Bernie, It’s Time to Take the Gloves Off

I’m feeling the Bern. I don’t live on a college campus. I’m 40, I’ve got 3 great kids and a wonderful wife. I was in the crowd in Boston with one of them perched on my shoulders way back in October. My parents who instilled progressive values into me by my side.

We’ve got good healthcare thanks to my publicly employed wife. I’ve finally paid off my student loans. We are fortunate to have come out of the great recession relatively well. I know many others are facing tougher hurdles than we did. I believe your message is the answer to many of the ills that plague our faltering nation.

I cast my first vote for president for Bill Clinton. I was proud to have a Democrat holding the highest office for the first time in my young life. But my frame of reference was Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

In hindsight the Clintons were closer to moderate Republicans than my vision of a Democrat. The first order of business was to gut welfare. Bill Clinton signed a disastrous crime bill that led to unjust sentences and a huge increase in the prison population. The Clinton administration oversaw the repeal of Glass-Steagal, arguably the main culprit of the 2008 financial collapse. President Clinton signed NAFTA which sent the manufacturing jobs out of our country that Hillary is now trying to convince us she is going to bring back.

I was thrilled to vote for Obama in 2008 and happy to once again in 2012.

Barack Obama has made great progress in an impossible political environment. But he relied too heavily on wall street insiders to formulate his economic policies. He mistakenly abandoned his enthusiastic base once elected, missing an opportunity to leverage them in pushing for policy change. He never lived up to the promise of the most transparent administration in history.

Now the democratic establishment wants us to embrace the candidate that opposed Obama eight years ago. We should be content to imagine incremental change. She is more electable they tell us but 59% of Americans find her untrustworthy. It’s hard to fathom why anyone would have confidence she will fight to implement her platform that has opportunistically evolved to mirror yours in many ways.

I’m not taking what the DNC is offering.

Bernie you are talking about a leap forward. I believe you are the one to build upon Obama’s successes and correct his transgressions. But if this is an opportunity for a political revolution we need to fully embrace it. I fear without hitting back harder at those attempting to mischaracterize you, the coalition will not grow fast enough and the sky high enthusiasm will wane.

I walked into our local school with my wife and three kids on Tuesday more proud than ever to cast my vote in the Massachusetts primary. I intentionally brought my kids because I want them to value the democratic process as well as be a part of this great movement you are leading.

Later I watched Donald Trump’s orchestrated “press conference”. It’s working. I can see how disillusioned Americans could be drawn to his message. I think Donald’s argument that Clinton has been part of the establishment for years and hasn’t solved the problems she now talks about solving resonate with voters who have legitimate fears about the future. I am beginning to get concerned he could beat her.

The networks gave Trump over 30 minutes last night and buried your speech. But for the first time I found your speech less than inspiring. Maybe you were tired. Maybe I was. Hillary was down in Florida preparing for the next fight. You came across as too comfortable at home in Vermont.

The message that the campaign is not just about electing a president is powerful but without you the revolution has to wait. We don’t have time for that. As you say this may be our last chance to reform a broken system. To prevent the entrenchment of oligarchy.

I eagerly jumped on board this campaign in large part because of your policies but also because of your character. Sticking to the high road is commendable and it’s gotten you far.

But the stakes are high and simply pushing Hillary to the left is not acceptable. If this is a rare opportunity to change the direction of the country let’s take the gloves off and go for it. I don’t think unseating long entrenched powerful interests is supposed to be pretty.

Bernie, it’s time we all start behaving like this really can be a political revolution.


Update (3/10/16) The gloves have come off.

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