John F. Kennedy once stood in my part of the world, Nashville, Tennessee, and famously said, “The ignorance of one vote in a democracy impairs the security of us all.” I would add, so does the indifference.
So does the hostility. So does the uncompromisingly self-serving behavior of saying via a ballot box temper tantrum or boycott that you are indifferent to — or even worse, have a preference for — the world, or more accurately, the country burning just because you didn’t get your own way. I’ve heard the argument of those like H. A. Goodman who uses the disastrous Iraq war as a reason for why we should “Bernie or Bust!” bro! Like Mr. Goodman doesn’t understand that the colossal failure of Iraq and its disastrous consequences was a little more involved than one vote, and/or that the blame rests on the shoulders of the nation itself — like it or not — and the government as a whole, and is the fault of more than just one Senator. Even if that Senator cast a regrettable vote in favor of that invasion. (And — again, suprising no one who has paid attention –she wasn’t alone in making the mistake of extending the benefit of the doubt to the then sitting president.)
I’ve read the words of Mr. Brogan Morris — which, admittedly, were a little harder to take — when he penned the following in regards to the “Bernie of bust” movement: “If their protest allows a sub-Mussolini demagogue to slip into power, so be it.”
It’s one thing to take Mr. Goodman’s approach to try to convince us that a Donald Trump presidency wouldn’t be all that disastrous, it’s quite another to acknowledge the danger and potential threat that Mr. Trump poses to the safety and security of the United States of America and then dismiss it, simply for the sake of the rise you get in your chest upon seeing yourself get your way as you write-in the name of the candidate that you really like on the ballot. Advocating for intentionally diverting votes from Hillary Clinton to further facilitate a Donald Trump-in-the-Situation-Room outcome? As a kid on the internet once ever-so-cutely said: “Is this real life?”
However, it was the essay of Ms. Egan Marie who truly left me in possession of a feeling I try not to posses often after reading the words of complete strangers: geniune anger. Ms. Marie’s contribution was not only rooted in simply her perception of facts, instead of facts — it was bigoted and violently offensive
While it’s exciting to see so many young people participating in our political process, it becomes a little hard to take when you see enthusiatic regurgitations of Sanders campaign emails used to virtually beat down anybody supporting a different candidate and then attached to a claim that we’re all backseat bigots in denial (as did Egan Marie’s piece.) There are glaringly transparent examples of racism and division in this country and we, as the voting block who still appears sane, have to come together. Things that sound great on social media have no application in our real-life political process, and it’s great to stand behind your ideals, but when those ideals help lead us to a time when we’re fighting off congressional or state legislative-led assaults on a woman’s right to choose, people’s right to even eat in a restaurant when they’re gay, and rolls back the progress that we’ve made towards moving forward with getting 100% of our nation Health Care coverage, then who’s won? You may be at home with puffed-out chest at knowing that you wrote-in your candidate on the ballot, but that puts the rest of the country at risk of suffering a fate that you helped facilitate when you chose not to vote like an adult or vote responsibly simply because you didn’t get your way.
I fully accept that Salon’s purpose of late seems to be to run every irrationally written “Bernie or Bust!” article that it possibly can, so that it will satisfy vitriolic readers who seem to hate Hillary more than they love the country. And so that, in turn, people will give it tens of thousand of Facebook likes, share with socialism-loving social media friends, and pass it around Twitter. I also get that it will spare you the anger of the readers who see a pro-Hillary piece and start keypad pounding about how you’re “so on Hillary’s side!” And of those that instantaneously begin virtually screeching about all the times that the mainstream media has been “biased against Bernie!”
As an intellectually-capable adult, I absolutely acknowledge that. I fully understand the overwhelming politcal preference of your readers. However, I cannot and will not accept in silence the argument that Hillary Clinton is simply the candidate for those of us that have a twinge of white guilt but don’t really want any progress, as Ms. Marie so offensively stated in her piece, titled “Hillary Clinton doesn’t speak for me: I’m a millenial woman raising a biracial son. I voted for Bernie, and I refuse to be shamed for it.”
