Jill Stein, Let’s See Your Shot Records
In this coming election Jill Stein has become a legitimate candidate for Native people. Our options are slim: Trump, being evil incarnate, Hillary, being morally ambiguous, and Gary Johnson—a running joke well on his way to obscurity. It’s like picking through the dregs of leftover Halloween candy three weeks into December.
Jill Stein is that white girl who goes to Native functions and gets so outlandish the cops show up and arrest everyone but her. She looked absolutely thrilled to write graffiti on a bulldozer at recent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. I’m familiar with that face. It’s the face of a tourist when they get to smudge themselves at our gatherings, or look at our regalia, or, really do anything that makes for good dinner party fodder, or a compelling Facebook status. Stein gets to congratulate herself and benefit from the exposure, but what has she actually accomplished for Native people?
Why are people acting like she’s not an Ivy League graduate and isn’t estimated to be worth millions? She won’t produce her tax returns in their entirety. She grew up in affluence and she lives in affluence. She’s the only candidate who cares about Indigenous people, but is that enough? Aren’t we familiar with how privileged white people help our community? It becomes paternalistic, nearsighted, and downright insulting. I don’t need a tourist to better my circumstance. A true ally doesn’t pose for pictures or walk in the front of the march.
With her education, which reeks of white privilege, she’s made some very outlandish statements. She’s entertained anti-vaxer sentiment by parsing and legitimizing the claims that vaccinations can be harmful. I’d like to see her shot records, mostly because I’m sure she’s been inoculated. I wasn’t and I have the Tuberculosis to prove it, and, because of this, it’s imperative that my children get the shots I needed. Especially since I can afford them, and we live in a country where they’re available. If anyone could understand why there should be questions concerning vaccinations, it’s a Native person. After all, we’re familiar with how our own government is capable of putting us at risk. It is a privilege to naysay the very thing you’re benefitting from.
There is a dangerous sense of entitlement in the anti-vaccination sentiment. It comes with the sense that one’s feelings and fears matter more than the greater good. Nobody wants to vaccinate their children. Nobody wants to inject them with a foreign body, some dead strain of a disease. But the entitled mind never stops to ask several important questions: What if nobody vaccinated their children? Would these deadly diseases come back with a vengeance and kill actual children? In the same way, many Stein voters are counting on other people to protect them from a truly dangerous and vile disease: Trump and the racist, xenophobic sentiment he is riding.
Stein’s got some sketchy geopolitical views as well. You’d only have to search the keywords, “Jill Stein and Syria,” to see for yourself. Why does this third party candidate seem so third-rate? Why do the third party conventions look more like Comic-cons than legitimate political functions filled with rational discourse?
This all might seem didactic, but I’m living in a theatre of the absurd right now. Maybe it’s all led up to this moment. Maybe Nixon, Clinton, and Bush laid the tracks for the slimiest of all candidates. Maybe it was all working up to this crescendo, where society crumbles as we know it because a man, a walking Pumpkin Spice Latte, would get to take over because the country was divided enough to let it happen. I’m not trying to appeal to your ethos when I ask you what we’ll tell our children. I simply want to say that Jill Stein thinks WiFi has radiation, and can we really elect someone that daft? Even Harvard couldn’t tame her type of crazy. She’s that white girl who didn’t get arrested at the party, who was told to go home while we dealt with the aftermath. I see a lot of idealism attached to her name, but I don’t understand the ideal. Not with her.
Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. Her work has been featured in The Offing, Burrow Press Review, Yellow Medicine Review, BOAAT, and The Rumpus.
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