Man oh man, have I been procrastinating processing my feelings about this one: Bernie’s not going to be our president. Only last week did I hang my head as I took down my “Bernie 2016” sign from my front window. Ugh. And the thing is, I knew this going into the campaign. I think many of the Sander’s supporters who were overwhelmed by Sander’s appeal well over a year ago knew that Sander’s probably wansn’t going to get the nomination. He’s anti-establishment, running against the establishment, in a “race” created by the establishment. Every aspect of the presidential run was stacked against him, with the exception of American populism. But even all these truths doesn’t make my bleeding heart burn less when I’m faced with the fact that the man I really believed in isn’t going to be our president.
As the months progressed, and Bernie became more popular and influential, a lot of Bernie supporters thought that this might be enough. That the amazing divine power of social media and grassroots organizing would lead us into the next candidacy with a renewed faith in how our government and politics are run. I did my best to think as realistically as possible, and continued to focus on Bernie’s issues and needs in key states and key areas like Northeastern PA. I knew if I started to buy into the idea that Bernie would be president then I would be greatly disappointed, and maybe I might slack off in my campaigning for him. I can tell you, the first time I think I really cried of happiness over Bernie was staying up until past midnight, waiting to see who won Iowa back in January, because I couldn’t believe how close it was. How the hard work was paying off.
So what now? A lot of people I know are angry at Bernie for endorsing Clinton, but truth be told, he said he was going to do so from the very beginning. He was positioning himself to make sure he could still have influence on the Democratic Platform, and the influence he’s had over it is way more than what I had hoped for last year at this time. Bernie’s given us the MOST progressive platform ever in the democratic party. Even if the democrats don’t follow it, his guidance is there. We are the ones who need to hold our politicians accountable for following it.
He also said he’s not going to run as a third party candidate. I had written a post about him being Stein’s VP, which was a pipe dream, and a fun thing to think about, but Bernie has integrity. Even though the entire DNC ran a coup against him, he continues to stick to the POLICIES and ISSUES, not what is grabbing headlines. This is admirable. What is even more so, is that Bernie has asked his followers to keep this movement going. And that’s the best thing he can do- and it’s a really big thing! Now that so many people feel EMOTIONALLY connected to politics, we can make a real change.
How does this happen? Well, let’s keep in mind what we do want. Some things that I care about: Cut military funding and stop perpetuating wars in far off lands, redistribute our budget to give more federal money to states for schools and human services, and start to make the transition to a new green deal. Now, that I have some goals in mind, how do we make this happen? Well, if you watched Bernie’s speeches, one of his favorite lines is “Change doesn’t come from the top down, but from the bottom up”. Local elections are so important. Everything from School Board to City Council, these are the people who are elected to really get something done. It would be pretty naïveté to think that Bernie could have gotten much done (other than appoint true, really, social justice warriors for Supreme Court instead of waify, corporately influenced, democratic titled judges) without the help of electing other REAL progressives in the House, Senate, and at the State and Local levels.
I don’t think Bernie losing was a loss for Bernie supporters. Sure, it’s okay to feel a little disappointed, but now’s the time to stop dwelling on it. Let’s figure out how to use the momentum that was created to continue to strive for REAL change. Bernie did such a wonderful thing bringing issues to the forefront instead of ad-Revenue-debacle-content that we see covered as “the issues” on all mainstream media.
The most important thing we can do is stay together and work towards change. Bernie was the catalyst that got us going, but we’re going to have to be the real soliders that begin to overthrow this corrupt oligarch that is American politics and government, starting from the bottom up.