While in this latest “Only Sanders!” submission the author never states that she’s an advocate of writing-in Bernie Sanders even if Hillary wins the nomination, it clearly states that she’s an Atlanta resident and seeing as how Georgia has already voted in the primary and the author’s entire point is to explain how she will still not support Hillary Clinton, to brand the author as a member of the “Bernie or bust!” movement, would be drawing reasonable conclusion. Ms. Marie also takes time to ridicule and generalize those that she doesn’t have the same political opinion as, and attempts to inadvertently, and sometimes directly, shame Hillary Clinton supporters while writing a piece about how she doesn’t like to be shamed for her Sanders support.
This most recently offensive Salon piece of Sanders-only propaganda, while elegantly written and clearly penned by someone who has varying degrees of artistic talent, was probably the most obnoxious. Because I was diagnosed, as were all white liberals who support Hillary, a person who doesn’t care about race issues; as well as assessed as someone who suffers from white guilt, but not to the point of being willing to support a candidate who actually cares about black people. At least from the author’s perspective. We closeted white racists are only interested in supporting the equality-lite candidate, and it’s directly derivative from our unacknowledged internal rage at seeing a black man hold the Oval Office, or so says the author. And, it seems, the only qualifications required to assess everyone else as a racist is birthing a biracial child. How noble.
So let’s address that overwhelming insinuation that because I didn’t give birth to a dark-skinned child that I, as a white person who supports Hillary Clinton, can only minimally care about racism. And that I could never care, will never care, about it to the extent that I do the feminist cause. I would think a fellow southerner would know better than to allege something so grievously erroneous — particularly engulfed in the hotbed of racism that is the south, and seeing as to how it is currently serving as the homestead of an overabundance of enthusiastic African American Hillary Clinton supporters. But perhaps, maybe, it’s an age difference.
Yes, I’m one of those damn Hillary-adoring Generation Xers. (But barely.) The insidious allegation that because I’m white, or because I’m a white person who doesn’t have a biracial child, or that because I’m a white person who doesn’t support your candidate, I couldn’t possibly care as much about racism as the author, was infuriating. Even though that allegation was somewhat disguised — although at times, not so inadvertently hinted — it was certainly loudly implied, if not outright. And the lumping of all “middle aged” white female Hillary-voters into the “they secretly hate black people” pile seemed to be a theme Ms. Egan celebrated.
No, white Bernie-supporters, I don’t have biracial children. At 36, I don’t have any children of my own, but what I do have is a life experience of trying to help raise two biracial children of someone else’s in a rural southern town where I can vividly recall the way white people looked at me when I walked in a restaurant only 14 years ago and set down with my brown skinned, wiry-headed godchild. (Does that — oh, pretty please, internet — qualify me, Generation X white lady who is unapologetically voting for Hillary, to care about racism?) If not, I also have the experience of growing up in the south in the eighties, where people still referred to MLK holiday as “James Earl Ray day,” and referred to “mixed” — as they still call them in the south — children as “n***** babies.” (Without shame, I might add.) Can I count now too?
I’ve fought against racism every single day of my brown-loving life and very aggressively for the last fourteen years. To the point that made this same formerly super popular kid someone whose family would have to hire pallbearers if I died tomorrow and they buried me in this town. So the assessment that it’s just white guilt lite that leads me to support Hillary Clinton, is not only ignorant and unfounded, it’s just wrong.
On Racial Inequality
If we want to talk racism, let’s talk racism. Not fabricated examples of skewed interpretations of campaign trail actions and relentless, never-ending Sanders-supporter talking points.
Like this: In 1968 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, 3 students were killed and 27 others wounded because they were protesting the fact that even after federal legislation was passed giving them the right, they were still denied access to a bowling alley. To quote CNN contributor, Mr. Bakari Sellers, that is an example of real racism. Bakari’s father, Dr. Cleveland Sellers was wounded in that massacre and then served nine months in jail. Spoiler alert: Dr. Sellers is a Hillary Clinton supporter. So are other instrumental civil rights heroes, like John Lewis. So are 80% of African Americans casting Democratic primary ballots and living across the South. So were 61% of non-white voters even in far left-leaning states like Massachusetts, where she was expected to get trounced. So is Dolores Huerta, a Latino civil rights icon. (Who was rudely and inexcusably booed and heckled off the stage by (mostly young) Bernie supporters simply for attempting to translate while being a Hillary supporter. Sorry, political preferences aside, you just don’t treat elderly — especially icons! — that way.) So were 71% of Latino Democratic voters in Texas. Are they all, as alleged, closeted racist filled with push back over the presence of a black man in the Oval Office? Or no, I guess that assessment was simply lobbed at white people who are supposed to be mad as hell about Barack Obama and not willing to take it anymore.
