have recently witnessed an upsurge in liberals and Clinton supporters devaluing large left-leaning segments of the population which are considering voting for third party options, or not voting at all, in the coming presidential election. Being a member of this ideological trend I am forced to respond to these attacks, to give public representation to a position which is constantly being decried.

I respect those whose political choice is to cast their ballot in favor of Hillary Clinton, some of which will even do this against their conscience in a respectable effort to stop Donald Trump from winning the presidency. I, and many others, do not share that sacrifice, however legitimate in its own right. The mainstream liberals, clearly represented on this campus by the Cornell Democrats, however, have an egregious will to undermine our divergent political choices. The Sun recently dedicated an article to the Democrats position, titled “Cornell Democrats Warn Students of Risks of voting for Third Party.” This reminds us one more time of how racist and scary candidate Trump is, and, in essence, works to guilt trip us into voting for their candidate. I will respond to the arguments formulated in that article and demonstrate their fallacies.

One member of the Cornell Democrats hails at us to “wake up and smell the fascism” to appeal to our sense of duty against such forces. There is an absence of historical understanding of fascism inside the ranks of Hillary Clinton, however, which limits the conception to its bare minimum. A Fascist movement, although catalyzed by a powerful figure during its rise and climax, necessitates pre-conditions for its emergence. The defeat of Donald Trump will not shut down the large sections of American society which are responsive to his rhetoric. The end of Trump will not save this country from these threats. The far-right reactionary and fascist movement will keep rising, finding a new leaders if it needs to, unless it is opposed by a genuine anti-fascist united force, a progressive socialist movement which doesn’t flirt with the establishment. Clinton is born of the neo-liberal economic order, the same establishment politics that have generated the fascist movement taking place today. It is not a far-reaching certitude that Clinton, outside of mild appeasing economic reforms, will maintain this order and therefore only generate more reactionary forces.

Another point of pride made by the Cornell Democrats about Clinton is that she “treats her political adversaries with respect” as opposed to the unpredictable and provoking Trump. We have accumulated enough information by now, especially through the WikiLeaks email disclosure, to know that the cooperation between the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign was real and seriously undermining the fair process of the Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton, although more subtly than Trump, knows how to do this and will undermine her political adversaries when she needs to.

A third and final, rather prevailing, point made by the Cornell Democrats concerns the recognition of the sacredness of the right to vote, aimed at those planning on not voting. A member mentions the sacrifice of those who achieved the legal right and our inherent duty to use it. How pleasant the hypocrisy, this argument ending an article focused exclusively on dictating whom to vote for. The right to vote, in all its sacredness, also encompasses the right to choose for whom to vote.

To Cornell Democrats specifically, and to all Liberal moral-givers generally, I will not criticize your voting decision but keep us out of your political calculations. You are responsible for the creation of this bi-partisan system which has left us a choice between fascism and neo-liberalism. Today, some of us are ready to formulate and construct a brand-new path, and we won’t delay this project any longer because of your petty cries for help.

Alec Desbordes ’17

  • Forbes

    Well written,my friend. The two elections I have had a vote on in Mexico represent similar scenarios. People feel like they have no other option but to vote for the infamous “lesser of evils”. This of course has led to no good. The same people that put Peña Nieto in office to avoid having someone like Lopez Obrador win are the same who now regret their choice and ask for him to resign.
    I believe it is much more necessary to build a strong movement to oppose this form of extortion that our political system has imposed upon ourselves than to follow through like sheep.

  • Tag

    Lot of twenty-five cent words, but when it comes down to brass tacks: Jill Stein is a terrible candidate who’s got the social media itchy trigger finger of a Trump, the base-pandering qualities of any mainstream politician (cf. vaccine positions, plural intentional), and such a weak regional operation that she can’t hope to deliver on the bulk of her campaign promises. Sanders was an immensely strong, organized, and thoughtful candidate by comparison: he’s out there saying that a third-party vote for President is a mistake. He didn’t get bought off by ‘the system’. He’s a leader, and this is where he’s leading.

    I accept and respect your feelings of resentment towards those who are talking down to you, that sucks; those feelings are less important than what happens to the country six months from now.

  • I’ve known the author for years, and respect his views. Nevertheless, he advocates for a dangerous position. In claiming that a “genuine anti-fascist united force, a progressive socialist movement” is needed but then refusing to join with the Cornell Democrats and myself in seeking to be part of such a united force by building and expanding the Democratic party, he displays hypocrisy. Members of the Bernie Sanders movement like myself would be well served to follow the example of Senator Sanders – supporting the Democratic party against the Republicans, while supporting preferred progressive candidates in Democratic primary races at all levels of government. Heed your own call for an anti-fascist united force, Alec, and cast a vote against Orange Hitler. We can vote against President Clinton in a primary four years from now.

  • Travis Cuvelier

    A perspective that doesn’t require taking the ridiculous leap that neoliberal economics (as an ideology) has lead to this Trump problem, and that the way to change it is to support a socialist agenda can be found here: Donald Trump is a uniquely collectivist “right wing” candidate whose trade positions are on par with Bernie Sanders. I’ll also apologize for criticizing people who voted for Johnson in 2008, although I will in no way support the claim that a vote for Mitt then is as bad as a vote for Trump now.

    • Travis Cuvelier

      Of course I meant 2012.

  • Possible Futures

    Thank you for publishing this letter. I think the sentiments of Mr. Desbordes need to be addressed, but it makes me feel old to realize that the lessons of 3rd party candidacy learned in 1992 and 2000 have largely been forgotten. Sure, we should all vote for the person that best represents our interests, but number one tool for exercising power over others is the strategy of divide and conquer. This letter is another indication to me that the election of 2016 will probably not be decided by Trump or Clinton, but by unhappy liberals who decide to vote for the pro-marijuana Libertarian, Gary Johnson.

  • Johnny

    The far left will never get more supporters until they quit writing like this

  • Ex-Dems member

    What, are the Cornell Democrats actually relevant on campus for once? /S

  • la Poursuivante

    Citoyen Alec,

    Have you forgotten that you’re French? You have no poodle in this fight.

    La Poursuivante

  • George

    Any person who supported the ideals expounded by Bernie and who has an ounce of integrity will not vote for Hillary. She is the embodiment of everything he said was wrong: domination by the 1%, status quo politics, close alliance with Wall Street, the queen of pander, revolving door, pay to play, etc. etc. I frankly do not know how Bernie can sleep at door, having endorsed the personification of corruption.

  • George

    Do any of you actually know what fascism is? Hint: it is not the Cornell swimming requirement.