DC Hillary Supporters: Let’s Vote for Bernie
For solidarity and to make our vote mean something
No one in my real life or Facebook circles would mistake me for a Bernie supporter. I started out pretty agnostic about the whole affair, but as Bernie advocacy began to overwhelm my feed in recent months, I found myself pushing back, poking the self-reinforcing bubble of outrage and assumptions. It’s not that I lacked empathy. These were friends making minimum wage, some struggling as artists, some just struggling. They were looking for a way to get out from under a mountain of impossibility and they saw a sliver of opportunity in Bernie.
Then there is my friend, Lewis, who reached high levels of influence through a career in the State Department and even higher levels of awareness from the 1960s cultural revolution that never left him. In retirement, he has thrown his heart and soul into Bernie’s campaign to such a degree that a Washington Post article was written about his advocacy from the other side of the country.
These are the people in my digital neighborhood. They are good people, passionate people. I know I lost some of their respect when, as a life-long centrist, I didn’t embrace their particular brand of evolution, as Lewis prefers to call it by dropping the ‘r’.
I think many of us look at our voter role as hiring someone for a very specific and difficult job. While I respect Bernie’s heart, I simply don’t think he is the right fit for that specific job of president. Most all of us have been turned down for jobs before and that often moves us a little closer to the true best fit for our skills. Bernie is now well-positioned to take that step and I think we can help.
Perhaps a football analogy isn’t the smartest tactic for Hillary’s base, but so be it: This is the last play of the game. The outcome is settled, the crowd filing for the exits. Yet our team finds itself on the goal line with a good chance of scoring again. Being an urban district with a mixture of a large African American population and many establishment politicos, the odds are decidedly not in Bernie’s favor for stopping this one.
Little DC Rudy is getting called off the bench, last again, in garbage time as they call it. Let’s extend the analogy further by saying his number is double zero, for how many Congressional representatives we will be voting for Tuesday, as well.
But is there really a need to rub it in with another touchdown for Hillary? Specifically because our vote means nothing, why don’t we give it a meaning that is uniquely our own?
While we may not have agreed with his policy solutions, none of us would deny that Bernie shone a spotlight on critical problems that need to be addressed. He awoke a new generation to the frustratingly bizarre and arcane elements of our political process. He rekindled the passions of many older folks, as well. And over the past week, he has shown a strong willingness to work collaboratively.
So, how about we vote for Bernie instead of Hillary? It can be a symbolic show of solidarity. Make it a respectable finish for him in DC, at the least, and perhaps even let him go out on a positive note with one last, unexpected victory. Let him know he was heard, his supporters were heard, and do our small part to help the healing process.
The Philosophical Melting Pot
I say this not just because we find ourselves last to vote, but because we are uniquely positioned to make this sort of a statement. The mere mention of “Washington, DC” elicits rage and derision in many, to the point that in certain settings we keep it to ourselves that we even live here. I know I’ve braced for impact having to pull my ID out in Montana. Yet we know this 64 square miles more for its dysfunctional street parking signs than the dysfunctional lawmakers sent here by others who possess the privilege to vote for such representation. We often think of the 9:30 Club as iconic before we think of the white buildings around the Mall. I was on a date not too long ago where we happened to be walking past the White House and she pointed out that I hadn’t looked at it once.
“Oh,” I said, caught off guard. “Yeah, I used to bike commute past here everyday.”
We live in this odd mixture of the grandiose and the mundane. And yet, for me, there remains something undeniably inspiring about the District of Columbia. It’s the only American city founded upon a philosophy, to house a radical experiment in self-governance. Almost every groundbreaking, idealistic, toxic, effective and desperate political idea eventually comes here to be thrown in and mixed around to see what might work for any given time and situation.
Many of us work in jobs stacked in buildings with others whose mission is to negate everything we value. We hear multiple languages every day by simply walking around. Just this past weekend, I found myself at a house party with people from five different continents, as well as Louisville, Oakland and various other U.S. locales. Views among my friends range from nearly anarchic libertarian to code red Care Bear liberal.
Yet, we have found a way to get along. We buy a round for that quirky Ted Cruz loving friend and gently mock the socialist friend who got caught arguing that Major League Baseball has more innovation because its teams have fewer redistribution requirements than other professional leagues.
Many Bernie supporters say they will not vote out of fear, which I understand. But fear must be acknowledged in all its forms, and we must consider that there are many on the edge of financial and social stability who fear the idea of a third party candidate gaining enough popularity to split the vote and usher in a president who would not protect the gains that have been made for religious and ethnic rights.
Specifically because of this philosophical melting pot in which we live here in the District of Columbia, we can demonstrate how we manage to coexist with people who do not share our views. I’m not referencing the gridlocked government that’s in the news, but rather as everyday people who share buildings, bike lanes and beers. This Tuesday, we have a chance to make ourselves relevant by ceding our egos for the greater good and supporting Bernie’s one last stand in the District that we call home.