*content warning for mentions of sexual assault and rape*
In November of 2016, I was 16 years old. I was too young to vote but old enough to understand the personal repercussions of certain people gaining political office. At 16, I knew that whoever was elected would have a direct impact on my life because they would be enacting laws about which particular rights I had access to. At 16, I paid attention to the anti-choice politicians who wanted to defund Planned Parenthood and make abortion illegal. I am a straight, white female from an upper-middle socioeconomic class who has never had to worry about laws targeting me for my race, my sexual orientation or my family’s income level. I am luckier than most, but I did not know this back in 2016.
Now, I am a rising junior in college, gearing up to vote in my first presidential election. I have educated myself about intersectionality and taken classes about marginalized groups who are targeted the most by conservative politics. Spoiler alert: it isn’t me. I have researched environmental racism and medical racism — how climate change disproportionately affects Black, Brown and Indigenous communities and that Black women die at alarming rates during childbirth. I read about families who risked everything crossing the border just to give their children a better life.
Don’t get me wrong; I am still passionate about pro-choice politics. I worry that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, and Planned Parenthood defunded with a conservative majority in the Supreme Court. The difference between 2020 me and 2016 me is that I will vote with every marginalized group in mind, not just the narrow one I belong to. I do not only think about the ways I will suffer if Donald Trump is re-elected.
Personally, I despise Joe Biden. He is too old and out of touch. He is an abuser. He has inserted himself into civil rights stories to paint the narrative that he is a fierce champion for racial equality. I am not voting for Biden because I like him as a politician or as a person.
I will vote for Biden because immigrant lives, Black lives, transgender lives and so many more will be violated if Trump wins re-election and solidifies a place for his oppressive policies in the Supreme Court. We’ve already seen the immense amount of harm done in the past four years and it will only get worse. Currently, there is a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. It is likely that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer will retire during the next president’s term, leaving two liberal seats open. If Trump gets to appoint two justices, there will be a 7-2 conservative majority on the court. Roe v. Wade and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are just two of the many rulings that the Republican party has said they would love to overturn. It is imperative that Biden wins in order for this nightmare to not occur.
Of course, voting for Biden is not that simple. Eight women have bravely come forward and accused Biden of behaving inappropriately towards them and “physically touch[ing] them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.” One of the women, Tara Reade, also said that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she was working in his U.S. Senate office.
I believe survivors, making it impossible to separate these accusations from a man asking me to vote for him. I believed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when she testified in front of the whole world that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. I believe Tara Reade and the seven other women with stories of Joe Biden touching them without their consent.
It makes me sick to my stomach that I am voting for an abuser. Sexual assault and rape are so incredibly common in America that 1 out of every 6 women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. According to RAINN, every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. RAINN is an acronym for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network which is the largest American anti-sexual assault organization. On November 3, survivors will have to choose between which abuser to vote for, which can be extremely traumatic and bring back painful memories that survivors have worked so hard to overcome. Especially since 94% of survivors experience PTSD, as reported by RAINN.Trump has twenty-five allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against him and even though Biden only has eight, that does not make it any easier for survivors.
Biden is not my first choice for president. Or my second or third or even fourth. He is at the very bottom of a long list of politicians who would do a much better job creating policies that will protect Black, Brown and Indigenous lives. Biden’s platform is incredibly ambitious and he most likely will not follow through on most of these promises. But he is all we have.
I have tried to justify my decision. I believe that I am making the right choice. Trump is despicable and I am scared of what will happen if he wins again. Biden’s platform aligns with my beliefs of ending gender-based violence, improving economic security for women, providing access to abortion nationwide and ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Biden is a terrible person.
But his policies could be life-changing for millions of people. Trump’s policies are life-threatening.
I am not voting for a who.
I am voting for a what.
Coulture’s mission statement says that we aim to be a magazine for people of all shapes and sizes, for those who speak up and stand out. We recognize that it is important to hear from people with personal views, strong perspectives, and something to say. This article is part of Coulture’s “What I’m Voting For” initiative where members write about the issues they care about in the 2020 election.