November 13th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the waning moments of the presidential election, my co-workers and I have noticed a certain trend: self-identified liberal men who are desperate to perform political awareness. They are eager to tell you that they voted for Hillary Clinton, while subsequently outlining all of the reasons why voting for her was a Herculean task in which they miraculously overcame themselves. Their endorsements of Clinton aren’t necessarily endorsements, but rather an acknowledgment that voting for Donald Trump is unconscionable.
It’s a kind of performative political awareness that’s permeated this election, or at least its public discourse: Sad but woke men who have triumphed over their moral objections and cast their vote against Trump, a candidate who is openly racist and has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Implicit to this acceptance of a deeply flawed candidate like Clinton is that their decision is heroic, a willingness to sacrifice their personal politics for the sake of the greater good.
Part of this performance is the public acknowledgment that this was a hard decision, that maybe they wouldn’t have voted at all but, as they painstakingly point out, there’s a lot at stake in this election. So they hold their nose and vote for Clinton, conflating their perception of rationality with morality. Like all conscious performances, applause is expected; a hearty round of congratulations for subsuming their individuality—made up of equal parts anger and reason—for the redemption of our social and political order.