An open letter to my fellow Bernie supporters
If you’re reading this, and you too Feel the Bern, this is for you. Like you, I am a Bernie supporter. I’ve donated to his campaign regularly, I’ve cast my ballot for him in the NY primary, and I just love the guy. I think he’s got a great message, is consistent in his positions, and generally seems to be a principled, moral, decent man. These are some of the reasons that he has been my candidate of choice, and I have and continue to #feelthebern.
But fellow Berners, we have a problem here. The message that has been the lifeblood of this unlikely campaign is getting diluted, and it’s because some of the folks who support Bernie have chosen to express their frustration with the process in a highly inappropriate manner. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I understand the frustration of many people out there. I am angry that the DNC basically all lined up behind Hillary Clinton long before one voter cast their ballot. I’m frustrated by the issues that obstruct everyone who wants to vote from doing so. These are legitimate issues, and they deserve to have a light shone upon them, and addressed to be improved upon so that democracy works for everyone. But the way in which many Bernie supporters have expressed their anger and frustration ranges from tantruming toddler to downright sociopathic. And I’m angry, because this is just unacceptable.
For folks who are involved and passionate for the first time, emotions can run high. I remember how this felt, as that’s where I was in 2008. As an Obama supporter, Hillary Clinton very much seemed like the enemy. Throughout that long, drawn out, contentious primary, I was pissed at Hillary Clinton. But what happened after the primary ended and she conceded was an excellent lesson for me in how politics work. These two rivals found a way to work together, both in the campaign, and in President Obama’s administration. In seeing that, I realized that primaries end, and there’s an aftermath to deal with, and also, you know, a general election. And one way or another, people come together in support of the nominee, even after the ugliest of campaigns. Because of this, while I support Bernie, I’m not anti-Hillary. She’s not my preferred candidate, but I can support Sanders and also acknowledge that she’s not the devil incarnate.
Like many Bernie supporters, I’m not particularly enthusiastic about a Hillary Clinton presidency. I’ve repeatedly said that if she is the nominee, she will have my vote, as I find the alternative to be unthinkable. I have had and continue to have reservations about HRC, some of which include that she is not as bold of a progressive on economic and environmental issues as I would like, and she is more hawkish and interventionist in foreign policy issues than I think is necessary or good for America. I’m not thrilled about Bill Clinton returning to the White House; I think his time has passed, and don’t really want him involved in our government again. And the whole email scandal that is hanging over this election is of concern to me as well. That being said, while Hillary Clinton is in my opinion a flawed candidate, she’s not the spawn of Satan that many Bernie supporters make her out to be.
Like many Bernie supporters, I take issue with how this primary process has gone down. I hate the fact that the DNC didn’t really want this to be a contested primary, and went to great lengths to insure that, which Bernie has managed to make it nonetheless. If anything has come out of this whole process, it’s how flawed and unequal the whole process is. In making the process last as long as it does, certain states votes count more than others, and by the time the end of the primaries come, it’s not uncommon to have one viable candidate to vote for. Folks were calling for Bernie to drop out as early as March, and that’s not democracy, that’s just bullshit. There’s no reason that any candidate should drop out until every ballot in every state is cast, and all votes are counted. If we had a shorter primary season, where all the states conducted the process in a consistent manner, this would be less of an issue. Superdelegates (What the fuck is up with that name anyway? I don’t see a big fucking democratic superhero cape on those folks!) should not be a part of this process; this is one area where I think Republicans are doing a better job (yes, it’s still me writing).
But unlike some Bernie supporters, I don’t trash Hillary Clinton. I don’t get into fights with people on social media about this. I don’t think it’s at all acceptable to behave like the folks at the Nevada convention did this past weekend. You don’t harrass and threaten those who disagree with you. Leave that to the Trump rallies. That’s not what the message of this campaign is about, and this behavior is immoral and completely negates what the campaign sets out to do. So stop. Just stop this shit right now. You can be angry, but you need to channel that emotion in a different way. Stop name calling, and start writing letters to your elected officials and DNC leaders, preferably without profanity or threats. Stop saying nasty things about Hillary Clinton. There are differences between her and Bernie Sanders, and it’s fine to highlight those differences, but your words should be about supporting your candidate of choice, not tearing down his opponent. Be thorough, be articulate, and above all, don’t be an asshole. The passion that is a part of this election is a good thing, but it cannot be allowed to spill into ugliness and violence. Because that’s just not democratic (lowercase and capital d).