You know who’s a good Presidential candidate? Bernie Sanders. He’s been in politics for about 50 years and almost always stands on the right side of history, whether participating in the Civil Rights Movement, voting against the Iraq War, voting for veterans benefits, supporting women’s reproductive health, proposing feasible solutions to funding free public college, or chairing committees to investigate the exorbitant increases in medication. He refuses to drag others through the mud and does his best to stay on topic. He’d probably make a fine President.
Despite these qualifications, people still won’t vote for him – and not just Republicans either. That’s because his Democratic opponent is Hillary Clinton, a woman with a political career just as long and just as strong as Sanders’. She’s been an advocate of improved health care since her days as First Lady, weathered countless interrogations with a cool head, was the first female senator from New York, and is one of the most well-traveled and internationally well-liked Secretary of States in history. Her most marked differences from Sanders are that she will occasionally come down on the wrong side of history (like when she opposed same-sex marriage and supported the Iraq War – only to change her mind a few years later) and has major corporate funders.
Honestly, both would do well as the President. They both have the kind of agendas liberals should like – improved gun control, keeping and expanding the Affordable Care Act, supporting women’s reproductive health, and making immigration easier. It’s hard to tell who would be more productive. Would it be Sanders, whose unapologetic fire-and-brimstone style could either push past an intransigent Congress or make them even more obstinate, or would it be Clinton, whose storied history with many politicians have netted her friends and enemies in almost equal measure? The make-up of our next Congress will most likely decide.
But many Sanders supporters are unwilling to admit that Clinton aligns with any of their views. I’ve seen people call her a Republican, claim that she’s in the pocket of corporations, is wishy-washy, and would be worse than Trump. Many are saying that if Sanders doesn’t win the primary, they either won’t vote or will write him in. I’ve been accused of being brainwashed, stupid, and naive because I am still on the fence and am provisionally supporting Clinton. I’ve also been accused of lacking integrity, which is an accusation I’ve seen across the Internet from multiple people. Apparently, either you vote for Sanders or you’re a piece of shit.
This negativity confuses me, not because I wouldn’t expect it from people but because it’s completely out of step with Sanders’ campaign and person. No, he doesn’t mince words and has let the public know how reprehensible he finds Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and corporate handouts, but he deliberately doesn’t try to shame his opponents or people into voting for him. He has worked for over 30 years with people from widely different backgrounds and political bents, and he understands that it takes all kinds. So why are some of his supporters so quick to shame and judge?
Honestly, this fanaticism reads like the fervent sincerity of a new convert, replete with defensiveness and emotion. It’s like people have found their Messiah and thus cannot stomach any opposition. It forces them into ideation, which gives them free rein to insult and belittle while tunneling in on the Bern. No, this isn’t every supporter and many of my long-time socialist friends don’t display this behavior. Rather, it’s long-time Democrats who have suddenly seen the light. And it’s disturbing.
I don’t want Sanders supporters to say they’ll vote for Clinton if she wins. I don’t want them to forgive her for her mistakes or violate their principles to keep a Republican out of the White House. I just want some of them to dial it back a bit, avoid trolling, stop being insulting, and gain some objectivity. Sanders is a good candidate, and he would likely make a decent President, but he’s not some god. He’s just a decent person who tries to do the right thing. He has flaws just like Clinton does, but he is enough as the person he is, just like Clinton is. He doesn’t need to be worshipped, and he doesn’t need an army of converts. He just needs you to listen and vote. So take a page from him, stick to the issues, fight for what you believe in, but maintain your integrity. That’s how you get shit done.
* Image taken from http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/top-five-dumbest-quotes-from-socialist-presidential-candidate-bernie-sanders/