There are candidates and politicians I like better. There are candidates and politicians I like worse. None are perfect, because all are fallible human beings who willfully and routinely put themselves in a position to make morally gray choices, often if not always among options of which none are what a regular person might call good. And though I do believe character matters, ultimately, my fealty is *not* to individual candidates or politicians.
My fealty is to a platform of policies. Policies which in turn reflect my ideals.
Save the environment. Take care of everybody. Leverage the potential and talents of the entire human population. Minimize unnecessary suffering, maximize general prosperity and happiness. Make room for everyone to participate, thrive, and matter.
You know, bend the moral arc of history toward justice. Save the world. Eat the rich.
Just kidding on that last one. Mostly.
Anyhow, when I approach a political question – like how to vote, which party or candidate to support, where to donate whatever time and money I have to spare – I ask myself a simple question:
Which of the choices realistically brings me closer to the world I want to help bring about? Even if it’s not that close. Even if it’s a lesser-of-two-evils situation. Put it in the grand context, sink it into my lived historical particularity. Which choice moves us closer to the future progressives and liberals and, well, anyone left of wingnut these days want.
Because let’s be real: the stakes are as high as can be. Half the population on the verge of losing their bodily autonomy. Majority rule, hell, rule for the benefit of any but the richest and worst among us, threatened, along with the tattered remains of our democratic traditions. The planet we all live on heating up, soon to be past the tipping point and shit getting all kinds of fucked up. We need to be making big strides. Barring that, baby steps. Anything to start the momentum moving the right direction.
And we need to be pragmatic about it. Because our ideals – and the stakes – deserve no less.