I am rooting for Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump on Election Day. But to be honest, I feel a bit guilty about it. I’m almost ashamed, truth be told, that my preference in this election comes not from some noble principle, but from a place of pure pride. I mostly just don’t want to be embarrassed.
I am a US service member who ultimately takes orders from the Commander and Chief. I also live overseas, travel often, and keep in touch with hundreds of foreign friends. I would be horribly embarrassing to have to explain to these friends, every time they asked or brought it up, why my free and prosperous country is led by a douchebag reality TV personality. It would be devastating to my psyche, to my self-respect as a professional doing meaningful work, to swear stony-faced vows that I will obey the every order of such a cartoonish and unserious person. For purely selfish reasons, I don’t want my country or my government to be the rest of the world’s punchline.
Hillary can at least be taken seriously. She has enough governing experience, and speaks in coherent enough sentences, that to an uninformed foreign observer, it’s at least plausible she might be qualified to rule a country. Hillary spares me the indignity of having to apologize each time I introduce myself as an American. I can feign normalcy under a Clinton administration. I can pretend, for a little while longer, to serve a legitimate government enacting some rough approximation of the popular will. Things will quiet down. Life will go on.
It’s more convenient, you see, if my conscience does not ask me, “Which administration would kill more people?”
Which administration, I try not to wonder, would start more wars, and intervene in more existing ones? Which candidate has campaigned as the more hawkish of the two? Which has a longer history of supporting military aggression overseas? Which do we know, for absolute certain because they’ve done it so many times before, would not bat an eye about destabilizing entire regions, or indirectly starving or displacing millions of people, just to secure regime changes that suited the national security interests of the United States?
Which candidate has a foreign policy track record indistinguishable from that of Dick Cheney?
The uncomfortable truth is that I want Hillary Clinton to win NOT because her policies will cause less suffering for fewer people; it’s just that the havoc Hillary wreaks would be easier for me to keep out of sight and out of mind. I would not encounter the same daily reminders that my President is an imbecile under a Clinton administration, because neither the media nor the world makes such a fuss over dead Syrian, Yemeni, Somalian, Afghani, Libyan, Iraqi, or Palestinian civilians as they do over Donald Trump’s racist tweets.
I will ultimately root for a Clinton victory next week, because I think she’s the lesser of two evils – for people like me. For the rest of the world, I can’t be so sure.