Let me start by saying this. You accomplished a whole lot more than anyone would have thought. You pushed the Democratic Party back to the left, closer to where it belongs. A year ago, nobody would have anticipated as Progressive a Platform as we have this year.Of course, that Platform is as useless as the paper it’s written on if the Republicans win this election.
Next, let me say this. If you wish to maintain your claim to be a Democrat (or Progressive or Liberal), you have to realize something. What you want, is what the rest of us want! We all want to see a $15 Minimum Wage, Universal Health Care, Free Tuition, and so much more. The biggest difference between you and “Mainstream” Democrats is the pace at which you want these things to happen.
I get it. Bernie got you excited at the prospects of instantaneous and sudden change. Of taking back a political system that traditionally disregards and marginalizes young voters. Unfortunately, the more “experienced” of us realize one ugly truth; Change does not come overnight. The things we are talking about disrupting are entrenched systems in our democracy/lives, and these corporations wield tons of power and influence among the decision makers. Basically, they are not going to roll over and give up easily. Our system is even structured to prevent sudden, disruptive change. Remember, the President can set the tone and drive the discussion, but in the end, it’s still the legislators who have to pass the laws. Then the courts have to agree with them.
Let’s look to our own recent past of 2010. You may or may not remember the herculean effort to pass the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Was it all that most Liberals wanted, no, of course not. But it was a far sight better than what existed. If you remember, the Insurance companies didn’t play fair, and had to be dragged into submission. They poured millions of dollars into opposition of the Law. In the end, because of compromise and sheer determination, we got something passed. Not everything we wanted, but something.
Now, at some point in the future, we’ll try at it again. We may not get into the end zone that time, but I’m sure we’ll move the ball further down the field.
By comparison, the philosophy you are embracing, says that what we should have done was scrap Obamacare, because it wasn’t everything we wanted. Politics, money, and the media shaping public opinion conspired against us, so we should find a way to “hurt” the system. But we did the right thing then, and moved the ball closer to the goal, we didn’t abandon the game, take our ball and go home, or go play in another game. Remember a forfeit is still a loss.
Fast forward to today. I understand, you had your heart set on Bernie. I, too, would have liked to see what he could have done given the chance. But he lost! By hook or by crook (unlikely in my view by crook). He even stood up in front of God and Country, and said it himself. Now, should I just not vote for the Green Party (or Libertarian, or the opposition Republican) Candidate just because I’m angry and disappointed?
I posed this question on my Facebook Page earlier:
Question of the day; If you count yourself among Bernie Sanders supporters, and Bernie himself is telling you to vote for Hillary, but you plan on voting for Trump, Stein or Johnson as a “protest” vote, are you still, technically, a Bernie supporter?
Only you, I guess, can answer that question.
I’m not going to get into how bad a human being, much less a candidate that Donald Trump is. I’m sure you realize that he is unqualified, not motivated by wanting to “help” anyone but himself, and quite frankly dangerous of a candidate he is. I am simply going to assume we basically agree on that.
But if you plan on voting for him anyways (or not voting, or casting a ballot that might help him win) then realize this. Generally, most elections boil down to two people who are ideologically opposed, but are usually equally capable of running the country. (even Bush Jr. to a point). If you’re on the losing side, you generally endure, motivate people, support your cause, elect someone else and fix the damage in 4 or 8 years. This time, however, it’s different. They are never “basically the same.” Having that as an opinion is incredibly oversimplifying the issues.
The Republican Nominee will likely cause irreparable damage to the country, whether he serves 4 or 8 years. His presence will allow Right Wing Ideologues to run rampant passing regressive laws. his personal agenda will cause him to make decisions that harm the nation. The cause of Progressives and Liberals will be set back 50 or more years.
It’s not just Democrats saying that. You would expect that. However, a large number of Republicans are saying it too. Why else do you think, neither of the Bush Presidents ever planned on attending their convention in Cleveland to support his Nomination?
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of you taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and assessing the entire picture. If not for progressive causes, then think of yourself. If Trump wins, are you likely to see Tuition Free college, Universal Health Care, or keep what Civil Rights we’ve won, in your or your kids lifetimes? You might get a small taste of satisfaction, feel good that you “stuck it to the system,” or even impress your peers. But in exchange for that minute amount of satisfaction, have you thought of the thousands of other lives and lifestyles that will be affected.
I’m sure you’re wondering how your one vote makes that big a difference. Well, if enough people agree with you, and seek that same satisfaction, then we wind up with President Trump! It is really, that simple. For example, a little over 500 votes in Florida decided the 2000 election. What did we get out of that, a recession, housing crisis, two wars, etc. What would we get from a Trump Presidency?
Now, if you could care less, and are hell bent on “Berning the whole thing down!” then there’s not much that can be said to you. But if you’re reasonable, and not heartless, and intelligent, then I trust you’ll think about what I’ve said here. It might be you and your buddies vote that can make the difference between moving the ball towards another First Down, or giving the other team an “Interception,” and losing ground, so when (and if) we finally get it back, we wind up fighting back through the same ground twice!
PS: If you read this, and still are considering NOT voting for the Democrat, do this: Find your gay relative, gay friend, Muslim friend or relative, any minority (especially black or Mexican), disabled people, or anyone else whose rights could be affected by a Trump Administration. Go to them and ask if they are OK with possibly losing what rights they have, as long as you get a good feeling by voting against the “Non-Bernie (Corporate or whatever term you want to use) Democrat. If they are O.K. with you getting your “revenge” over the system because of some e-mails, or perceived betrayal by a Party that, quite frankly, your candidate wasn’t a member of (until he ran for President), and will not return to the Senate as?
If you can do this O.K., then by all means, vote your conscience. Just do not expect a lot of sympathy when the Buyer’s Remorse kicks in in January.
Image Credits: Various.