2.25.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 1
Billy Manes

Billy Manes

I pull my shirt off and pray.

It’s a bit of a conundrum, this political primary. Though Florida’s presidential-preference primary parade won’t hit the pavement until March 15, so-called Super Tuesday is blowing up in our faces on March 1, meaning, of course, that we have to sound our golden horns, decorate our cars and reach for the sky, or engage in something else that screams “occasion.”

That’s not to say that we are taking this election lightly. In the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the chutes and ladders of an overstaffed Republican lineup dwindle in its numbers – Jeb lost his exclamation point, poor dear – and the third-runner-up of the Democratic Party fall from grace (O’Malley), though gracefully. We’ve endured caucuses, town halls, debates and talking points on a level that this editor can’t recall ever having to witness. We’ve seen the racist kowtowing of conservatives touching base, heard the stink of corporate agendas in political financing swirls, tried to dissect the optimism of one candidate versus another on the Democratic side, scoffed at “socialism” and fought with our friends. Things are getting ugly, and they aren’t going to clean up in the nearest of futures. Comparatively, the insanity of politics has been on the right: Donald Trump is a circus unto himself. But we aren’t without issues on the left, either. The phenomenon of “Bernie Bros” has dripped into the lexicon (and likely your Facebook feed); simultaneously, the hatred of dynasties and the “establishment” is ringing its own bell. Buckle up.

In this issue, for many reasons, we have chosen to endorse a primary candidate. There will be hell to pay, we’re sure, and we’re ready for it. There is too much on the line for us to be risking our futures with a candidate whom – while completely respectable, especially on the living wage front and most social issues (sorry, guns) – is not quite ready, in our opinion-at-large, for the role as the leader of the free world.

If you think we’re making this choice lightly, well, you’re welcome to think whatever you would like, but we’re not. Hillary Clinton, in Watermark’s opinion, is the most well equipped candidate we’ve ever seen. From the White House to the Senate to the State Department, she has proven herself a deft handler of the severities facing this nation and the world at large. She’s a fighter and a hero and a juggler. Nope, we won’t apologize.

What we will do is be open to other opinions, though. Columnist Scottie Campbell makes the argument for a Sanders presidency in this very issue, and does so rather convincingly. And if he had not dropped out late in the press-date game, Jeb Bush would have received a nod from our conservative commentator Jason Leclerc (It’s been edited and rewritten to reflect the nodding off of that nod). But even for those living in log cabins, it’s got to be tough supporting Kasich, Cruz, Rubio or Trump at this point. Each of them would challenge social and personal rights, and, bizarrely, are getting away with it among the voting public.

And against the backdrop of Pastor Protection Acts across the country (including here in Florida), the risk of “fiscal conservatism” as an actual argument is too dangerous. Georgia is expanding its discriminatory legislation to include private businesses. Florida has the same thing in mind. Kim Davis is laughing all the way to the bank. This, dear readers, is the backlash you’ve been hearing about. This is the time to fight back.

The LGBT community has made too many advances on the backs and the blood of our forbears to allow history to simply repeat in overzealous state governments. Yes, Sanders has also been a fighter – an “evolved” fighter, like Clinton, on the human rights front – but this world is getting nastier and uglier by the day. In our opinion, the woman with the most experience deserves our nod, even if it is from a regional LGBT paper, even if it amounts to a symbolic gesture. We’d rather the decorous symbolism than not speaking our minds.

Inside this issue you’ll find our endorsement. You’ll also find our picks for other down-ticket races we think you should be watching. They’re often more important than the figurehead pageants the television is selling you, after all. You’ll also find some less heavy lifting and some more important news. Next week, we promise to shut up for a minute and give you the WAVE awards, because local elections matter, people. So, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.

We’re coming up on (re-) Election Day.

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