If politicians can do it, so can I.
I’m talking about changing my mind. I was, up until very recently, determined not to succumb to fear and pull the lever for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, November 8th. I wasn’t sure if I was going to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, write Bernie Sanders’ name on my ballot somewhere or sit on my hands and watch old episodes of “Welcome Back, Kotter” but I was sure I wouldn’t capitulate and choose someone who represented the status quo, the opposite of hope and change, another ‘less evil but still evil’ choice.
I was wrong.
Yes, Bernie’s messages resonated with me. I like the idea of free public college. I think we should raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, end the war on drugs and raise taxes on the 1%. We do need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and support gay marriage. We should oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership – which Hillary once described as the “gold standard” of trade agreements – and the Patriot Act. I want to demilitarize and retrain the police, overturn Citizens United, stop endless military spending and quit kissing Israel’s ass like a cheap hooker.
Additionally, I like how Bernie usually flies coach. I like how his net worth makes him one of the poorest U.S. Senators in office. I like his Columbo-like persona and his obviously real, heartfelt dedication to making life better for everybody regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation or financial wherewithal.
The best I can do, I realized, is to step back a bit and listen to my friends who remind me that a revolution is like a whole movie, not a single frame. I need to think of this as an effort that’ll span years, not months.
These friends have been fighting me for a while, some more gently than others, and insisting that a vote for anyone but Hillary is...well, let’s just say “silly.” I unfriended and was unfriended more than snakes eat mice. (I'll probably lose more pals after this post.) Too bad I wasn’t receptive to input that I didn’t want to hear because after I watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention, I finally saw that Sanders has no chance.
I was more than a little troubled by the revelation that staff at the DNC – including top dog Debbie Wasserman Schultz – actively tried to torpedo Bernie’s campaign and stack the deck against him. (I haven’t read the actual e-mail proof but this is what’s been disclosed.) What many of us felt and suspected – that the process was rigged and Bernie was not getting a fair shake – was proven true. And some media outlets were apparently found to have colluded with the Clinton campaign to report favorable things about her while disparaging Bernie’s candidacy. This really, really ticked me off.
My good friend David told me this in Facebook:
The Republicans are dying. The Democrats are getting old and moving to the right. The empty space on the left will be filled by someone who wants to speak for the young people who were energized by Bernie. If we haven't totally screwed the geo-political pooch, a new party will form on the left and do the things we dreamed we'd do this time. Let's hope that it has better legs than so many movements before it. Let's hope that the rampant corruption and dirty dealing of the DNC haven't soured all those folks on standing up for what they believe. And in the end, remember that 13 million people had the same dream.
My second good friend John provided this input:
Not only do Clinton’s and Sanders’ voting records in the Senate match 92% of the time but he has pulled her official positions far enough to the left that we have the most progressive major party platform ever. He got her to say she supports a public option in the Affordable Care Act, tuition-free public college for 83% of college applicants, and now she opposes the TPP. He’s won the heart of the Democratic Party. We’ve won!
And my third good friend Mark added this:
The very first Sanders/Clinton debate was telling. Sanders was a master of the issues that he spent decades drilling into. However, his breadth and scope were limited when considering ALL of the many skills required for the top job. I loved the guy but Clinton ran circles around him. She was the complete package. Sanders was an incredible specialist who’s better suited for any number of top jobs, just not THE top job. We now mythologize him precisely because he hammered away at his theme relentlessly. But he was rarely dragged out of his comfort zone. A better analogy is Obama. Does anyone really think that Sanders has the multifaceted toolkit of Obama?
These comments should convince Anita – who enters the Land of Lord Zuckerberg about as frequently as Hetty Green picked up a tab – that Facebook friends can be helpful and persuasive.
I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that our process of choosing our nominees is so seamy and scandalous, so undemocratic and unconscionable. I have to tell myself that all politicians benefit from our incredibly-flawed system to some extent, that the ugliness can’t be attributed solely to the woman who’s become our Democratic nominee.
Speaking of women, one of the two things that finally cinched this for me was a thought-provoking article by Michael Arnovitz entitled, “Thinking About Hillary – A Plea for Reason” that I ran across yesterday. Not surprisingly, it spurred some internal analysis that resulted first in eye-rolling and then in an uncomfortable realization I hadn’t expected: I am sexist. I was holding Hillary to a different standard than other politicians, including our word-parsing 42nd President, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and even the late Ted Kennedy.
How can a guy who grew up in the 1970s when Mary Tyler Moore was making it on her own and feminist Gloria Steinem was frequently on television be sexist? How can someone who was raised by a strong and resourceful single mother treat women differently than men, even subconsciously? I don’t know the answer to this, other than to acknowledge that sexism, like racism, is insidious and far-reaching. I was incognizant; no one is impervious. I wish I knew then what I know now.
The last thing that broke through the wall that I had erected around myself – yeah, Trump, you’re not the only guy who can build a wall – was Michelle Obama’s convention speech on Monday night. I like and respect her so much and it’s clear that her husband’s not the only one in that family who knows how to deliver a frikkin’ speech. She had me at “Oh.”
Now let’s take a second to address this “NeverHillary” and “Bernie or Bust” stuff. I was with this contingent a few days ago but I’ve just come to my senses.
I can't compare Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's records because he doesn’t have one. He doesn’t deserve to be seriously considered; he hasn’t earned it and a large bank account doesn’t compensate for a small mind. He is not a former children's advocate, First Lady, United States Senator or U.S. Secretary of State. He’s a joke, a carnival barker, a liar, a fraud and an asshole. (Yes, I'm name-calling. Complain in the comments below and I'll refund your money.)
here to read, "The Warning.")
It's as clear as a glass straight out of the dishwasher that Trump cannot be allowed to win this election. And any idiot who votes for him because they can't vote for Sanders shouldn't be allowed around children or heavy machinery.
Tim Kaine – but I see that respecting her past achievements while deriding her attempt to ascend to the ultimate level of power is contradictory and unfair. I promise to try harder to judge people solely by the content of their character and not the contents of their underwear.
And to my fellow Sanders supporters: I’m not being a fickle comrade – see what I did there? – or betraying you. I’m not abandoning my principles. What I’m trying to do is what makes the most sense which is to do everything I can to keep The Orange Devil out of the White House. I don’t like the non-progressive stances that Hillary’s taken but it doesn’t make sense to petulantly refuse to do what makes the most sense just because I didn’t get all I wanted this time.
Now I’m with her.
|Posted in a Facebook group|
by David Michael Barrett
Want information on Sanders’ and Clinton’s positions on issues? Click here to read, “Why I’m Voting for Bernie Sanders” and click here to read, “Why I’m Not Voting for Hillary Clinton.”
Sources: Public Citizen, ThePolicy, Sanders campaign material, OnTheIssues.org, PBS NewsHour.