To My Fellow Bernie Supporters, On This Election

This was a rough election year, but, throughout all of my (respectful!) collisions with Democrats and Republicans alike, my personal values haven’t changed — and the approach of Election Day/my birthday is an ideal time to reflect on them: I value…

  • Preparation over posturing (Confidence is a great thing, except when it’s the only thing.)
  • Equity over equality (If you invite me to take a walk with you, that’s equality; if you actually let me use my crutches to do it, that’s equity.)
  • Persistence over despair (When I walk very long, seemingly unconquerable distances, and I start to get tired, I’m often silently saying to myself, “Okay, let’s just walk to that tree. Now let’s walk to the next.” It works.)
  • Nerds over bullies
  • Conversation over noise
  • Diversity over homogeny
  • Intelligence over ignorance
  • Curiosity over certainty
  • Restraint over recklessness
  • Argument over intractability
  • Strength over fear
  • Inclusion over isolation
  • Strategy over apathy
  • Effort over privilege
  • Doers over whiners
  • Substance over scams
  • Healthcare over “something really great”

So I sure as hell value Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, and I’ll be voting as such.

Yes, both parties are badly damaged and are too compliant to the demands of deeply entrenched financial interests. That’s so important and shouldn’t be forgotten over the next few years.

I do not think the tent of the Democratic party has expanded; I think the whole thing has moved to the right.

That is a sobering and troubling development, and even worse, I think too many Democrats are willfully blind to it — to horrifying events such as Standing Rock, to the two consecutive DNC chairs whose ethics were compromised, to the ways in which the media framing that draws so much of our criticism of Fox News actually does infect outlets we have trusted to keep us informed.

We cannot fix these problems overnight, or protest them away in an instant, or simply wish Bernie Sanders into office in the eleventh hour.

Instead, we can help put him in charge of the Senate’s budget, where he can fight these powerful financial interests up close and passionately hold a President Clinton to the platform of her party. He has pledged, time and again, to do that. I want to give him the chance.

In the immediate future, we HAVE to make sure we have a president who is sane and intelligent and prepared. Someone who doesn’t already seem bored with the details of the job. Someone who has demonstrated a capacity for compromise, for empathy, for strategy, for complex thinking, and for truly difficult work. Someone whose mere election won’t throw economic markets in panic. Someone whose supporters aren’t actively and openly threatening minority communities as they vote.

And, selfishly, someone who won’t magically transform my cerebral palsy back into an uninsurable pre-existing condition.

I admit, this election has made me more aware of hypocrisy within the Democratic Party. I see a knee-jerk defensiveness of our candidate’s positions that rivals many of the contortions for which we chided Romney supporters just four years ago. Please understand I am not writing this with that sort of defensiveness.

I am writing this because, thanks to this election, millions of people (including me) are now more awake to the details of problems that cry out to be fixed. Donald Trump, in his career and in his campaign, has not shown any aptitude for repair work. He breaks things. He slaps his name on work others have done and then sends them into court battles for their efforts. He cheats people.

If he cheats us all out of the next four years — four years whose impact will ripple out over the next 40 or more — it will be only because we allowed ourselves to be apathetic over the next four days. It will be because we failed to recognize there actually is a sharp, inarguable contrast to our choice: one candidate is serious about doing the work and has spent a career in rehearsal; the other candidate is selling you something he hasn’t even yet defined.

Hillary Clinton is an imperfect choice, but she is the sane choice. And I, for one, would rather take a ramp to somewhere near my destination than a long flight of stairs that ends with a wall.

Please vote. Let’s get up and walk to that tree.