Right. Of course! That’s why we secretly unhinged and venomous pasty people are supporting Hillary Clinton, President Obama’s preferred, although still unspoken, successor to carry on his legacy. All of the Hillary-supporters who are Latinos; all of the feminist Hillary-supporters; all of the African Americans — male and female; all of those irreplaceable icons instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement and the living legacies that they’re leaving behind that are supporting Secretary Clinton have all got racism wrong? I suppose the only one that knows anything about equality is the author of the offending article.
Thank you for teaching us, Ms. Marie.
And kudos to you, Salon, for being the vessel.
There are real illustrations of dismissiveness and inequality and racism, but citing examples of when Hillary Clinton neglected to spend her time engaging with an argumentative adolescent when she has a million other people to meet and a million other voters to appeal to, and chose to recognize this instead of encouraging continued dialogue with someone who clearly wasn’t there to actually discuss anything with Mrs. Clinton as much as she was to launch her snarky criticisms and hide behind her ‘voter’ status to do so, isn’t one of them. That may infuriate the internet, in the generational faux-outrage of “Don’t talk to me like that!” millennial Sanders supporters, but in the real adult world where you have a million other people to meet, and a million other voters to appeal to, why should Mrs. Clinton spend her time with someone who wasn’t there to have a discussion, or even issue a genuine grievance or an honest critique? She was there to be hateful and she was there to be snarky, and she was there to “Nuh uh!” anything Mrs. Clinton said.
This is the example that Sanders-supporters cite over why the most qualified presidential candidate in modern political history is unfit for office? Really? Why don’t they just mention that she was a Goldwater girl in high school for Christ’s sake! (Oh, wait…)
In Marie’s contribution, she attacks Hillary for “imprisoning black America” and seems to single-handedly hold her responsible for her husband signing legislation that was supported by the two-thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus, African American leaders of disenfranchised and crime-ridden communities, and voted for by Bernie Sanders by asking the question: “Where does this leave women of color?”
I’m gonna say, based on exit polling, voting for Hillary Clinton, that’s where.
Let’s acknowledge some truths that Ms. Marie seemingly intentionally neglected to mention. Hillary Clinton holds 80% of the African-American vote. She carried 68% of the black vote in states like Michigan where she did less well with people of color. Again, so are all these voters wrong? Have they all been swindled? (Damn gullible black people!) Or are they all just misinformed and misled? I gotta tell you, that sounds dangerously close to echoing something more like a Fox News talking point than one I’d expect to be associated with a political “revolution” or progressive movement. Are all of these individuals, all of these voters, just wrong and the only one that knows any better is you, anonymous Bernie-leaning white woman on the internet? Or are people of color justified in voting for Hillary Clinton, and it’s only the white women that are supporting Secretary Clinton who are bigoted at heart? I hope all of you white Sanders supporters can help people like Dr. Sellers figure this out fast! * eye roll *
In 1972 in Dothan, Alabama, Hillary Clinton went undercover as a white woman relocating to the area to expose Alabama school systems that were exploiting private schools as a way to get around desegregation. Isn’t it possible that those 80% of African Americans supporting Hillary Clinton in the south; those she’s been acquainted with for decades due to her work with the Children’s Legal Defense Fund; the almost unopposed Democratic support that she’s received from congressional leaders might be right, might be warranted, and that you online Sanders supporter who can’t see past your own view of things, while accusing others of doing the same, might be wrong? Isn’t that more likely? While Bernie is an outstanding individual and an extremely likable, lovable fellow who most of us truly admire, and one who will have my unwavering support should he win the nomination, isn’t it possible that all these people that you, Ms. Marie and like-minded contributors, are accusing of being blindly persuaded like Trump supporters, could have validity in their justification for voting for Secretary Clinton?
