An Open Letter To All Of Our Passionate Bernie Sanders Supporters
I’m a Clinton supporter, but here in Portland, Maine, I live amongst mostly Bernie supporters, including my own wife. On this site, we are largely Clinton supporters, but several of our most beloved writers and readers are Bernie supporters. It’s been a weird time. Politics is a touchy subject. We all agree that Trump shouldn’t be the President of the United States, but we’re still fighting amongst ourselves about the direction we should be taking our party.
It’s particularly weird because I agree with almost everything my Bernie-loving friends say: Yes, we should have a $15 minimum wage! Yes, college tuition should be more affordable! No, we shouldn’t be fracking, and yes, Wall Street is killing us, and the wealth gap is inexcusable!
I think that, like a lot of Hillary supporters, our party should swing more to the left, and given the unpopularity of Donald Trump right now, it’s a great opportunity to do so. I feel like this is our chance to be pushy progressives, but then again, I don’t want to get greedy. I don’t want to be so pushy about it that we end up alienating our centrists and giving the Presidency to a mad man. I also don’t want to break the system in order to fix it, because breaking the system might have long-lasting effects on not only me, but my kids.
Also, I am super proud to have President Obama as our commander-in-chief right now, and I don’t want to say to my children that a repugnant man will soon be running our country.
“Why is a repugnant man our President, Daddy? I thought all Presidents were great!”
“I don’t know, sweetheart. I guess more people care about themselves than they care about the country. It’s confusing. I’m sorry. It’s a scary time.”
It’s too early to breed cynicism into them.
More than anything, however, I just want to be friends with you Bernie supporters again. What can we do to make that happen? I’m sorry that Clinton was not your first choice. I’m sorry that you disagree with a lot of her policies. I disagree with some of her policies, too, but I sincerely believe that she’s the best person to run this country, and that she’ll be a really good, really strong president. I hope so, anyway.
I’m scared of the alternative. Like, really, honestly scared, like scared that I’m going to one day have to explain to my kids why I’m on a Government Watch list because I bad-mouthed the President. I feel like if we could all be friends again on the Democratic side, we could ensure that this man who hates minorities, gays, and women doesn’t end up the leader of the free world.
I honestly feel like the man’s policies would be detrimental to our everyday lives.
For example, every summer in my home, two Israeli women come and stay with us for a few weeks while they work as counselors at my son’s Jewish summer camp. It’s been an amazing experience for our family to be exposed to another culture and another language. After the kids go to sleep, my wife will often spend hours talking to the Israelis about the difference in politics, culture, food, etc. There’s a lot wrong with our country right now, but when we’re offering comparisons, it’s cool to be able to boast about our President. He’s a rock star! If Trump is elected, we won’t be able to express any pride in our leadership. I’m not only worried about being embarrassed and having to explain how we let this happen, I’m worried that these Israelis won’t even be able to come into our country anymore because of Trump’s policies. That’s a terrifying potential reality.
Anyway, I don’t want to argue with Bernie supporters about our differences anymore. We have a lot in common. Those are the things that I’m interested in. I know that your candidate hasn’t really dropped out yet, and I know that he hasn’t officially endorsed Hillary Clinton, either. That’s OK! You guys can continue to support him, and you should. In fact, I will support Bernie in his efforts to transform the party, too, because I would love to have a more progressive party.
You can support Bernie and still vote for Hillary! They’re not mutually exclusive anymore. In fact, if Hillary wins, we have a better chance in this country of pushing Bernie’s agenda. I know you don’t think that Hillary is interested in that, but we are. There aren’t any Clinton supporters who are thinking, “Oh, we really should stop at a $12 minimum wage,” or “we should reduce the cost of college, but not eliminate it.” We’re just cautious in our approach. We don’t want to push too hard too fast and alienate anyone. We want to bring as many people along as possible.
I dunno, guys. I don’t mind it when Trump supporters yell at us, because fuck them. But it smarts a little to be called out by progressives for believing in a woman who we genuinely feel has a better chance to advance our agenda through a bitter, polarized electorate and a divided Congress. It doesn’t mean we don’t also believe in Bernie’s principles — we do, we really, really do! — it just means we’re a little more cautious and maybe a little less brazen about it than Bernie supporters.
What I’m saying is: Can we just skip to the hug now? Cause I really want to get to the hugging part. Let’s shake hands. Let’s be friends. Let’s ensure that Trump is not elected, and work together to push Clinton to enact legislation that will better benefit all of us.
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