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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/3/15

Bernie Sanders' Biggest Enemy

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Message Michael Blecher

If you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, then there may be no more important article to read than this one.

There is an enemy that we are fighting against that will have more say in determining this election than Hillary Clinton, the media, and his socialist label combined. What I am referring to is political apathy and a term called slacktivism. Far too often, I have encountered those who have signed up to the campaign but are not on the ground hosting or attending various Bernie Sanders events. Far too often, I have seen people on Facebook liking articles relating to Bernie Sanders or people occupying their time on writing comments on an anti-Bernie Sanders article but not actually volunteering for the campaign. Far too often, I have seen people signing up to events but not attending, or attending one only to never be seen again. If you feel you are one of the people I am referring to, please do not take offense. This article is not intended to insult you but to challenge you. Spreading awareness through social media is incredibly important and I very much do appreciate the work you are doing, but we could really use your help elsewhere.

I understand that people have hectic lives, and problems that I can't even imagine. However, I am worried that these lives will only become more hectic and our problems will only intensify if we don't fully commit to this campaign. Consider the possibility that every minute we spend posting articles about Bernie Sanders on Facebook could be another minute lost that may have been better spent phone banking the early primary states or handing out flyers to people who still don't even know who Bernie Sanders is (which there are still too many of as we are a very politically uninformed country).

I urge everyone to also look at this article as it show us ways in which such kind of activism can actually hurt political movements. I honestly do believe there are such committed die hard Bernie Sanders supporters that are doing so much work on the ground that Bernie Sanders will still have a very good shot at pulling off this upset. However, if a lot more sign-ups started pitching in, even in the slightest bit by phone banking or handing out flyers every so often, then that would be a scary force to reckon with. I do not like the fact that our child poverty rate is abysmal, that healthcare expenses cause people to go broke, that most of the new wealth is being generated to the top 1%, that many African-Americans are dying in the streets, either at the hands of a police force that never has the courage to denounce the corrupted, racist and/or incompetent cops that do exist, or at the hands of each other because ghettos, massive poverty and gang activity have somehow become an accepted norm in this country. I do not like the fact there are undocumented people in this country that work for little pay, and spend their lives in constant fear that they will be deported, or how little is being done to combat climate change, protect unions, prevent college students from going into debt, or stop senseless gun-related massacres. And I certainly don't like how few question America's overly aggressive foreign policy.

We can blame the politicians all we want for our problems but sooner or later, we are going to have to consider a harsher truth and that is the fault lies in ourselves. Too few of us vote in this country. Too few of us politically campaign in this country. Too few of us get actively involved to make sure progress is made. We have become complacent. How else can one explain why there is overwhelming support for something like gun background checks, and 11% approval rating for Congress, yet 96% of them will be reelected? We will spend our time watching Football games, going Christmas shopping and watching our Netflix. Then we will become outraged at some atrocity that has occurred and post about it on social media to display our outrage. But we will not take the next step and that is creating and volunteering in organizations that actually try to stop such atrocities from occurring. We will vent about a problem that only affects us like the fact you may work too many hours or that your college is too damn expensive, without ever realizing that lots of people are experiencing the same problem, and the only true remedy is through shaping policy. If you get involved and ever do feel discouraged, cynical or even begin to wish that someone would just spring up as a leader that could resolve all our problems, then watch this short video. It will remind you that such sentiments are what your opponents want you to feel, and that the leader to make real change happen is not one person but all of us together. My hope is that this article ironically goes viral through social media and inspires some of us to now take the next step after awareness has been raised. That's the only way for a movement to last and not just simply stay stagnant in the world of Facebook.

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Michael Blecher Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Michael Blecher was working as a research assistant at several psychology labs before becoming a political activist. He canvassed in six different states for the Bernie Sanders' campaign, and his activism has been covered in The Village Voice (more...)

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