It’s unfair — and frankly, dishonest — to talk about a woman that rudely disrupted a Hillary Clinton rally to protest a comment that Hillary Clinton made which was never a direct reference to what Hillary critics claimed it was (exclusively African American kids) — although it was a terrible and indefensible choice of words — while refusing to acknowledge that the associated legislation you’re criticizing Hillary for supporting by being married to the president who passed it, was actually one that Senator Sanders cast a vote in favor of. (Lest we forget that Sanders suffered his own similar interruption at the start of the summer and, at the time, he didn’t exactly handle it like a pro.) The Sanders supporters usually point to the words that Sanders gave before he cast his vote for that disastrous crime bill, but it doesn’t matter what you say before you vote — in the end, it only matters how you vote. If you disagree, try getting caught cheating on your spouse and trying to convince your significant other that you gave a really good spill on why you shouldn’t right before you stuck your penis someplace it doesn’t belong, and let me know how that works out for you. The Hillary critics use this as an example of why Hillary is blatantly racist, while overlooking the fact that Bernie voted for the very thing that allegedly is the defining characteristic of a racist. Again: Yes, Hillary supported that legislation. As did the Congressional Black Caucus and many African American leaders of crime-laced and impoverished cities. Violence was so abundant in the 90s that leaders were desperate to do something and they’re all complicit. It was disastrous, and no one is defending it. When you know better, you do better. And we know better now. Painfully and admittedly through mistakes. But it seems that Sanders gets a pass while no one else does. That is not only hypocritical, it’s dishonest. And it only sets us back.
Voter evolution and the way it plays out among those of us who take our civic responsibilities to America’s Greatest Generation level of seriousness has never been more apparent than it is in my own life. Yes, I am one of those women that wanted to grow up and be like Hillary Clinton. Although we’ve now been condescendingly educated on the fact that we are a minority. Yes, I voted for Hillary in 2008 and after she was defeated in the primary, became an in-your-face champion for Barack Obama. And my love for President Obama has even, if I’m gut-level honest, surpassed that for Hillary and one of my earliest political heroes, Bill Clinton, with whom I share a day of birth. I’ve given up relationships over Barack Obama. I’ve been real-life unfriended by personal lifelong allies. I’ve been Facebook bullied by former friends. And I’ve went from being someone who was well-loved to being someone who incites social media rage when their name is mentioned. All over my willingness to defend and protect and fight for President Barack Obama while living in the rural South. And largely due to my unwillingness to make nice over their “I have black friends!” narrative and my eagerness to clap back at their historically inaccurate love of a homegrown terrorism symbol (or as I call it, the official jersey of team slavery.) And I’ve never been more proud of myself for their hatred or more proud to stand for something in my life. And I am not alone. We may be rare in red states, but there are more Hillary Clinton supporting, Barack Obama loving, Dr. King reading, Nelson Mandela worshipping, local paper contributing, African American defending, Jerry Maguire channeling, “I looooove black people!” yelling, liberal white women.
The insinuation of otherwise from any site — liberal or conservative –would be laughable, if it weren’t so infuriating. Who are you, Sanders supporters on the internet, to tell me, someone who has lived this existence every day, that my heart isn’t pure and my fight for equality isn’t genuine simply because you have a small and diluted, impractical vision of the political process in this country and the way that we make progress.
It’s becoming increasingly hard to silently tolerate the continued Salon-submitted attacks on Hillary Clinton and the assertion from Bernie Sanders supporters that Hillary Clinton voters are closeted racists while seeing that Senator Sanders seems to solely rack up delegates in caucuses composed of a largely white and liberal electorate (We know! Hawaii!) The argument that anyone else supporting Hillary Clinton is clothed in unseen bigotry and/or is an angry, denial-ridden white person, is not only debunked by the demographics casting primary ballots for Secretary Clinton, it also seems to make the suggestion that the “political revolution” is a 74-year-old white guy supported mainly by white people a bit of an eye-roller. On Super Tuesday and in states like South Carolina, the only demographic that Secretary Clinton didn’t carry was white males. Even in areas where she had won the white male vote over Barack Obama in 2008.
I guess bitch really is the new black, huh?
