If you are a berner like me, I know what you are probably thinking, reading that title makes you sick to your stomach. When Bernie Sanders told us he was endorsing Hillary Clinton we cried, we got angry and we wanted her in jail. We knew she undermined our voice and the very democracy we profess to be — the very foundation of our country. We got hurt by the whole thing. We have gone through so much together, like a family grieving a loss. We are all going through the stages of grief at different rates, in our own ways and just like a bunch of siblings this grief manifests itself differently in each of us.
No one person can claim to define what a “true” progressive truly is.
Just like sexuality or any other ideology, progressivism is a spectrum. That’s because few progressives like to be told what to do. Bernie was a unique unifier that created a platform that was neutral enough to capture all of us. Now that he has “sold out to the establishment” as many of my “siblings” in this mourning process put it, we have all taken separate paths and staying united as a powerful front has become a challenge. Because of it, I think we are losing. So what we can do to keep moving forward without ignoring each other’s process, each other’s struggles, and work for the very things that brought us all together?
Let’s listen to Hillary, well sorta…
“Stronger Together.” Excuse me while I clean my mouth to clean the taste of vomit after writing that. No, I am not endorsing her or supporting her. I actually despise her, but as a marketer I appreciate her slogan. It’s tasteless because we know what she did, we know what she really means, we know who she is and we don’t buy it. How about we appropriate the sentiment though? It’s our right after all, she took something from us so let’s take something back.
The establishment wins when we walk away from each other and let them divide us once more. Divide and conquer, remember?
The problem is that we think we know how that should be done. We believe it so passionately and absolutely, we are willing to fight each other in the process. Some of the words we type to each other across social media are downright hurtful and mean. I heard of someone throwing out a fellow progressive in a meeting for simply considering voting for Trump without even hearing them out at all. We are literally hurting each other and in the process we are hurting this movement. Remember, it’s not ME, it’s US! Being a united front is effin hard and coming together towards our common goals is messy AF but I challenge all of you to do it, to find a way to stick together so we can in fact be stronger. People are now sticking to party lines, Green, Democrat, Republican, who cares about the labels? We are all progressives and if a given candidate that is TRULY progressive is in another camp we need to do everything to get them elected.
Family loves unconditionally…
We are brothers and sisters in this struggle, we have a lot of work to do to make this country whole for once, allowing division will only hinder that. It’s what makes us look and sound like the oppressors we are trying to bring down. If we are a grieving family we must do what functional families do. We must realize we are diverse. Heck, our very fight is to protect diversity right? So it starts at home. If we are to overcome the evils that ruin our democracy, that silence us, that destroy the fabric of what makes us great, that threatens progress and growth, we need to lead by example. Undecided people that differ from us don’t respect us because they see us as “lazy, disorganized, divided, caddy and immature,” we are “basement dwellers”. We know this isn’t true, many of us work in organizations who have accomplished a lot, some of us consider ourselves hard-working in this revolution, and most of us want nothing but to think we have all the answers. The truth is, in order to move forward we have to get MORE organized, work HARDER, stop arguing with each other and MATURE this movement. We are family and in it we have elders we should listen to and young people that can inspire us for the future. Overall we should see the best in each other and find that unconditional love for each other that will help us grow stronger and overcome!
Let me quote something that may bring some perspective: “We want people to be idealistic. We want them to set big goals. But to take what we can achieve now and try to present them as bigger goals.” Guess who said that? Yup, I guess I’m such a sellout I quoted her yet again. Why would I do that? Because I am trying to listen, trying to grow and learn even from my enemy because I think that will help me fight her harder no matter where she ends up this November. This was a part of the “Basement Dweller” speech and I think she may be right about one thing. We have to focus on the end goal and respect the process and the journey. Unless we are like the far right, whom are willing to take up LITERAL arms to fight tyranny, we must understand that this change may have to be incremental. We disagree on the path, some of us think we should fight for a third party, some believe we need to revolutionize the democratic party, some of think we should help Trump win to stick it to the system and ensure the establishment comes crumbling down. Depending on what you believe, one of those options sound really stupid to you. However, these are our brethren speaking and no matter what we are doing this November, we need to put our movement before EVERYTHING and find what unites us instead of what divides us. If I present a “moderate” case to you today, it is my attempts to plea to you to stick to your ideals while agreeing that we are different but have the potential to join forces to win.
Being completely uncompromising demolishes the very basis of democracy. Every side deserves a listen from a place of tolerance.
Democracy is letting EVERYONE have a voice. If we want a REAL democracy we need to start by exercising it within our own ranks. If someone shifts from your uncompromising beliefs don’t dismiss them immediately, but try to find the common ground and find ways to work together instead. I am personally finding this balance, in my attempt to help this happen I tend to bark at those who are acting uncompromising. I am learning and hoping we find ways to organize and mobilize ALL progressives towards our common goals.
Progressive snobbery will serve nothing and no one.
There shouldn’t be a competition for who’s most progressive. That’s not how family works. Let’s try to find ways of uniting for the social justice causes we ALL care about spite our differences. This movement needs to be heavy handed and filled with voices. I need yours and you need mine.
If you stuck around to read this until the end, there’s hope that we can do that. For the record, I haven’t yet decided what I am doing in November even though I voted Jill in the past. Depending on whom I am speaking to about this election, I try to be the devil’s advocate, to help me find an answer to what I should do on November 8. What do you think, can we pull “together” off?