Bernie Needs to Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk With His Troops

COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 24:  Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks about poverty in South Carol
COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks about poverty in South Carolina during a press conference on February 24, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. Democrats in South Carolina will go to the polls to select their presidential nominee on February 27. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I am tiring of the idiocy of both the left and the right. I detest absolutism on either side of the philosophical and/or political spectrum. And while I absolutely loathe the extreme rigidity, intolerance, and bigotry of the far right as represented by the Tea Party, I am both perplexed and shocked at the apparent short-sightedness of many of my progressive friends on the left who support Bernie Sanders with such passion that it has blinded their common sense.

Since the right wing is a lost cause I want to focus on the left. I have had numerous discussions with my progressive friends over the past several weeks and while I appreciate the vigor with which they support Sanders the larger picture is seemingly absent from their worldview. Just today I engaged in a lunchtime discussion that predictably turned political with a fervent Bernie supporter.

As I have increasingly heard over the past several weeks, I was informed that if he did not get the nomination this person and the brigades of young people who currently support him will simply not participate in the November election. I only assume that this person is capable of speaking on behalf of a large contingent of youth but if it is true it is truly worrisome.

Of all the boneheaded and counterproductive statements, if this reflects future actions as threatened it seriously brings into question the judgment and thought process that undergirds their supposed political acumen. To eschew Hillary in favor of any of the Republican hopefuls, especially the frontrunner Donald Trump, is such a supreme act of self-indulgent pettiness and vindictiveness that it disturbs the natural order of things.

Yet when confronted with such common sense wisdom the hatred of Hillary and the system she has so assiduously cultivated over a lifetime of public service is so strong that some folks, how many I do not know, would rather doom the country to at least four years of retrograde thinking and policy making in an attempt to penalize whom exactly?

And there is no clearer illustration of the absurdity of this proposition than that presented by the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. To sacrifice the opportunity to reverse several decades of pathetic political posturing by the highest court is about as close to a mortal sin as I can imagine within the ranks of progressive minded individuals. This decision alone could have impacts for two decades or more.

I am also constantly astounded at the political deafness of Bernie's followers while he himself has made it quite clear that he will indeed support the Democratic nominee regardless of whom it may be. For goodness sakes, who or what are these people dedicated to? If you truly believe in the things that Bernie is saying, and I certainly do, how could you not also follow his lead in dedicating yourself to making the country better, not perfect, but better by electing a Democrat to the White House. The old axiom of not letting perfection be the enemy of the good certainly aptly applies here.

Given what appears to be a disturbing and developing situation the candidate himself needs to temper his enthusiastic supporters, not their enthusiasm, but their obsession with the reality of change. Look, if Sanders does win and brings a quasi-revolutionary agenda to the Capitol and runs into what conceivably and most probably will be a divided government what will these people do then? Will they boycott the government? Will they turn against their leader when he attempts to reach consensus and compromise, which represent the governing principles of our representative democracy?

So Senator I would ask that you stress to your troops that winning is important but not to the extent that it represents an all or nothing proposition. Our system is not built for parliamentary or revolutionary change unless the case can be made that we are truly facing a crisis. In the contemporary polarized political environment, it seems unlikely that a case can be made where agreement on the underlying problems will form a unity of purpose for how to fix them. The competition between the two Democratic candidates represents not so much an ideological struggle but rather a battle of differing approaches to attaining many of the same results. Thus, to starve the process of sufficient energy and direction over tactical differences would be a self-inflicted tragedy tantamount to political suicide.

You can feel the Bern without burning Hillary at the stake! Participation in the political process is a right and privilege that has been the cause for much bloodshed, but it also has its responsibilities, chief among them the willingness to improve the system so as to advance society. This cannot be accomplished if participation is only contingent upon getting everything you want. Our system rarely works that way and it will take a concerted and time-consuming effort on the part of progressives to transform our divided governmental system into a veto-proof majority.

So it is important to adjust your sights upon the long-term goals of a more efficient, effective, and equitable governmental system that begins with short-term victories that you can build upon. Increased participation on the part of the millennial generation is an amazingly positive and constructive harbinger of a brighter future, don't squander it by abandoning the revolutionary precepts that you can eventually effectuate. After all, it is your future.