If political arguments are going to be solely based off of furthering personally formed stereotypes and demographic generalizations, by all means, don’t let this so-called undercover racist who is only concerned with feminist issues hold back! Let’s expose an example of that infamous millennial mentality which allegedly simply hears “free college!” without stopping to assess that the only filibuster-proof votes that Bernie could round up for legislation he introduced in the Senate was a piece of jointly proposed bipartisan legislation. (Ok, to be fair, 3 pieces of Sanders legislation went on to become law. It’s just that two of them dealt with the renaming of Post Offices in Vermont.) Bernie is an amendment man; that’s fabulous. He excels at that. However, you don’t go to the White House to make laws (or even to pass amendments to proposed ones), you do that in the place that Bernie is now. And he hasn’t had much success with those ideas for 25 years while he’s been there. Simply pointing that out is an example of the ‘unfair media’ treatment they believe Sanders has been recipient of. As is acknowledging that it’s hard to start a revolution when you don’t even show up to vote in 2010, 2014 — if said Sanders supporters were even of age to vote then — but yet citing sweeping congressional seats as your answer to this revolution. While there are many reasons the president is monumentally important, local and state government likely has more of a direct influence over your life than a president ever will, and the political revolution starts there. By filling your State house with Democrats; by electing Democratic representation at the gubernatorial level; and by sending Democrats to Washington to represent your congressional district. By showing up to vote in the midterms! And then maybe some of these “radical” proposals would be less radical and more like reality.
I, as a white female who supports Hillary Clinton, shouldn’t have to have a qualifier to prove that I care about equality, or that I am passionate about removing racism. I shouldn’t have to spend my left-wing election energy responding to the sweeping statements that allege that white women of a certain age who are voting for Hillary Clinton are ingrained with biased instincts that make her secretively resentful over the success of people of color, or that we only supported Barack Obama because he was half-white and we could lean on his white side to keep from feeling the black, but lean on the black long enough to appease our inner white guilt. Perhaps — radical idea, I know — voters of color, male and female, have the right to make up their own minds without a white lady online making it up for them. At least that’s how this Generation X white female Hillary Clinton-voter sees it. And the overwhelming majority of African American voters have cast primary ballots for Secretary Clinton in this election.
No one should be shaming anyone or any gender for voting for Bernie — although boat loads of Bernie supporters seem hell-bent on shaming, defaming, and virtually assaulting Hillary Clinton supporters, even going so far as to allege through Salon submissions that all of the white female Hillary-voters are mindless and racist, as Egan Marie does in her essay — what they’re shaming, or should be shaming, is the ridiculousness of the counterproductive irrationality of this ‘Bernie or bust’ idea being thrust across social media and being shoved down young Democrats throats. And angry at the dangerous irresponsibility behind it.
It’s also hard to take any argument seriously when it holds that Bernie Sanders is the only hope of revolution; Bernie Sanders is our nation’s savior; Bernie Sanders is the only one that can make change; Bernie Sanders is the only one with credibility and integrity; Bernie Sanders is the only politician we can trust; Bernie Sanders is the only one whose ideas and opinions matter, except, of course, when we reach the point where Hillary Clinton wins the nomination and Bernie tells us to get behind the Democratic nominee — in that case, he’s wrong then, and I’m not going to listen. And at which time, I’ll write-in his name.
Ms. Marie writes that, “These women are willing to elect a symbol of progress that makes them feel good, forgetting just how much is on the line…”
Contradiction much, Berniebots?
She also states, “The women I hear vehemently defending Hillary are the women who look like her. They are white.”
Again, not only is this the author’s admitted interpretation alleged as fact, it’s also a statement that falls apart upon examination when we look at actual primary results. Hillary carries the vote of black women and black men. And on Super Tuesday 3, she even carried the vote of young black women. She’s won the vote of black women, black men, Latino women, Latino men, and white women. Hell, she won 90% of the African American vote in states like Alabama and Arkansas, according to exit polling! The gross misrepresentation of facts and substituting one’s own personal opinion in place of any information that isn’t substantive of your cause, is what makes the enthusiasm of Bernie followers insufferable. Enthusiasm is good. Deliberate fabrications and attacking people that you don’t agree with, but doing in a backhanded way as so as to appear the victim, is not. It’s supercilious.
