blaming the obamacare repeal vote on leftists who were critical of clinton is tasteless and counterproductive

May 8, 2017

On Thursday, the Trump administration finally made significant progress on one of their biggest and worst campaign promises: the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. After a similar bill’s high-profile defeat in March, this time Republicans in the House succeeded in patching together enough votes to dismantle the foundations of  Obamacare, with twenty GOP lawmakers joining the full caucus of Democrats in opposition.

The effects of the vote, especially if the Senate were to follow the House’s lead, would undoubtedly be devastating. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the GOP bill would leave 24 million fewer people insured by 2026.

Certainly, under a Clinton presidency this bill would be dead on arrival–if it even were to pass. This significant step in the effort to take down Obamacare proves yet again that Trump represents everything that anyone with a soul rightly hates, and his policies do very clear harm to the most marginalized communities in ways that Clinton’s would not. This contrast between the two 2016 candidates was not lost on those who insist on bashing and blaming third-party voters, nonvoters and other disenchanted leftists for not supporting Clinton enthusiastically enough. As seems to happen any time #45 even takes a rancid breath, the never-ending saga of the liberal disingenuous blame game once again went into full effect after the vote. When the Green Party reiterated its support for universal health care in response to the news, hysterical Twitter users grabbed their ever-ready pitchforks, with one tweeting “You & your minions brought this on us,” and another claiming the party is “the fucking reason Trumpcare is a thing.”

As I stated, this misguided backlash to Trump’s every move is not a new phenomenon, but it is a new low even for the most self-righteous Clintonites. We are talking about the real lives of millions of people, many of whom are third party or nonvoters themselves, and even if we have different opinions on how to make those lives matter we should not stoop to using them as petty pawns in a counterproductive chess game that no one can win. This should be a time for self-reflection, not for turning lives into hypotheticals for ahistorical yearnings for a nonexistent past.

The real life stories of people fighting through this regime are not one-dimensional, and there are more than two sides to each. People had and have very real, complex and valid reasons for opposing Hillary Clinton, many of which include the fact that even millions more lives would be lost under her regime, and that these are lives that are always already ignored. The argument has never been that the violence of the two candidates would look or feel the same. In fact, many took issue with Clinton particularly because the Clinton brand of violence is one that feels much more comfortable to those who claim progressive values. There is a reason the dead and dying over in Honduras or here in our prisons don’t get the same hysterical Twitter tirades, and it is a reason we need to address.

Centering the margins means that we should at least attempt to understand why people are hesitant to do that which is not for the sake of the most marginalized, even if we haven’t quite made it to that place in our own politics yet. If we are to make any progress in this fight, we have to acknowledge that we won’t get to where we need to be blaming everyone for not waiting their turn, especially when we have a terrible habit of forgetting people once we’ve had our own chance at the bat.

*Hari Ziyad is a New York based storyteller and writer for AFROPUNK. They are also the editor-in-chief of RaceBaitR, deputy editor of Black Youth Project, and assistant editor of Vinyl Poetry & Prose. You can follow them on Twitter @hariziyad.