I’ll start off with full disclosure: The day that Bernie officially announced his candidacy I signed up. Literally that day. At his first public event I could be found next to him as he spoke in the living room of my friend’s Elizabeth’s house. It was the first time in a very politically focused life that I had ever volunteered for any political candidate. So, in other words, it’s safe to say I believed in his message.
Also, before I get to my actual post I want to say that if you are fond of the phrase Bernie Bros then I’m not really talking to you. I am not a fan of the nickname. It is designed to take to ideals of some very politically intelligent people, and make them sound like the cast of Animal House. I believe that nicknames and sound bites are part of what is wrong with politics in America. Participating in this practice squashes long held beliefs, ideas and dreams into insulting shortcuts and nicknames that marginalize legitimate voters. I believe we are better than that. I don’t think doing so is part of the solution.
Okay, off the soap box…
So Bernie has done the unthinkable, he has endorsed Hillary Clinton, right?! There are huge swaths of Bernie supporters who feel betrayed, angry and used. The entire Bernie or Bust movement is now starting to look for alternatives. Some are looking to Jill Stein, some refuse to vote, others are even considering Donald Trump.
But stop for minute, and think about what has happened…
First off, Bernie Sanders has just pulled off the impossible. He just ran the largest grass roots campaign in modern history. His did so literally without any big money, which had begun to be thought impossible in this day and age. His name recognition went from “Who?” to filling 30,000 seat arenas with people… just to hear a political stump speech!
And here’s another thing, if you’ve even remotely followed or learned about Bernie’s political history you suddenly realized that here was a guy with integrity and who’s word you could count on. And I actually believe that he really didn’t want to be president for himself. I really do believe his entire goal was to start a political revolution in this country. To revitalize true progressive ideals and move the country back toward the left, and the populace. He wants to give the power back to the people from the the big corporations who stole it through legal maneuvering and loopholes. He believes that our tax dollars would be better spent educating people, and easing their medical bills rather than buying a few more aircraft carriers. And amazingly, people responded to that message.
Then on June 17, 2016 Bernie Sanders addressed the nation and appealed to his supporters to take the revolution to the next level. He set up a page for people to sign up to run for local political office in the local area to begin the next phase of the revolution. How do you actually change things? With lots of local candidates working with similar beliefs, who are preparing to change things on a local level. Within 24 hours of this speech 7,000 signed up to get involved and conceivably run for local office. This, people, is why he ran! He wants the change, not just the title. I honestly believe this. Nothing in his history says otherwise. Just watch one video of him addressing and empty house of Congress in the middle of the night to make sure he gets his message on the record and you can see what he’s made of.
If you don’t understand the significance of 7,000 progressively minded people suddenly signing up to run for local office then I encourage you to read up on the GOP’s RedMap plan that was conceived and carried out in such a way that it will have repercussions for decades. The GOP essentially hijacked the 2010 census info to gerrymander the country in such a way that they have virtually guaranteed themselves a majority of power for elections to come. And to the best of my knowledge Bernie’s is the only plan so far that has a chance of having any impact on what essentially was travesty to what was once (mostly) fair and balanced representation in this country.
So, no Bernie did not fail you. If you think he did you are being short-sighted. If you still believe in his message then please visit Bernie’s link and sign up yourself.
But because of some unpalatable facts of our political system, Bernie was not given a fair shake from the superdelegate votes yet to be cast. Ever the pragmatist, he did what he felt would best bring about the change he has fought for. He took his 1,900 delegates to the DNC and firmly requested that they make some significant changes to the entire party’s platform, making sure to carry his supporters votes forward in a way that will help effect change. The power to convince a party to change its platform at this level is no small feat.
Once having done that, he then backed Hillary Clinton. Why? Because he now knows that the party is now obligated to work toward the progressive ideals he championed. And because he has inspired thousands and thousands of people to get active, really active, on a progressive agenda in local elections. And finally, he really, really believes that Donald Trump can not be trusted with things like international relations or having the nuclear codes (for that matter, if Trump’s Brown Shirts dig far enough in to my own family history I’m screwed. I’ll be in some internment camp simply because of my DNA).
So Bernie did the only thing that made sense, he backed Hillary. What else could he do?! He has done so much already, but everyone is forgetting that because they wanted the “big prize”. But he has changed the political landscape in ways that can now resonate for decades. At first it will have to be in small ways, and if we keep on it will lead to bigger and more progressive change as time goes one. It’s a revolution, not a light switch.
But if you’re still pissed off, please before you go out to vote out of spite, stop and remember… This election was never about the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, it was always about the political revolution. And if you were carrying signs that said this and didn’t realize what it actually meant, then it’s time to wake up to the real message. He helped us start this thing, now it’s up to us to make it matter going forward.
Are you ready?