An Open Letter to My Fellow Millennials:
Stop Living In Bernie Sanders Dreamland, Study Up on Women’s Rights Struggles Just Years Before Your Birth and Grow Up Before You Help Hand Trump a Victory in November.
When a former roommate and longtime, highly-respected friend of mine who I knew from my time at grad school in New York told me 10 months ago that if Bernie Sanders — then considered a distant longshot for the Democratic nomination — didn’t win the party’s nomination, he had resolved simply to stay home and not vote at all. Under no circumstances would this intelligent, accomplished, globally-minded, civically-involved, Ivy-educated twenty-something dare cast his vote for the woman named Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he described as “worse than Republicans” and “responsible for the terrible deregulation that led to the 2008 repression.
Yes, Clinton — arguably the most uniquely qualified presidential candidate in modern history — would not under any circumstances become an option for this young, nonwhite, educated liberal voter from Maryland. Nevermind that it was Clinton’s husband who was in the Oval Office calling those now less -popular decisions, including deregulating Wall Street from Main Street and championing discriminatory policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” ,
Naturally, I called him out on this shortsighted declaration of Bernie or nothing, pointing out that failing to cast a vote at all is perhaps the ultimate dereliction of duty of American citizenship — regardless of who that vote may be for (yes, even Trump, that is if he’s your cup of cheap, watery cold-brew iced tea with a saccharine taste so syrupy it requires a shot of Bailey’s on top and a hard, long prayer to overcome).*
My now-dubbed “Sanders or Stay Home” friend then rebuked me in a now all-too-familiar Sanders-campaign talking point: that a vote for Hillary is a vote for a “fraud millionaire career politician sucking on the teat of Wall Street” and “flip-flopping on issues simply to support her political advantage at any given election cycle.”
The many factual, mysogynistic and miscontextualized fallacies of logic in my friend’s accusations are, I believe, rooted subconcsiouly in a three-decade-long GOP crusade to impugn Mrs. Clinton from achieving her various and ever-evolving political aspirations, much less a Democratic one. Every modern politician (except Bernie, his holiness!) has accepted similar speaking fee payments from Wall Street banks. Every politician evolves on the issues. It’s those who don’t show such open-mindedness and constant evolution in thought that perhaps are less cut out for a job of roadblocks and compromise.
Mr. Obama has declared this election “a critical next step to continue our upward trajectory,” even glowing on Hillary as “most influential Secretary of State possibly ever in American history.” Obama even privately urged party leaders to take up Clinton’s mantle sooner rather than later this week.
Take that when compared to the stolid, vague, never changing: Bernie “I’ve never left Vermont” Sanders. Sanders, in fact, has at least a few times sought support and contributions from the very same “Wall Street” villains he so vehemently and hypocritically attacks. Sanders just wasn’t popular enough to those bankers to receive the same opportunities offered Mrs. Clinton generously — or even interesting enough for them to shell out cash for speaking. They just didn’t want him. But despite the delegate math growing worse and worse for his now nearly-impossible odds of winning the nomination, Sanders has no plans of conceding for the good of the whole. He seems, delusionally optimistic as usual, to believe the American people will want him, despite the fact that they’ve said otherwise in the ballot boxes.
Millenials like myself often get a negative wrap in popular culture as acting vain, entitled, selfish and narcissistic. Although, I would contend such claims stem more from deeper anxieties regarding the shrinking job security of older generations whose longtime jobs are suddenly being replaced by tech-savvy members of my generation en masse.
But given the way my generation has voted in the Democratic Primary thus far — and given the hostility and hatred many of such young voters have suddenly lapped onto Clinton — it’s not hard to see why and how millennials have earned a short-sighted, selfish and often politically uninformed reputation. If any one of my peers took time to think and study the basic functioning elements that undergird our democracy, they’d see clearly through the false promise of Sanders’ nearly impossible goal of providing free college and a pony for all high school graduates. They’d also see that the chances that any of Sanders’ suspiciously overly-ambitious campaign promises have little, if any, chances of being approved by a politically gridlock House and Senate.
So, my fellow millennials, go ahead. Take off the rose-colored glasses for just a little while, and recognize the importance of experience over rhetoric in a successful U.S. President. By leaps and bounds, Clinton has vastly more experience, a stronger track-record of tangible legislative and foreign policy accomplishments and the willingness to step up and serve when called on by her country.
And did I mention that it’s about time for a female president? You all may scoff — thinking delusionally that we live in a 100 percent post-gender era and forgetting that only 30 years ago, women were banned entirely from seeking federal office. That’s an even more recent disfranchisement than faced by black Americans.
Carl V. Lewis is the Senior Programmer for News Graphics at St. Louis Post Dispatch & STLToday.com. Although passionately opinionated at times, I am also steadfastly committed to media fairness, and upholding my duties to bring to light issues affecting users/readers using primarily quantitative methods.