Thank You, Bernie

Bernie Sanders has “endorsed” Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee-but he’s still up for nomination, so I think he still has a few more cards to play. who says progressive, activist politicians can’t be slick political operators?

About this time last year, most people did not know of Bernie sanders, and he was way down in the polls. Now, he has 1900 delegates, he won several primaries, and he raised millions of dollars of small donations from working and low-income people, thus ending the idea that candidates HAVE to go to corporations and the wealthy for campaign contributions.

In this campaign, Bernie has brought up the domination by the plutocratic class of our politics-further solidified by the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions of the Supreme Court-which leads to anti-worker trade deals (such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA), laws inhibiting a union’s ability to represent and protect its members, laws protecting corporations from lawsuits over poorly-made products, and tax breaks for billion-dollar corporations such at Boeing and GE, while schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, highways, etc., are allowed to fall apart due to lack of money for repair.

(And yes, it does take money to keep up these things that we the people, AND the corporations, depend on for the society to function.)

These are the issues Bernie has brought about  in the campaign, along with the corruption within the “Democratic” party; the DNC has biased its apparatus towards Hillary in the primaries, closing off discussion and alternatives, showing that WE the PEOPLE do not have a real place in political discussion in this country.

Even better, Bernie has motivated a new generation of politically-engaged young people, as voters and activists, even some candidates,  who realize the political game is rigged against working and low-income people. There is so much media concentration on the presidential races, there is little attention to races for the Senate, House,  state legislatures, and county row offices. One person, no matter how popular, no matter how highly-placed, can’t do it all.

Better still, having identified himself as a Democratic Socialist, Bernie has brought back a much-maligned movement and ideal, falsely (often deliberately)  identified with the horrific regimes in Moscow and Beijing, and brought it back to the table of serious discussion. Bernie falls well within the tradition of great American Socialists as Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington.

Bernie never tried to be a Messiah, which may be part of why people are complaining about his “endorsement” of Hillary, calling it a “sell-out.” So many people have so little faith in themselves, in the ability to change and improve their communities, they think they need a Messiah to step in. As Debs himself said, “I don’t want you to follow me or anyone else. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, somebody else would lead you out.” Bernie is more like an organizer, an activist who works to bring people together to find their collective power, then, when the people are organized, steps away and lets them take care of themselves.

SO, I say, thank you, Bernie Sanders, for showing us our power; we’ll take it from here.

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