On Why We Should Unite
Ms. Marie also writes that as a black man her son will be more likely to have his voting rights restricted. It’s not just black men whose voting rights are at risk, it’s everyone’s. Which is why it should be important to everyone — regardless of race, gender or income — that a Democrat hold the White House, gain control of the Supreme Court nomination, and that we elect Democrats all across the board. The portion of the Voting Rights Act that was repealed was the part that dictates that the states have to seek approval from the justice department before they make changes in voter laws, and while African Americans are disproportionately targeted, the intended target of these new voter restrictions is anyone that votes democratically. In my home state of Tennessee where Barack Obama had his electoral tail handed to him in both presidential elections, he carried places like Knox County, home of the University of Tennessee, and other counties that were largely composed of college students. Which is why our state, as have others, have passed intentionally restrictive voter-ID laws that don’t allow one to vote with college identification from a state-sponsored University, but allows you to vote with a handgun carry permit. Of course these states can’t come out and say that they’re targeting black men with voter restrictions and they can’t be blatant in their attempts to do so which is why they cover it all up with fictional “voter fraud,” but the reality is that black men aren’t the only group that they’re targeting. They’re targeting the elderly. They’re targeting the poor. They’re targeting anyone of color. And they’re targeting college students in areas where they overwhelmingly vote democratic. In Texas, they are targeting registered Hispanic voters. Anyone truly passionate about those issues that would understand the importance of sending a Democrat to the White House — even if that particular candidate wasn’t your initial choice.
Marie also writes on the condescension of Hillary-voters: (Even the incessant talk of Hillary’s experience is symptomatic of this: Hillary spent only eight years in Congress and eight years as a diplomat, compared to Bernie’s 35 years as mayor, congressman and senator. What her supporters mean when they say she has more experience is that she has more of the type of experience with which they are familiar.)
Which was confusing because, by this point, the reader is led to believe Marie’s piece was supposed to be about the flamboyantly patronizing behavior of white Hillary Clinton supporters. Me thinks Ms. Marie doeth a little patronizing of her own. Perhaps — and bear with this old, white, female, secret white supremacist for a second, here — it isn’t so much experience that we’re familiar with as it is the type of experience. As in the kind most relevant to occupation of the White House during the time of international chaos. Ms. Marie is also a little off in her calculations. She gives Clinton too much credit for diplomatic service if she’s referencing her tenure as Secretary of State. She only served four there. She also served eight years as a well traveled, highly involved First Lady of the United States and as the same for eight years as the First Lady of Arkansas. While it’s true it wasn’t an elected position, it was laced with international interaction, highly anticipated global representations, and the continuous forming of diplomatic relationships. Her time as Secretary of State has helped prepare her for the White House in a way none of the other candidates even come close to emulating. Serving as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, isn’t exactly like traveling to over 100 countries, 100,000 plus miles, and spending the equivalent of 4 months straight on an airplane.
There are roughly 630, 000 residents in the entire state of Vermont. Let’s have a little perspective, shall we? Let’s also not misunderstand the gravity of serving as a United States senator from a state like New York during the biggest tragedy to strike our homeland since Pearl Harbor. While Marie haughtily suggest that we only support Secretary Clinton’s professional experience simply because — silly old, racist white women — we don’t understand or aren’t familiar with the important kind. You know, “important” being only the kind Bernie has. When the reality is, perhaps we simply prefer her particular brand of “second-class” experience. If that’s okay with you, all-knowing internet.
