Tomorrow, the election will be over and done with. We will finally know who our next president will be. I personally can’t wait. These last two years has been a disaster and I am terrified as to which of our two evils will be elected.
I didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton in this embarrassing election. I was an avid Bernie Sanders supporter until he didn’t win the nomination and urged his supporters to get behind Hillary Clinton. I went to his rally in Syracuse back in April, where he fired us up about being “against the establishment.” I wasn’t about to join the establishment just to beat Donald Trump.
Since July, I have been an active supporter of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. She is as close to anti-establishment as any candidate will ever get. Her platform also aligns closely with my personal beliefs and stances. I think she would make a great candidate if Americans would give her a chance.
Of course, she is a third-party. We Americans refuse to vote third-party because we fear that it will be a wasted vote for someone who will never get elected. This is the textbook definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy; having an idea of what will happen and taking unconscious actions to ensure it comes true.
However, there is another reason why Americans are so reluctant to vote for Stein that I am so sick of hearing about. There is a notion that Jill Stein is against vaccinations for children.
Literally every time I voice my opinion on Jill Stein’s candidacy, I get the same exact response from someone in the room. First, a laugh. Then, something along the lines of, “she’s a doctor and she doesn’t support vaccinations! There’s no way she will win!”
I have had this conversation with some friends of mine lately, and I just want to note that this is not a stab at you guys. I have heard this complaint of Stein at least a dozen times in personal conversations. It has made national news on several occasions. You may be thinking, so what? People complain about her stance on vaccines, just like people complain about Trump’s stance on immigration. What’s the difference?
Here are two issues with people complaining about Stein’s anti-vaccination stance. One, people use this as one sole reason for completely dismissing Stein’s legitimacy as a president. Two, IT IS FALSE.
Jill Stein has said on a number of occasions that she supports vaccinations as a legitimate use for disease prevention. Her concerns with vaccinations have largely been over the use of mercury in them, which are issues that she believes have been resolved. There were two statements of Stein’s that mainstream media took out of context and speculated heavily upon. One was this following quote from an interview with The Washington Post:
“‘As a medical doctor, there was a time where I looked very closely at those issues, and not all those issues were completely resolved,’ Stein said. ‘There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed.’”
The second statement was on Twitter, where Stein changed a tweet that said, “there is no evidence linking autism with vaccines,” to, “I am not aware of evidence linking autism to vaccines.” This small switch in rhetoric drove media outlets crazy.
Stein never said, in either of these statements, that she is an anti-vaxxer. That didn’t stop The Huffington Post, a very Clinton-sided news outlet, from publishing this popular article that twisted Stein’s words and helped fuel the misconception that Stein is anti-vaccines. She is simply not an anti-vaxxer, and she is certainly not anti-science.
So why is this whole anti-vaxxer controversy with Stein a thing? I guess you could blame it on a number of factors, but I blame it on a combination of a select few: she is a third-party candidate, most news outlets are pro-Hillary and discredit her, and she is a woman.
You might be shaking your head on the “woman” factor. Oh yes, I think this is an issue. You would have to be blind to not see the sexism used against Hillary’s campaign in this election. Stein is certainly not exempt. I hear a ton about how she has never held elected office before, so there is no way she could be a good president. Trump has also never held elected office, and he’s not far behind Clinton.
If you are going to dismiss Stein, at least do it for the right reasons. I will give credit to one of my Facebook friends, who I won’t name, who always pokes fun at Stein’s plan to dismiss all student debt using quantitative easing methods. She does make a very complex economic measure seem very simple. With how complex our economy is with our tremendous national debt, I just don’t see student debt being abolished completely. There are better approaches to the problem, such as making interest rates less predatory or making college more affordable.
Just don’t dismiss Stein because you believe she is an anti-vaxxer, because it’s just not true. She’s still interested in eliminating corporate interests in federal regulatory agencies, which relates to the vaccine issue, but she does not think that vaccines are unsafe. That’s just malarkey.
If the anti-vaxxer thing was the only thing keeping you from considering Jill Stein as a candidate, check out her platform. I see many of my Facebook friends supporting Hillary because of her stance on social justice issues. I agree with most of Hillary’s stance on those issues, but Jill Stein is your woman for acting on them. If you want to see the Dakota Access Pipeline project dismantled, vote for Jill. After all, she was in North Dakota on the front lines with protestors when the story broke months ago. If you want to end police discrimination against people of color, vote for Jill. She is the only candidate who openly supports Black Lives Matter. If you want to see a full transition towards renewable energy, vote for Jill. Our planet is her number one concern.