I support Senator Sanders like I have never supported any candidate in my lifetime. And on those days I allow myself to think about the possibility of his losing, something I don't believe we have time for, I console myself in the thought that I will no longer be silent.
Win or lose I will get involved in local, state and federal government. I will run for office and work for others doing the same. I will not stop, not this time. I was inspired by the election of President Obama. Everyone, I guess, was one way or another. And on some level I knew President Obama was in for the fight of his life. Maybe the fight of our lives. But he was and is so inspiring. I guess I didn't realize he might need my actual help. Not just my vote. Even as he asked me all the time. Email after email and on TV. I did nothing, to my great shame.
I knew to my core he couldn't do it alone. I told all my Obama crazy friends, he's not going to be able to do anything because of how things are in Washington. I lashed out at those who gushed about Obama. Not because President Obama was or would be lacking, but because I didn't believe in my fellow Progressive, Independent and Democratic friends.
So I became part of the self-fulfilling prophecy. I don't know if I discouraged my friends. If I had just stood up would they have followed? It doesn't matter. I should have stood up because it was right. We all should have. I think we all know it. If we had stood up with President Obama, Senator Sanders could have served in the Senate for as long as he wanted and retired quite happily. This year we would be electing the first woman President without a doubt, Elizabeth Warren. Be we didn't stand up.
The election of President Obama was amazing. So many people I had idolized were so touched. African American legends expressed that they finally felt like they had arrived as Americans, as equals. Even as many, too many to mention had largely created American culture. I somehow believed President Obama was so popular, was so charismatic he might be able to make the change he promised.
But my friends didn't stand up. I didn't stand up. And President Obama was left to do what he could. We didn't rise to his call. We didn't run for office. We didn't even vote in the midterms. The Powers that be won again; Tea Party candidates were elected that kept President Obama from doing anything. President Obama however didn't quit. He has not been perfect. But he has quite definitely used his popularity and his progressive inclinations in his second term to push the nation and conversation back left towards the center again.
Now this critical primary/caucus season has not just become about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, but which way this country will go in the future. The Clinton campaign has made an argument that they are "pragmatic Progressives," which for true Progressives just sounds like Karl Rove's "Compassionate Conservative" tag line. That might be fitting because after 15 years of far right wing attacks. All the Clintons know are Karl Rove like tactics. Maybe they have Stockholm syndrome, who wouldn't?
The whole Clinton campaign has been fear. Be afraid of a Republican presidency. Bernie Sanders isn't electable. Bernie Sanders wants to give everyone guns and take your healthcare. Bernie Sanders is a Socialist, maybe a Communist. Tactics I didn't think we'd face until we reached the general election. The problem with their attack line is we loved the Clintons when they were Democratic Socialist. Most of the support Clintons generated with the Progressive community is because they were the dreamers with an unrealistic agenda. "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow."
Look, we all remember Hilary trying to get us universal healthcare. The attacks on her were vicious. It was the height of misogyny and the worst in politics. We all heard her when she talked about a vast right wing conspiracy. We understood. So they hardened, who wouldn't? Evolving political armor to survive. But there is a difference between being hard and being strong. The hardest steel breaks and shatters. The strongest steel bends and bounces back. That is the difference right now. Between the Clintons and Bernie Sanders. The Clintons look hardened and calculating by their time in Washington. Bernie just looks stronger. And he makes me feel strong.