A response to a Bernie Supporter (and others like him)

Context: This post was written in response to a friend, a Bernie Sanders supporter, on Facebook calling Hillary Clinton a “liar and a slanderer.” He is one of many who have leveled claims against Hillary as they have supported the Sanders campaign. Here is my response, to him and so many others. Follow me: @Prof_JHolzer

The former Secretary of State and Senator from New York is what I am looking for in a President- her legislative and foreign policy chops are unquestionable. As a note, she and the beloved Bernie Sanders voted the same way 93% of the time when they were in the Senate together. Now, I know this statistic has led to much pressure on the 7% of their votes that differ, but when I analyze them, I do not necessarily see Bernie Sanders as a more insightful person, or more a man of the people. For instance, the vote on the Iraq War. At the time it occurred, Congress had been led to believe that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. That was a lie, but without knowledge of that, voting against the bill does not seem particularly spectacular, it seems like Bernie was anti-war. And okay, being anti-war in Iraq is an opinion, but I won’t look at the man and compare his vote to that of Clinton’s and find him to be some magical predictor of the future. If the WMDs had been present, he might be paying the price for being hesitant. And the point is, no one knew it at the time.

I’m looking for someone who regularly puts women’s health issues at the forefront of her campaign. I have not been convinced that she is a liar and I have not seen any evidence that she is a slanderer, so I’d be so curious to see what actual evidence you have. I have paid careful attention to her agenda and I see actual plans. She is measured and incremental, but that’s realistically what we need to make progress in this country.

By the way, I believe in political disagreement. I have participated in debate teams or in political life since I was in 8th grade. I do not perceive disagreement as problematic, in fact, I think it’s the very meat of democracy and progress when ideas get battle tested. So I do not wish to push you to believe me and to vote for Hillary against your better judgement.

However, what I have seen from you and many other (white male) supporters of Bernie’s is a rudeness and dismissivness not only of Hillary, but of anyone who supports her. I have not seen any actual evidence from you or others, just claims about how terrible Hillary is. “TERRIBLE” And it leads me to suspect that deep down, you don’t just disagree with me but respect me, you disrespect me because you think our differences on this issue indicate that I have not “seen the light.” Well, thank you, but no thank you. Hillary may not be your cup of tea, but she is far from terrible. And if you’re paying attention and looking past the primary, you will see bigotry and xenophobia and misogyny and playground politics enough to make your head swim. THAT is terrible. That the Republican establishment and candidates for the nomination believing the bodies of women are theirs to legislate is frankly frightening. The proposals to deport Muslims, a deeply unconstitutional move; the foreign policy plans to build a wall around Mexico. Real human lives hang in the balance. And I’m preparing for that fight. You might not want to stand in the way.