Why I Joined: Bernie Motherfuc*&!$ Sanders!
The short answer: Bernie Mother Fuc*&!$ Sanders.
I remember first learning of Bernie’s improbable run for the presidency while listening to Democracy Now, a long-running lefty radio show recorded out of NYC, to which all good East Coast commies donate $50 around the holidays after listening to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade special. (In exchange, you get a mug with an image of a microphone made of birds so it’s kind of a good deal.)
Anyway, on this particular occasion, in 2015, I was “tuning in” to DN solely to distract myself from the unpleasant task before me: scraping burnt crusted matter from the pots and pans I had pathologically allowed to pile up in my sink. I was a “woman in my 30s” now, and this was no longer acceptable!
The host, the legendary Amy Goodman, was droning on about how the Senator from Vermont — the lone independent, lone socialist in Congress — was mounting a “grassroots” (aka LOSER) campaign for the presidency, and would be doing so as a Democrat no less. Lolz, I thought. I love you, Amy, but this srsly doesn’t matter. Maybe just run another Chomsky interview and call it a day. But since my hands were coated in natural dish detergent and unidentifiable food substances, I decided to keep listening.
It’s Bernie, so at a certain point he just starts **GOING IN** on income equality, Wall Street, the banks, WE HAVE TO BREAK UP THE BANKS, the Millionaihes and Billionaihes, their endless wars, global warming, blah blah blah. Wow — I had never realized what a pill this guy was! Sure, he was right about all of the stuff, but I mean, so was my crazy dad. And yeah, America needed a political revolution, but also, hadn’t I seen this movie already? Previously starring Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, some other hapless idealists? Did the nation or my heart really need another ranting old white man, another election year publicity stunt, another sad little loss for America’s sad little Left?
Now I was feeling triggered, things from my childhood were coming up, and I started thinking, I should really just polish off the last few riveting episodes of Serial. Just then, Bernie said something that stopped me in my soapy, greasy tracks. The interview had turned to the topic of whether the Senator’s campaign was actually viable. (“HAHA NO OF COURSE NOT AMY,” hissed my moribund soul.) But instead of doing the usual politician thing of ticking off how many endorsements he’d won (zero) or how much money he’d raised (not nearly enough), Bernie just started getting emotional about the YUGE number of volunteers his fledgling campaign had amassed. Like, he seemed genuinely shocked and honored that so many young people were rallying around him because they believed a better world was possible.
I put down my brillo pad as my brain pondered. Thousands and thousands of people were volunteering for a 70-year-old socialist who had gotten probably 20 seconds of mainstream media coverage. And also what a funny concept — measuring the viability of a presidential campaign by how many people actually cared enough about it to work on it for free.
That’s when I felt it for the first time: the warm little spot of hope invading my system. Could it be that people were taking this Bernie thing seriously? I had to find out — the dishes could wait a few more weeks!
I went on Facebook and sure enough, friends of mine who were (GASP!) less radical than me had already boarded the Bernie train. Where had I been??? Working too much, FOR THE MAN, that’s where. I bought my $27 ticket in that moment and the rest is history — alienating all of my nice lib friends, quitting my corporate law job, learning to build furniture like the Amish, developing all manner of prepper tendencies, and most special of all, joining Detroit DSA! Along the way I’ve learned many important life lessons, including that money cannot buy comrades, or community, or probably other life affirming things that start with a hard “c.”
And I would gladly take my comrades and The Revolution over all the trappings of coastal elite society any day!
ONWARD!! A better future IS possible!
— NATASHA FERNÁNDEZ-SILBER