Yesterday morning, a friend asked me why I don’t fuck with Hillary Clinton anymore. I tried to answer their question in this short, non-exhaustive list.
- Hillary lost me, when, as First Lady, she lobbied for “tough on crime” policy that put away a disproportionate number of black and brown people, increasing the total prison population by 673,000 people. With her support, her husband signed into law the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. “The number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled, and grew more than it did under the previous 12-years of Republican rule, combined.”
- She lost me when she supported her husband’s decision in the mid 90’s to redirect nearly $1 billion in state spending for higher education to prison construction. Since then, Hillary has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from private prison corporations and ‘related lobbying groups,’including $133,246 for her 2016 presidential bid.
- She lost me when she said in 1994: “We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. The three strikes and you’re out for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.”
- She lost me again when I read in 2013: “Hillary has signaled she would use the 1990’s as a selling point if she jumps in the race, making the case that, as First Lady, she was part of an era that found solutions to the same sorts of political difficulties that bedevil present-day Washington.”
- Hillary Clinton lost me when she — after decades of lobbying for policy that’s decimated (especially African) American communities, and, without any admission of her contribution to the current state of the criminal justice system — said in 2014: “The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we have almost 25 percent of the world’s total prison population… It is because we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance. And I personally hope that these tragedies give us the opportunity to come together as a nation to find our balance again.” -_-
Mass incarceration along with state-sanctioned violence are among the most pressing domestic challenges of our time. We can’t in good conscience elect a president with a history of supporting the very policies that put us here.