"I'll take Hillary Clinton's past over any future with Donald Trump."
-- Swami Beyondananda
In 2016, Hillary Clinton is our standard-bearer.
I fully expect some of you to not agree with me, and if so, so be it. We'll "talk" next Wednesday.
If you're a conservative who has already decided to vote for Donald Trump, I respect your decision. If you see through Trump to what he really represents, thank you for voting for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, whom I have long admired. Or for Hillary.
If you're a disheartened, disillusioned, angry Bernie supporter thinking about casting a vote for Jill Stein or staying home, I am talking to you. If you are one of those Millennials who embraced the Bernie campaign and then lost heart when he lost the primaries, this message is for YOU especially.
Yes, the cards were stacked against Bernie in the primaries ... and yet, he won 22 states. This indicates that a progressive wave has been awakened in this country. In order to keep momentum going, we must now elect Hillary Clinton, and do so with heart and enthusiasm. Hillary is our standard bearer for now, and it is up to we the progressives to "raise her standard" and hold her accountable. This ONLY works if we elect her first.
I am well aware of all of Hillary's flaws. As a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Bernie supporter, I've been critical of neoliberalism and her heavy-handed tactics to win the primaries. At the same time, I respect the price she has paid for being a woman on the front lines. And this year, she is the only thing that stands between us, and a Donald Trump presidency.
More importantly at this moment in history, Hillary represents the open door to the future we all know is possible. Ultimately, the oligarchs fear Bernie more than Hillary. And, they want to defeat Hillary so that the progressive movement in this country will have to dig itself out of the rubble. Please remember the disheartenment only serves the oligarchs and those controllers who have stood in the way of economic and environmental justice since the Reagan years.
So ... take heart!
With Hillary as President, we will be freer to build the movement that is already transforming the Democratic Party. Instead of having to battle Trumpism, we can turn our attention to the TPP and issues of environmental and economic justice. With the election over, progressives can engage with those Trump voters who oppose the TPP and want to see Main Street and not Wall Street bailed out. This is - especially among young voters who are practical and non-ideological - the foundation of a movement that will ultimately be transpartisan.
It is noteworthy, how many high-profile Bernie supporters - Bill McKibben, Michael Moore, Sarah Silverman, and even Miley Cyrus - have come out in favor of Clinton. Mark Ash of Reader Supported News, one of Hillary's most consistent critics, recently wrote a column supporting her in the election.
Why? Perhaps as people in the public eye, they have a more realistic view of what any progressive or for that matter anyone with progressive leanings might be up against. Armchair radicals in deep blue enclaves could imagine that Bernie could become president, snap his fingers, and just like that the TPP or fracking or even GMOs would go away. Bernie understands that the changes we seek require millions and millions of people on the ground and aligned so that a politician who attempts even to reform corporatism (let alone transform it) has the necessary "cover" to deal with the pushback.
While some Bernie supporters have fallen in with the "crooked Hillary" meme, most are hard-pressed to come up with specific examples. The entire anti-Hillary campaign has involved slinging spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Remember Hillary's health crisis? Probably not. As soon as she stood up to and showed up Donald in the first debate, that was the end of that conversation. Period.
On the other hand, Donald's transgressions are legion and well documented. Here is an article from New York Magazine comparing the two. Please check it out. It will restore perspective.
On Tuesday, I was on a conference call with Michael Moore that transformed my view, and fired up my missionary zeal. As you may know, Michael recently filmed a live performance in Clinton County (but Trump country), Ohio called Michael Moore in Trump Land where he simultaneously spoofs and honors Trump supporters. He acknowledges that the neoliberal Democrats - with Hillary as their poster child - essentially ignored the white working class voters, who now have landed in the Trump camp by default. He has written about this extensively this year and long ago warned that Trump was on his way to victory because the Democratic Party was so out of touch with these people.
In the call, Michael Moore made several key points:
- Conservative voters were falling into line behind Trump, despite their misgivings
This most significantly included the Millennials who came out strong for Bernie, but feel discouraged because he lost the primaries ... to this group he said, "You have the power in your hands!"
Most importantly, go out and volunteer. Make calls. Call your friends to make sure they plan to vote, and have them call others. Drive those who otherwise couldn't make it to the polls. On November 9th, whatever the outcome, you want to be able to say, "I did all that I could to stand up for my values, and our future."
Finally, the stick and the carrot. The "stick" is, consider that a Trump Presidency will bring Republicans to power in the White House, two houses of Congress, and consequently the Supreme Court. That means:
- Citizens United and pay to play government is empowered for another generation
And the carrot? There is a burgeoning progressive Berniecrat movement that only grows as (according to Michael Moore) 3 million new voters are added each year. Instead of being outsiders, Berniecrats are inside the party, growing and making the Democratic Party our new first party. This means:
- Progressives can hold Hillary to her promise to repeal Citizens United
These benefits are only possible if we activate ourselves to make this simple choice for our future next Tuesday, and then stay active -- and join and support Bernie's movement. Let's behave like the majority we really are, vote strategically and celebrate OUR victory next week.
If you felt the Bern, now is the time to feel the warmth returning to your heart as perspective returns to your mind. Contact friends and family and make sure they are voting. I'm going to be fully active between now and then, and here are some resources for you to use as well.
Check out Democracy for America working with Michael Moore, and contact voters on their behalf.
Contact MoveOn to volunteer to contact prospective voters in swing states.
Speaking of Millennials, this is the group who were the most turned on by Bernie, and
the most turned off to what they perceive as "lesser evil voting". The important distinction to share here is that voting for Hillary and creating a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress is the necessary NEXT STEP in creating the lasting change Bernie has inspired.
May love and sanity prevail, and may the best (wo)man win on our behalf.
* Thank you Caroline Casey for this pertinent phrase. She suggested some years ago that we replace "environmentalist" with "sane reverent person" and I am extending the definition to apply to anyone seeking to put sanity and the sacred back at the center of the public realm.