Bernie or bust?
I’m currently reading a book to Ani… the second book in a series that has to do with the fight against a power that has corrupted a once beautiful land. In it, the main character is reflecting on her own life and the life of one of the supporting characters and how they are similar. How they were both plucked from their good lives and thrust into a dark world that has irrevocably changed who they were. She reflects and wonders what their lives might have become had the horrible circumstances never occurred. Ultimately, they both conclude that they would not change anything, that the people they have become are actually a better version of the people they have always been, and instead of giving up, they will continue the fight.
This fight… The main character finds herself in this dark world and is quickly drafted into the revolution to fight for their world. Her mission is to take out the villain. She fails, not once, but twice. The first time is because she did not take an opportunity when it presented itself, and the second is because we learn that her mission was doomed to failure until other actions are taken to weaken the villain (Is this starting to sound like the end of Harry Potter? We thought so, too).
We are at a crossroads. The revolution that Bernie Sanders was leading has failed to achieve one of its objectives. Bernie Sanders will not become President as we hoped. The DNC has awarded the nomination to Hillary Clinton. We are in real danger of having a Trump presidency. It’s not like when Bush II was ”elected” and we thought the world was coming to an end. This is so much worse. His presidency could mean our hard-won progress could be set back decades.
There are those who say we should let it happen. “Break the country. Burn it down and rise again from the ashes. Hillary Clinton is just the left-leaning representative of the villainous capitalist oligarchy that is ruling our world. It needs to end and be replaced by a better world.” Flashes from The Matrix and Terminator come to mind when I think about the kind of world we would live in and the struggles progressives would suffer during a Trump presidency and beyond. Can you say ”police state”? How about “apocalypse”?
Then I come to my senses and rationalize that it couldn’t happen. There are too many checks and balances to prevent the rise of another Hitler, right? But my rationalization falters there and I am not so sure.
As a father, I think about the world that I’m leaving my daughter. Am I really willing to subject her to the dark world that could be? To force her to suffer and fight to regain all of the progress that we as a society threw away? There is the possibility and hope that it will make her stronger, a better version of the person she already is. But I can’t bring myself to subject her to that. Is that a cowardly decision? Shouldn’t I be willing to step up and fight the darkness, to tear down the corrupt world and rebuild a new one for her? Yes, I would be willing to do that for her if I thought that I could also protect her from suffering at the same time. We will all suffer if we go down that path, and if it comes to pass anyway, I will stand and fight and tear down and heal and rebuild. But I cannot bring myself to be responsible for that suffering.
So, I am opting for a holding action. Maintain the status quo, which currently leans progressive, until we can make real change. The revolution never belonged to Bernie. It started long before he came along. And it will continue long after he is gone. But he has awakened us. We know what we need to do. We need to do the other work, take the other actions, start building the foundation of the world we want, so that when it comes time again the villain will be weaker and we can overcome. We need to get involved by supporting progressive candidates up and down the ballot, and running for office ourselves. We need to hold the President, Congress, and our local politicians accountable. And if we want to keep our government left-leaning and moving forward, we need to deliver a liberal House and Senate. Freedom isn’t free… You have to pay attention.
And in the meantime, we need to elect Hillary Clinton. And we need to stop with the negative rhetoric. The portrayal of her as a lying monster was started by the Republicans decades ago. For some reason, some Bernie supporters took up their chant to distinguish her from Bernie during the primaries and the seeds of distrust were sown. But the thing is, Bernie has always liked and respected her, though not always agreed with her, and has said all along that she would make a fine president. She is not as progressive as we might want, but she will continue the slow incremental steps toward our ideals until we create the mechanism by which real change will occur.
I’m with Bernie and I’m with her. And the revolution will go on.