See, millenials, I wasn’t a kid when September 11th happened. I was an adult. 22. Probably the same age as the majority of Sanders supporters are now, and I was terrified. When those men and women gave their lives running into a fiery building while everyone else was trying to run out; when we showed the rest of the world who we really are, and what kind of people America was made of, let’s not make light of the fact that it was politicians like Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer who stood strong representing the state of 20 million people that now stood as the face of us all — and they made us proud. I don’t believe you elect Bernie by knocking Hillary and I don’t believe that you elect Hillary by knocking Bernie. That’s not what we do here on the left, and it should never be. But let’s not dismiss the obstacles that Secretary Clinton overcome serving as a then newly-elected Senator to New York when those towers fell. And let’s not compare the way she and her colleague fought to secure health care for those heroes in the First Responders bill, or that Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming into signing it — and then, again, into renewing it. Let’s not minimize the good that she brought to the people of New York following that tragedy; the way that she never left them alone and never stopped fighting for them; the way that she stood still, tall and strong when the rest of the world was looking to New York as the beacon of American resolve and belittle that by comparing it to being a mayor of a town of 40,000. Or by claiming that the reason people prefer Hillary’s experience is because we just don’t know any better. It’s just not the same, and all the #BernieMadeMeWhite-washing of it and other things — hmmm, exit polling data — will never make it.
I was campaigning for Michael Dukakis on the playground, and I come from a long line of southern white Democrats that didn’t abandon the party that saved the nation during the Great Depression simply because they suggested that black kids should have the right to go to school with our white ones. My personal best is 147 books read in just eight months out of the year and I’m a connoisseur of information and in particular, all texts political. I was a declared political science major before I really even understood what a major was, and the day that I learned about the Birmingham bus boycott was the day that I fell in love with America. I have been enticed by social justice ever since I began to study it in my history books. Even if I think that protest doesn’t always have to be rudely interrupting someone’s right to speak; it can be inconveniencing them with peaceful, organized protest, as that is, in my opinion, much more effective than just being an asshole. To draw comparisons between white women like myself who support Hillary Clinton and those who wish to see Donald Trump elected as the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful armed forces on the planet, is just a massive misfire.
Marie also makes the assessment that her son as a black man would be more likely to be housed in adult detention facilities as a juvenile. Actually, there are already federal statues in place that prohibit this — although states find ways to not comply and it still, without question, exists, and inarguably disproportionately affects kids of color. However, if one is concerned about housing juvenile criminal justice offenders in the same facilities as adults, I would think one would acknowledge and appreciate the legal assistance of organizations like the Children’s Legal Defense Fund and the efforts and contributions of people like Hillary Clinton who, under the leadership of women like Marie Eldeman Wright, worked to eliminate this practice in places like South Carolina. See, some of us white, liberal, allegedly angry over Barack Obama, female Hillary Clinton supporters have been studying this woman’s career since 1992, so it’s cute that some political come latelys moolighting as internet Sanders supporters want to accuse us of bigotry and of trying to further a world that will prove hostile to people of color simply because we don’t see things through the same political lense that they do. But with or without your ballot box support, young “protest voters” of Sanders enthusiasts, you may look up on inauguration day, and if you are capable, see the votes that put Secretary Clinton in the position of becoming Madam President and realize that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all of the middle age feminist or black supporters of Secretary Clinton who were wrong — maybe it was you.
On Bernie and “Bernie or Bust!”
I think all liberals and people with a soul would agree that it’s a disheartening day in our nation when the NFL — which I adore, by the way — has more pull than the rights of minority citizens who live there. Or when the National Basketball Association holds more weight than the Supreme Court. “Religious freedom” discrimination laws passed in States like Indiana, Arizona, and Georgia — and now North Carolina — have only been vetoed when the states received outside pressure by corporations or professional sports leagues. These Republican faux-Christian elected officials care more about the financial loss that their state will lose by not getting the right to hold the nation’s most anticipated game on the gridiron than they do the open discrimination of their citizens. They believe that their right to be a bigot outweighs your right to shop, eat, or be served with dignity if you happen to be a gay (and likely, tax paying) citizen. Now some on the left seem to believe that their right to be self-serving trumps (pun intended) that right, too.
Because that’s EXACTLY what they’re calling for with the “Bernie or Bust!” rallying cry.
