Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I am not a "Bernie bro," yet

The holier-than-thou Hillary Clinton supporters who continue to rail against those Bernie Sanders supporters who have professed that they will not vote for Clinton under any circumstances, including the general election in November, are only strengthening the resolve of Sanders supporters and may, ironically, end up recruiting more "Bernie or Bust" diehards. This has a lot less to do with what Clinton-backers have to say about Sanders, and a lot more to do with what they are insinuating about those who are "feeling the Bern."

People do not take kindly to being insulted, and that is exactly what many of Clinton's supporters and the Democratic National Committee are doing to those who are supporting Bernie Sanders, even if unintentionally. Those advocating for Clinton may think they are harmlessly reminding the Sanders camp that the real focus needs to be on defeating the Republican party nominee in November, and the sooner everyone is on board with the same candidate and platform, the better. What I suspect Bernie's supporters are hearing is that "you silly, young, naive folks need to fall in line and get with the program."

This is the same kind of crap that I remember hearing in my late twenties, even thirties, after I had dropped out of college. When people would offer the advice that I should "go back and finish your degree," what I heard was: "You have no right to succeed unless you do it the traditional way that I and everyone else has had to!" So, when you ask us Sanders supporters to "please, recognize we must triumph over Republicans at all cost," what we hear is: "You are delusional to believe anything Sanders is feeding you, that there is any alternative whatsoever to Elephant versus Ass, no way we are ever going to achieve those 'pie in the sky' dreams of universal healthcare, livable wage, and everything else Sanders stands for." Well, baloney. "But that's not what we are saying," you claim. Doesn't matter. That is what we are hearing, and perception equals reality, especially in politics.

My impressions of this brand of Clinton supporter are probably equally flawed and overly-generalized. Here is my take, obviously exaggerated to make a point: Well, you must be perfectly happy with the status quo, then. You must be happy being a low- to mid-level employee in a multi-national corporation where you get a respectable wage, health insurance, a 401K, etc. Maybe you think that your membership in the Audubon Society is enough to guarantee that legislation adverse to the environment can be kept to a minimum. Maybe supporting the local homeless shelter is a sufficient means of mitigating the profound, institutionalized oppression of the poor. Get it, yet?

There is no perfect candidate, certainly. No argument there, but unless the Clinton backers start understanding the emotions and real-life struggles that Sanders supporters have at the heart of their very being, you really risk permanently alienating even more potential Clinton supporters should she win the party nomination. I am frankly astonished that Sanders is not winning every demographic. I am middle-aged, and I support Sanders because, in the immortal words of Peter Finch's character in Network, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Sanders has catalyzed this sentiment better than any previous candidate in my politically-aware lifetime.

I have this image of Bernie leaving his house for work every morning, and above the inside door frame is a sign that reads: "In case of emergency, run for President." Seriously, if he is running for the highest office, it says to me that things are even worse than we citizens imagine, and this may be our very last chance to change things. But, hey, if you still prefer "the Devil you know," you have the right to vote for other candidates. Keep up the condescending rhetoric, though, and you won't just lose potential political allies, you'll start losing personal friends.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. It's totally opposite from my perspective. I had FB friends demanding that Clinton pull out of the race back in January! I've had to unfollow them until after the election they were so obnoxious. :) I'm ready for December.