Yes, Bernie Sanders Can Be William Wallace — If He Fights Like Hell for Hillary Clinton
Even Braveheart Knew When To Take a Breather
Steven uses the story told in the 1995 blockbuster film, Braveheart, to compare Bernie to William Wallace. He writes that “Just as the end of Wallace didn’t end the movement for Scottish independence, Bernie’s loss will not end the movement that he has helmed.”
And I really hope Steven is right.
Let’s dive a little deeper into Sir William Wallace’s history to see how Bernie can become the left’s version of this Scottish hero.
…You know, without the “hanged, disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered” part (Oops. Braveheart spoiler alert).
In 1296, King Edward I of England captures the Scottish King and claims Scotland for himself.
Unwilling to go along with this imperialistic bullshit, William Wallace leads about 30 Scottish men to the town of Lanark in May 1297. He burns the place down and kills the English sheriff.
A small army of loyal commoners and minor land owners unites behind Wallace over the summer of 1297. They attack British strongholds, inspired by his pure message, surprising success, and assumedly blue face.
Over time, his army grows. They kick the English out of Scotland and raise hell in Northern England. William then returns home to be crowned Guardian of the Kingdom (acting King) by his countrymen, in spite of the Scottish Nobility’s wariness.
William Wallace, inspirational leader of a popular revolution, builds an unlikely and powerful coalition. He and his movement disrupt the plans of imperialistic elites.
Bernie Sanders, inspirational leader of a “political revolution,” builds an unlikely and powerful coalition. He and his movement disrupt the plans of political elites.
Great. The analogy works. Let’s keep going:
In July 1298, Edward (who has been away making war in France, as English royals were wont to do at the time) invades Scotland and defeats Wallace.
While this is not the end of the war for the Scots, “Wallace’s military reputation was ruined.” The hopes for Scottish Independence are still alive, but on life support.
In this analogy, we are now at the present moment.
As of now, Hillary Clinton has the majority of pledged delegates, has decisively taken California, and has “won the top seven states with the biggest batches of pledged delegates.”
Yes, the super-delegate system is completely undemocratic. Yes, it needs reform (which is already starting to happen and could be completely reformed by 2020). But this year, this is how it goes.
No, Bernie’s reputation is not ruined. As Steven Oh points out, he is a champion for “income equality, universal healthcare, free tuition for public colleges, the environment, and getting the corrupting influence of money out of politics.”
But it is a fact that the Bernie Sanders candidacy in the Democratic Party is effectively over.
So, how does Wallace deal with his defeat?
William immediately resigns his role as the Guardian of the Kingdom, making way for Robert the Bruce (and John Comyn) to continue the rebellion and eventually become Robert I, the King of the Scots.
The BBC writes that “Wallace was assigned a new role as an envoy for the Scots to the courts of Europe. Diplomacy was crucial to the Scots war effort and Wallace, by now a renowned figure across Europe, played a high profile role.”
“A campaign has got to be much more than just getting votes and getting elected. It has to be helping to educate people, organize people. If we can do that, we can change the dynamic of politics for years and years to come.”
— Bernie Sanders
Just as Wallace served Scotland in a different fashion after his defeat, the time has come for Bernie to take on a new role in the 2016 race.
He must argue for a progressive platform. He must support the most progressive candidate with a chance of winning the presidency. He must do everything in his power to stop imperialist forces from overtaking his great land.
Yes, the next several years of Scottish history were pretty much an uninspiring clusterfuck. A lot of betrayals, compromises, changing tides, and incremental progress (and of course, the unfortunate execution of Wallace).
In 1327, Robert I oversaw “a total renunciation of all English claims to superiority over Scotland,” and William Wallace’s vision became a reality.
Wallace was the spark that started it all. Bernie can be that same spark. But only if he steps aside and supports the person who can — imperfectly — lead his forces.
Hillary Clinton is not the perfect candidate. Like Robert The Bruce, she has a penchant for alienating her natural allies, and is closer to the elite than the Revolution would prefer.
That said, she will fight off Trump. She will build on Obama’s progress.
Whether she turns out to be more liberal than some think she is or is indeed a moderate that the far left will never cozy up to, she will keep the conditions for the Political Revolution fertile.
She can be the bridge to the next chapter of American history. But she needs Bernie’s support to further the cause. And more than that, she needs the support of his followers.
As Bernie said in his New Hampshire Primary victory speech, “we will need to come together in a few months and unite this party, and this nation because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency.”
A few months later, the battle is lost. But the war is just beginning. With the goals of Bernie Sanders — our inspiring moral compass — in mind… It is time to unite behind our new leader.
Note: this post has been edited to reflect the fact that June 7 is now in the past. It was originally posted June 6. The title has also been tweaked.