Lately, the Internet has been ablaze with debates about who the bigger feminist is: Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. I read through several comments from “Feminists for Bernie” and I can’t help feeling like I am in the twilight zone. Bernie’s supporters like to throw out “the woman card” as often as Trump’s do. They love to say “You only like her because she’s a woman and you’re a woman”. Yes, I do like Secretary Clinton. But that is not why. I like her for many reasons. One of which is that Hillary is a feminist, and I am one too. In my opinion, Sanders has done nothing to earn this feminist’s vote.
We’ve all heard the usual anti-Sanders rhetoric. I’m not here to talk to you about the Brady Bill or the minimum wage, his tax returns or his family. Forget all that for a moment. I’m uncomfortable with him because I feel that as a woman, Bernie Sanders does not represent me or respect me.
First let’s chat about Sanders’ essays. Let’s establish this first: HE WAS NOT A TEENAGER OR A CHILD. He was a 30 year old man. A 30 year old is not a child. If we are allowed to bring up Hillary being a Young Republican and a Goldwater Girl in her teens & early 20’s, we cannot ignore this man’s words that he wrote at thirty years old. He described men fantasizing about tying up and abusing a woman. He described women fantasizing about being raped by 3 men at once. I don’t know about you, but personally I’ve never fantasized about gang rape. Kinks are one thing, but to me the thought of any woman being raped by one man alone, much less THREE of them, makes me sick to my stomach and breaks my heart. You can’t be a feminist and believe that women are wishing to be gang raped.
Everyone knows about that essay though. So let’s chat about another one. Bernie wrote “The revolution comes… when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has taught her and accepts her boyfriend’s love”. As a feminist, I do not believe that your virginity has anything to do with your worth or your self respect. Sexuality is a healthy and normal part of adolescence. However, far too many young women are pressured by men into giving in and having sex before they are ready. Our mothers try to teach us to “wait for the right man” for a reason. They teach us that so we won’t get pregnant or get STD’s. They teach us that so we don’t let the first guy that shows us any affection take our virginity, never call us again, and break our hearts. They teach us that to protect us. If you have daughters, granddaughters, sisters, or nieces, I’m sure you don’t like the thought of that 13-16 year old girl being told to just forget about her mom’s words and let a boy screw her “because Bernie said so”. Girls and women must make this decision completely on their own, when they are 100% comfortable and ready to do so. Whether they make this decision at 14 or at 26, it has to be on their own terms and we cannot try to control or regulate somebody’s sexuality. I’m a liberal because I don’t want anyone telling women or girls what to do with their body. This goes against everything I (and my party) believe in. You cannot be a feminist if you tell girls what to do with their body.
Sure, a lot of people say that we can’t judge a man by his writings from 40 years ago. I’d agree with you on that if his voting record didn’t continue to parallel all of his warped writings about women, girls, and sexual assault victims. Did you know he voted against AMBER Alert (the system we currently use to track abducted children)? Why would he do that? Because he didn’t agree with part of the bill that included having mandatory life sentences for pedophiles who sexually abuse a child multiple times, even after rehabilitation or jail time. Seriously. He found the part of the bill about jail sentencing for the abductors and abusers so important that it somehow negated the part of the bill about finding and rescuing abducted and abused children. Clearly, anybody who would vote against AMBER Alert for that reason must feel that the abusers’ lives are more important than the children’s. You cannot be a feminist if the lives of sex offenders are a higher priority to you than the lives of children.
This pattern does not stop with children either. Did you know he voted against the Victims of Rape Health Protection Act (a law requiring accused rapists to submit to an HIV test & give the results to their victims, if the victim requested it)? He voted against it because he believed it was infringing on the privacy of the rape suspects. Yeah, you heard me right. He voted against rape victims receiving a warning about their HIV status because it just “wasn’t fair” to the rapist. There’s no other way to spin this besides flat out stating that Bernie Sanders believed that the privacy of a rapist was more important than the health & well-being of the rape victim. You cannot be a feminist if you put a rapist’s rights above those of the rape victim.
In his campaign, his more rabid and volatile supporters have become as violent & defiant as Trump’s. They turned a state convention into chaos, pushed through barricades, lifted and waved chairs around, and chanted “CUNT!” repeatedly at a female senator. They lurk on all of Hillary Clinton’s online postings spewing sexist slurs, half the time calling her a “bitch”, “slut”, “whore”, or “cunt”, and the other half harping on her weight, her appearance, and her marriage. They harass any supporter who comments positively on her posts. The women get it the worst. I could post something as innocuous as “You go girl! Excited to vote in my primary in June!” and still have a dozen 19 year old Bernie Bros commenting that I am a “dumb bitch” and a “worthless slut”. Despite being given ample opportunities to do so, Bernie refuses to tell them to stop. He eats it up. He bathes in their cheers and is delighted by the “revolution” they are bringing – even if some women have to be harassed and bullied with sexist slurs and attacks on the way to this revolution. You cannot be a feminist and stand by silently while your followers attack women daily.
This isn’t about a woman president. There’s been women in presidential elections before. We didn’t root for Sarah Palin and we didn’t root for Carly Fiorina. I’m not voting “for the woman” in this election. I’m voting for the feminist in this election. I’m voting for the candidate that doesn’t support the harassment of women. I’m voting for the candidate that doesn’t tell our 15 year old daughters to just shut up about mommy’s morals and let that guy bone her. I’m voting for the candidate that doesn’t glorify gang rape. I’m voting for the candidate that knows Planned Parenthood is necessary and vital, not the candidate that calls it “the establishment” and uses it as a political pawn when he doesn’t get their endorsement. I’m voting for the candidate that has my health & safety as her top priority. The candidate that sees me as something important, something with worth. The candidate that has put her all into helping women like me.
Go ahead, Bernie bros. Tell me again how I’m “voting with my vagina”. This may come as a surprise to you (and probably to Bernie as well) but having a vagina does not mean that I don’t have a brain and a heart. I will be voting with those this election.
See you at the convention.