Voting Your Conscience vs. Voting Your Temper Tantrum: An Open Letter to Susan Sarandon

 Dear Susan,

I voted for Barack Obama twice. I voted for Hillary Clinton. Proudly.

Because I have a conscience.

And my conscience says that the future of our planet, the future of my fellow citizens, and the future of my fellow human beings is at stake in this election. My conscience says that the 20 million people who have health insurance that wouldn't have it absent Obamacare are worth fighting for. My conscience says that the hundreds of millions of Americans who can no longer be denied health insurance when they need health insurance the most are worth bargaining for. My conscience says that the one million jobs that President Obama's administration saved in the American auto industry and the 15.5 million jobs he's created are worth being grateful for.

My conscience says that America is a better place because one can no longer be denied the right to marry the person they love. My conscience says that the millions of people who were able to hang on because of extended unemployment benefits, middle class tax cuts, and infrastructure investments in the Recovery Act were worth compromising for to get something done. My conscience says that creating the nation's first consumer protection agency and instituting the broadest set of Wall Street re-regulation needed to be urgently done, even if some utopian notion of ending big finance once and for all didn't happen.

My conscience says that we are better off because President Obama pulled us out of the worst economic calamity in 80 years. My conscience says we are better off because Osama bin Laden is dead. My conscience says that America's position in the world is better because Hillary Clinton represented President Obama and this country as she traveled tirelessly across the globe.

My conscience says eight million kids have health coverage because Hillary Clinton didn't give up when she lost the health care fight in the 1990s. My conscience says 9/11 first responders and their families are better off because Hillary Clinton decided to fight for those who ran into the burning buildings to save their fellow citizens.

My conscience says that our country stands at a crossroads. My conscience says that we need a president who can stand up to the gun lobby, who can speak out forcefully against systemic racism, who can push for immigration reform, who can address student debt, and yes, who can be a champion for little girls across America and all over the globe.

My conscience does not allow me to cavalierly neglect the needs of people who need help now in the name of waiting for the rise of an utopian phoenix from the ashes of "burning down the house". My conscience does not let me forget that protecting President Obama's legacy will involve a job as tough as building it.

My conscience does not allow me to cast my vote in any way but to preserve and expand the legacy President Obama has built. My conscience will not let me consider risking the reversal of health reform, financial reform, our economic and social progress at the behest of dogmatic ideology.

My conscience does not allow me to even consider for a second that my vote could be used for anything other than a full rebuke of Donald Trump and to build the margin of his humiliation. My conscience does not allow me to look at immigrants and say "I'd like to help you, but not this election." My conscience does not allow me to witness the gunning down of unarmed black men and think to myself, "What a horrible thing; well, next time." My conscience does not allow me to look the deep disrespect for women not just coming from Donald Trump but that is embedded in the form of institutional misogyny and consider that the most qualified person to ever run for president who happens to be a woman is not "good enough."

Because the "conscience" that allows one to even consider casting one's ballot in any one of these ways is not conscience at all. It is temper tantrum. That's what you are voting out of, Susan Sarandon: rich, white privileged temper tantrum.

Let's face it, Susan. You have made it to the bank and you could care less if 20 million people lost their health care, if a man who brags about sexually assaulting becomes president, if bullying became commonplace, immigrants, disabled people and people of color were persecuted and the Supreme Court were stuffed with reactionary radical conservatives for the next 40 years. You'll still have your $50 million and your $2 millon Penthouse where you can sit and marvel at your own "conscience" that would allow all this to happen. At least you won't have to dirty your ballot with "compromise."

After all, as you said, fear of Donald Trump is not enough for you to support Hillary Clinton. Apparently neither is the stunning prospect of ruined lives in the wake of a Donald Trump presidency. Neither are Hillary Clinton's record of advocating for women and families, her taking on the gun lobby, her (and Bernie Sanders') plan of student debt relief. Neither is the fact that despite being hunted for 35 years by the Right, Hillary Clinton still stands.

No, because you have an ideologue bone to pick with her over Monsanto and Israel. Have at it.

Have at it. But don't you dare call your cowardice "conscience". Don't you dare tell us that your temper tantrum from your insulated bubble rose out of some profound sense of patriotism.

You are allowed to vote your temper tantrum. But we'll be damned if we let go unchallenged the insult to our conscience when you call your selfish, self-aggrandizing, egotistical vote a form of 'conscience'.

In this election, your 'conscience' sucks.

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