Why This Feminist is Feelin’ the Bern

America has reached a point in which the People will have to make a defining choice this election: either opt for a sane government, run in the interests of the People; or a corrupt government, run in the interests of large Corporations, Banks, and Industries. The gig is up and the thin veil of party politics has fallen by the wayside, exposing the loathsome truth that is the American political system today — our elected officials have by and large abdicated their responsibilities to our nation and to the welfare of our citizens in favor of their campaign donors.

I lived in NYC when Hillary first ran for president; I phone banked for her. The promise of our first female POTUS was something beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I grew up in the 80s, the “third wave” of the feminist movement, in very liberal Connecticut. I was raised, proudly, by a family of feminists who ensured that my cousins, sister, and I were aware that women can — and should — do anything that a man can do. Here was proof positive! I was elated. But when the Democratic Party ignored Hillary’s obvious lead among the voting bloc, and the delegates instead jumped on the Obama bandwagon against the will of their constituents, I was floored. If my vote could be sacrificed to the Super Delegate gods — a construct specifically created to ensure that powerful interests were protected against the will of the people — then what was I doing in the Democratic Party?

I switched parties, just as Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Elizabeth Warren famously had before me, hoping that my vote would still count somewhere. I joined the military and worked for the Republican Party for years in Miami, as a supervisor for voter registration drives, as office manager for various campaigns, as a member of the Republican Executive Committee. I phone banked; I canvassed; I even worked for Americans for Prosperity, a self-defined “non-partisan, non-profit” organization with known ties to the Koch Brothers. Ironically, that’s what changed my mind for good.

You see, as I knocked door to door in blue and white-collar neighborhoods throughout Miami, I noticed a disturbing trend; although the vast majority of people answered my pre-fabricated questions on economics the same exact way, they each identified with different parties — how was this possible, if they all basically agreed on the issues?

Well, in Florida, where there is no such thing as an Open Primary, Independent voters whose tax dollars also fund primary elections aren’t actually allowed to vote in those elections unless they are officially registered as either a Democrat or a Republican (yes, this is also known as “taxation without representation”). In order to maintain their right to vote, Floridians must register with either of the big parties, although overwhelmingly, after years of empty promises and disappointments, they had grown wary partisan politics.

Both Republicans and Democrats that I spoke to in South Florida voiced a disgruntled apathy towards the whole system, most questioning what the purpose was in voting at all since the elite always got the final say, and anyhow, weren’t all politicians “the same” once they got into office — bought and paid for by special interest campaign donors who could afford to control the narrative in Washington? I didn’t argue with them because I couldn’t: they were right. Americans had left the store unattended, and the powers that be had run amok.

Then, the 2016 Presidential Campaigns started up.

By this point I neither identified as a Republican nor a Democrat: my experience with both had destroyed my faith in either. Besides, I was too Liberal to be a Conservative, and too Conservative to be a Liberal. I was able to think on my own and formulate my own opinions without necessitating bullet-pointed boundaries formulated for me by those who had the most to gain by my submissive allegiance. I had been on the “front lines” of both sides and had seen and heard enough to know that no matter which side I stood on, neither party was really rooting for the American People. I reasoned that since all politicians were “the same,” then why not vote for Hillary? Yes she had some skeletons in her closet, but they all did.

The backlash was brutal.

Both men and women accused me of voting for a “vagina,” completely missing the point: if they really were all the same — corrupt, duplicitous, and shady — then why not shatter the last glass ceiling to power for American women? When would we have another chance to do it? No female in office today can touch her stature; it would be years before this opportunity would repeat itself.

Then Bernie came along, and ushered in a political paradigm shift the magnitude of which hasn’t been seen or felt in this country since the advent of Teddy Roosevelt.

Suddenly, they weren’t all “the same.” Suddenly there was a candidate who not only spoke out against fraud, corruption, and the vile oligarchy in America, but who had done so consistently for 30 years. This wasn’t a “talking points” / “photo op” guy. This wasn’t a flip-flopping, polished, pre-packaged politician who had strived his whole career to amass power, greasing his pockets by rubbing elbows with powerful elites. He wasn’t a millionaire. He wasn’t a celebrity. He was just that one voice in the wilderness, repeatedly and tirelessly fighting against everything wrong in our government, against all odds.

And suddenly, the People had hope.

And I decided to try again.

I won’t bore you all with the nefarious details of the most popular Clinton scandals: not the puff-pieces about Benghazi and not about the emails, because those are easily rebuffed and discounted. No. But I will remind you of the really scary ones, the ones that cannot be ignored by any responsible American voter:

· The $26 million that the Clinton’s collected in Sweden with little accountability and that caused suspicion about whether contributors had gotten a pass on Iran sanctions.

· The Russian contract that Hillary helped Boeing secure after it made huge contributions to Bill’s campaign.

· The nuclear secrets that ended up in China during Bill’s tenure.

· Russia’s takeover of one-fifth of U.S. uranium capacity. Russia’s atomic energy agency, Rosatom, took over a uranium-rich Canadian company and renamed it “Uranium One,” giving Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the U.S. Because of the national security implications of this deal, it had to be approved by U.S. government agencies, including the State Department, which was then headed by Hillary. The transactions took place between 2009 and 2013, the same time that large donations were made by the bought out Canadian miners — to the Clinton Foundation.

We’ve all read the books about the Clintons and their questionable deals; they are legion. The information is out there. Enough information to know that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Why would — or should — any Democrat defend these actions, when there is a candidate today that has already proven himself to be honest, consistent, and faithful? We get the government we show up for. How can we expect to turn our government around if we keep voting the status quo in?

No, Bernie isn’t perfect; he’s made his mistakes, the VA debacle being one of them. But there’s no way to compare this one error on his part to the calculated and repeated behavior of the Clintons. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the status quo. Can we really afford more of the same?

Democrats deserve better. So do women. So does America. And so does the world.

Bernie is better. And that’s why this feminist is feeling the Bern.