If I purchase a $1 scratch-off every day, there’s a good chance that I might one day scratch off one that makes it look like a smart investment. Similarly, if I spend a lengthy career in the Senate voting no against everything, there’s a good chance that at the end of my career, some of those votes might be classified as smart. Just like there’s a good chance that I’ll have votes that I wish I could take back, also. While it’s important that Senator Sanders voted against the invasion in Iraq, it’s not necessarily a distinguishing characteristic. As someone who came of age in the anti-Vietnam war protest era, Senator Sanders is almost aways anti-military intervention. (Well, not always. There was the time he voted in favor of NATO bombing Yugoslavia and was labelled “Bernie the Bomber” by those it pissed off in his home state.) And that’s good; great, even. It’s one of the things that I respect most about Senator Sanders, as it was one of the most impressive career choices of then Senator Barack Obama. And while that’s good — his persistent reluctance to discuss ANY military interventionon or to pitching aside every piece of legislation that he deems imperfect — it can also be as troubling as Hillary’s tendency to err on the hawkish side. While Bernie wil stress the importance and necessity of sometimes engaging in the unavoidable last resort effort of that nessary evil, military intervention, when pressed on when that might be, he struggles to come up with an answer. Just like he struggles to compromise. I think there’s validity in the criticism that Bernie Sanders is against everything. Except, of course, the gun lobby.
Senator Sanders always likes to point out how he once spoke out in favor of potentially supporting an assault weapons ban and that because he did so, he lost an upcoming election. And my response to that is, “And you never made that mistake again, huh Senator?” Bernie is a politician, albeit a loveable and trustworthy one. But he’s still a politician. And they have to get elected to be effective. Bernie didin’t vote with the gun lobby because he’s just fundamentally against any gun laws — and good for us — Bernie voted with the gun lobby because he wanted to get reelected. (No, Bernie did not vote in favor of the infamous 1994 crime bill because it held an assault weapons ban; he voted in favor of a house version of the bill that did NOT contain the ban.) Yet, the unwavering Berniebot faithful will relentlessly point out any maneuvers that Hillary Clinton may have engaged in without any reference to Bernie’s own political calculations.
Perhaps, in closing, it helps to demystify the science surrounding American politics. See, in it’s real application, legislation is a bit more complicated than online Sanders-supporters claim. Ciiting a time that Hillary Clinton worked to help her husband veto legislation and then voted for a different piece of legislation with the same principle after getting amendments passed in the legislation to remove the offending parts that she worked to get President Clinton to veto the bill over, doesn’t make as good of argument for Sanders-supporters as just saying that Hillary is a hypocrite who flipped her vote to protect Wall Street. Paradoxically, it’s great to point out the words that Bernie said before he voted for the crime bill that we’re holding Hillary accountable for because simply because was married to (and supported) the president who signed it, but Bernie gets a pass on voting for it because he gave a really passionate speech about why he was against before he voted for it.
Yet, you’ll never get his supporters to direct you to the impassioned speech that Hillary gave while voting on — or stating her forthcoming absence and letting her intentions be known — that bankruptcy bill she’s ridiculed for. Elizabeth Warren is someone who I respect and adore. When she takes to the Senate floor, she leaves me in smiles. But that doesn’t mean that if Senator Warren is disappointed by the actions of someone else that I adore, that I’m going to write their opinions off entirely. That’s not adoration or respect, that’s worship. Politics is messy and legislation is specific. One sentence or one line can change the whole meaning or direction of a bill. Secretary Clinton gets faulted for the way she voted as a Senator with no exceptions for why she voted that way, but Senator Bernie Sanders who did vote against a bill the held the funds to be released to bail out the auto industry, gets to say that he was voting against the banks. But the reality is that in doing so, he was also voting against the money that saved Detroit.
We can also talk about why Bernie gets to take Hillary to task for Gitmo when he voted the same way, or we could address that for the short period of time that their Senate careers overlapped, they voted the same way 93% of that time — but alas, we would still be divided. And isn’t that the problem? It is both my hope and my prayer that hardcore Sanders supporters will come to realize that in real life legislation is a bit more complex than some give it credit for being in their arguments online, and that compromise or unity isn’t a sign of failure, it’s a sign of strength.
As Abraham Lincoln so passionately said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Neither can a party. And now, more than ever, we need to stand. Stand against the repeated assault on freedom and dignity by those on the right. You may be able to wait out a Trump Presidency, but I can’t. And I’m willing to wage my lived-through-Bush-as-an-adult life that you can’t either. The cost of Lincoln fighting for his cause was a bullet to his brain. Let’s not let Donald Trump — via his presidency — put one through ours as a nation.