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So, I've been thinking about politics, which will be no surprise to anyone who's reading my Facebook. Lately, a number of friends have shared the post where Bernie talks about creating a grass-roots political movement to take back our government, which is, after all, supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people--all the people, not just people of one color or one religion (and certainly not a government of billionaires, by billionaires, and for billionaires).

So, first, to the Bernie supporters out there--Bernie is right about this thing.

Yes, as a woman who has liked Hillary for years, I am standing up publicly to say it.

Bernie is right. We need an influential, a humongous (I won't say "yuuuuuuge") grass-roots movement. I love it that Bernie is working to create a community of empowered voters. But--and it's an important but, for reasons I'll go into below--I have online friends who cringe when faced with Bernie supporters because in their experience, in recent days, any dissent (and especially any support of Hillary) has been met with such bad behavior that they felt they had to shut up to be safe. Think about that for a moment. That's no way to build the legacy that Bernie has asked you to build. Now, not all Bernie supporters are like that. But each one who is diminishes Bernie's legacy!

Bernie is right that we need a broad grass-roots movement. To get big money out of politics, we need a movement that is, at least for a few years, so big that no politician has any hope of getting elected without it. It takes time to build a community. That means that Bernie is absolutely right to stay in the race to the convention no matter what his numbers are, because that lets him keep the spotlight on building the political "capitol" to make the changes we need. (Or at least he's right so long as his supporters are engaging in community-building rather than deliberately alienating likely allies this grass-roots movement needs.)

To the other Bernie-lovers out there (and yes, I'm a Bernie lover even though I have admired and respected Hillary for a long time), I have to say, let's see what you can do to build a movement, to bring in women and minorities rather than telling us to shut up and know our place. Because without us, you are too few and your movement is too small to defeat the big money.

I'd say it's kind of like a union, except that the billionaires have managed to convince so many voters that "union" is a bad word. But the concept is sound--if you don't have the money, you need to have a way to negotiate with the people who do. In politics, that comes down to votes. Each and every vote counts, whether it's inspired by a slick, expensive commercial or a grass-roots community working together for the good of all.

To the Bernie-lovers out there, I point out his record of reaching across party lines and working with people who he mostly disagrees with, for the purpose of doing good for the American people, little bit by little bit. I suggest you take his example, and every time you're faced with someone who disagrees with you on something, treat them with respect and reach out to work with them. Bernie can't build a community all by himself. Even Jesus couldn't do that!

If you love Bernie, don't you think he deserves to have you build his movement and take back the government whether or not he wins this Presidential primary? If you love him and his plans for our country, then ask yourself how can you use your words to help build his legacy. Whether or not he wins this battle, it's possible to win in the long run. We can build Bernie's legacy one person at a time, and in the end enjoy Bernie's legacy for many years to come--but only if we reach out and build a coalition, only if we have sufficient numbers that money can't buy the votes that the rich dudes have come to count on.

And with each and every interaction you have with someone who doesn't think Bernie is the best candidate, you have a chance to make a person feel respected and listened to and valued and a part of a community of people that is devoted to getting big money out of politics, a community devoted to promoting human dignity and American opportunity.

Or you can make that one person feel disrespected and scared of the very movement Bernie has asked you to build.

Every single time you talk to someone who isn't already a Bernie supporter, you have a chance to build his legacy or harm it.

Your choice.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
jarrellwoods
Mar. 21st, 2016 01:51 am (UTC)
These are good thoughts articulated magnificently. I have nothing to add except to say, thank you.
wyld_dandelyon
Mar. 21st, 2016 04:47 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I very much like Bernie's platform. I have strong questions about his ability to do any of it if his only tool is the ability to issue executive orders, and I have significant misgivings about what he and his supporters are doing to bring strong allies to the table to make his marvelous proposed changes to our world.
seekerval
Mar. 21st, 2016 11:24 am (UTC)
Dog-gone it, Wyld! You write like such a reasoning, thinking ADULT. If only you weren't such a rarity in that vein. I agree with your very sensible statements.

Political elections have been growing ever more ridiculous and vicious (an unlikely pairing of adjectives, I admit) over the last couple of decades. The current one seems to have shot right on past any level of sense and reason, leaping to embrace childish vitriol and virtual insanity--AT ALL LEVELS OF PARTICIPATION. Not that there aren't some trying to point it back to a semblance of sense (Bernie, for one, usually), but I worry about where this might lead next.
wyld_dandelyon
Mar. 22nd, 2016 05:28 am (UTC)
I worry too. I worry that Bernie is attracting people who want a Messiah, who will sweep in and magically create a revolution all by himself, and all they have to do is vote for him and they will be saved. Of course, he can't do that alone, he's not magic, he's just a politician.

I worry that Hillary's "brand" has been too-badly damaged by decades of false attacks that she can't do what's needed either.

I worry about every single Republican candidate out there, who are building on a legacy of bigotry and hatred and lies even when they are decent people (and many of them are not decent people).

I've seen huge changes in my lifetime (for instance, legalizing gay marriage), but none of them happened fast and many thousands of people worked for decades to make them happen. It didn't take as long as getting women the vote, but still, those sorts of things don't happen overnight or just because one person in one branch of government believes in them. I'd love to see all the people who are so fired up about Bernie and his plans for the country settle in to do the work of talking to people, listening to people, voting every single chance they get, marching in parades, and all the other things that make change first possible and then inevitable. We need them!
shamshir_tin
Mar. 22nd, 2016 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, not too proud of my fellow Bernie-supporters. I was thinking of this today. I'm all like, if you're not supporting a psycho like Trump, I can respect your differences of opinion.
wyld_dandelyon
Mar. 23rd, 2016 02:52 am (UTC)
I'm glad!

You know,none of Bernie's ideas are new to me. I've heard people talk about them for years (some of them from Hillary even). But they've been liberal daydreams, mostly, because there hasn't been enough political will to make them real.

To make them real, we need people to support those ideas, to work to get like-minded people in office on all levels, and work to convince people whose ideas aren't quite so progressive (or who have stopped believing we can make big changes fast) to support those big ideas.

If we can't respect each other, how can we stand up against the hatred of people like Trump's and Cruz's followers?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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