Op Ed by Amanda MacDonald
I want to talk about our candidate Bernie. He’s a man who has been loyal to his causes and political beliefs for his entire life. He has integrity, boundless determination, and seemingly endless hope for the overall good in human nature. He’s been in the right side of history, almost without fail, for his entire political career. He’s been right about how the tides of our country are changing for decades. He’s never strayed from his message, he’s never said he was anything he wasn’t, and that is why we all rallied behind him, isn’t it?
Bernie woke us all up to how gritty and oftentimes nasty the world of politics is, and refused to run his campaign the same way as his running mates, so that his campaign could remain honest and focused on the issues he champions. Bernie told us who he is, and never wavered in his honesty about it once. He walks the walk. That is why the people of Vermont voted for him time and time again, and why we all voted for him in the primary.
It felt like finally, just maybe we could all have a Presidential candidate that was honest. A candidate who when we filled out our ballots, we didn’t have to cringe. But he lost. He won’t be the candidate. There are factors in that loss that irk me: stories of voter suppression, the DNC emails, super delegates declaring for Hillary Clinton before she even announced her candidacy. The loss doesn’t feel clean. Hillary’s win doesn’t feel clean to me.
And I am angry. I feel like the wool has been taken away from my eyes and the Clinton campaign is asking me to close them once more. I know a lot of you are angry. I don’t blame you for it one bit. I won’t ask you to get over it, and I won’t ask you to forget how you feel right now. But I also want to talk about this election, because it may just be the most important election of our lifetime.
I desperately want to be Bernie or Bust. I want to stand up to corrupt politics and say “No more”. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t think I can. There is too much at stake. Mike Pence swore yesterday that if Donald Trump is elected “We’ll see Roe vs. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.” And it could happen. There is one Supreme Court Justice position open. There are probably going to be more openings during the next presidency. The Court is split evenly right now. If a conservative Justice is appointed, it is highly likely that Mike Pence’s vow will come to fruition; just look at what he’s done in his own state. I don’t want women to lose their right to their own bodies. So I can’t be Bernie or Bust.
The RNC platform this year is incredibly unfriendly to the LGBTQ community. The platform states that adopted children should be raised in a “traditional household” and that parents can force their LGBTQ children into conversion therapy. The platform also states that marriages should be between one man and one woman only. The RNC had its first openly gay person on its platform committee this year, and she begged them to include people like her in the platform. They voted against her 112-30. So I cannot bring myself to be Bernie or Bust, because I can’t risk losing equal marriage rights. How am I supposed to look my friends in the eye and tell them I failed to fight for them, if their marriage rights disappear?
There are many, many more reasons why that as much as I want to, I cannot be Bernie or Bust. But this next one is the one I most want to stress: Bernie Sanders told us exactly how to continue his political revolution. He wants all of us to get involved, to run for local government, and work our way up. Because that is how you get a legitimate third party. That is how you change the game. Bernie Sanders knows that real change doesn’t happen overnight, and he’s been playing the long game for his entire career. He’s asked us to play the long game too. He told us from the beginning that he would support the Democratic Nominee, even if it wasn’t him, and we screamed out against it when he followed through on that promise. But wasn’t his integrity why we followed him in the first place?
Bernie Sanders is a brilliant politician, and he’s been running as an outsider for his entire career. He’s very good at it and even he has come out and warned against voting for a third party in this election. I ask again for all of my Bernie Sanders supporter friends to look back at his record of being on the right side of history and of speaking out in warning before gigantic political mistakes were made. He has endorsed Hillary Clinton, and spoken of his own volition that he believes “…that, at this moment, our country, our values, and our common vision for a transformed America, are best served by the defeat of Donald Trump and the election of Hillary Clinton.” Historically when a candidate like Donald Trump is elected, in the next election people don’t swing wildly in the opposite direction. They move center. Center is a step away from his movement. So if Bernie Sanders believes that electing Hillary Clinton is the best way to achieve his vision, shouldn’t we give him the benefit of the doubt? Or do we abandon his revolution at the very moment it needs us the most?
Hillary Clinton is not my candidate. I know for a lot of you she isn’t yours either. But I trust Bernie. He hasn’t stopped fighting for his revolution. He hasn’t given up. So I won’t give up on him. I’m going to trust that he knows what he’s doing, and I implore you all think about whether or not you do too.
Let’s get involved, let’s run for local office, and let’s start building the party we want from the ground up. We’ve got the organization, and the motivation, and if we bite the bullet this time, we might have a real shot at making it the next time around.
So I am #StillSanders, even if it means #ImWithHer
I know this might make me a target, and some of you might be upset, (Bernie, this next gray hair is for you buddy) but if you think I might be on to something, please share this around. It’s all I can ask.