Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bernie or Bust

One of my closest friends is a Bernie-or-bust person—she’s not going to vote if he isn’t the Democratic nominee. And the possibility that Trump could become our president, if she and other Bernie supporters stay home, isn’t enough to make her vote for Hillary. She echoed Susan Sarandon’s sentiment that a Trump presidency might bring about revolution faster.

I was flabbergasted. She’s not stupid, not an asshole. She’s smart, analytical, well read and well traveled. I couldn’t believe someone I respect had this view.

Both my friend and Sarandon talk about revolution, something we’ve never had in the U.S. unless you count the one that separated us from England. And with the checks and balances we have in place, how does revolution happen in America?

Bernie says the plethora of new, young voters he’s brought into the political process will force their congressional representatives to, “vote the right way.” I couldn’t decide if I thought he was na├»ve or delusional when he said this during his Hardball conversation, or should I say monologue because he interrupted every time Chris Matthews tried to speak. Scads of new voters supported Obama’s first presidential run but didn’t stay engaged. Why does Bernie think he’ll have a different outcome?

I agree with something that Bernie supporters have been posting on Facebook, “that the real enemy is the multi-national corporations who are trying to control this nation and the world.” Where we differ is, I don’t think Bernie, a progressive socialist, is the person to lead this fight in a capitalist democracy.

I share many of the same opinions with my Bernie-or-bust friend. I want to get corporate money out of politics, want the minimum wage raised, significantly, what public education to prepare students for the current work market whether that means free higher education or restructuring the secondary education system. But if by some miracle Bernie is the democratic nominee, I’ll vote for him. Even though I think he doesn’t listen to people whose views don’t mirror his, that he doesn’t know how to make alliances and build bridges and that a President Sanders will assure four more years of congressional gridlock. How does he expect to get Congressional support? His ideas are far more radical than Obama’s. Does he think he’ll get more cooperation inside the beltway because he’s white?

I can’t risk a Trump presidency by staying home because the candidate I prefer doesn’t win the nomination. I have to do everything I can to ensure that Trump doesn’t appoint the next Supreme Court judge. That he doesn’t alienate many of our global strategic partners and that the U.S. doesn’t become theatre of absurd.

Unlike Susan Sarandon, who is someone I can ice—I’ll never see one of her films again, this is someone I want in my life. I’ve never known my friend to be a selfish person but staying home if Bernie isn’t the nominee is a profoundly selfish act. Decisions like hers could negatively impact the lives of millions.