First off, I want to make one thing clear. I like Bernie Sanders. I love most of his ideas. He has quietly been a hero of mine for years with his fierce independence and democratic socialist leanings. I like Bernie Sanders. I want to live in the country he is campaigning for. I want single payer healthcare and free college for all and to dismantle the influence of big money in politics and to regulate Wall Street banks and to strengthen the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. I would love to live in a country where Bernie Sanders could both win a national election and jumpstart the political capital to elect sufficient similarly progressive Senators and Representatives to allow him to actually get any of this legislative agenda passed. I want to live in that country.
But I don’t.
I do not live in that country. My fellow US residents, we do not live in that country. There are not enough people in this country who want to live there. There are too many people who want to live in the country that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump imagine. And quite possibly, there are too many people like me who cannot bring themselves to believe that it is possible and so will be voting for Hillary Clinton. I might be part of the problem. But I am okay with that.
I am okay with that for a lot of reasons, most markedly, that I like Hillary Clinton too. She is smart and accomplished and even in the face of what must feel like overwhelming criticism on all sides, she is able to build coalitions and get things done. She is a pragmatic choice, to be sure, but I am a fan of pragmatism, particularly when I am actually happy with the possibility of the outcome.
I admit, as well, that Bernie’s agenda, or at least the means to get there, kind of scares me. It scares me because I really love the Constitution. I think it is an amazing document that is both flexible and firm and that it is an excellent skeletal system for a government that is expressly designed not to put too much power in any single place. It is both a reaction to monarchy and a hope for balance and teamwork. Unfortunately, it is also manipulatable in its manner of representation, which means that there are places where the will of the people is specifically and intentionally manipulated to be more or less powerful based on the people pulling the strings. So we have gerrymandering and redistricting and other mechanisms by which some voices are louder – indeed more equal – than others.
Because of this, even if a majority of voters agree with Bernie Sanders’ ideals, I don’t think it is possible for him to do what he wants to do without an actual real life revolution – as opposed to a peaceful political one – which involves gutting the Constitutional separation of powers. And that scares me because that’s what they would have to do as well – those folks on the other side who think that Donald Trump will make us safe and that the US is a Christian Nation and who want to undo all of the good of the past 50 years of social justice and civil rights. Revolution should be a scary concept. It is not something that we should take lightly, because the problem with a revolution is that you can lose. As Ben Sweatervest put it on Facebook, “Revolutions are great for people that would survive them without much harm.”
Even putting aside all of that, and ignoring my inner pedant that questions why someone who has never run for office as a Democrat is running hard for that party’s presidential nomination, I just plain like Hillary. I disagree with parts of both their platforms – yes, Hillary is more hawkish than I’d like (although maybe not has hawkish as she is portrayed), Bernie too prone to legitimize pseudoscience. Beyond that, I find Hillary Clinton inspiring and effective and someone I can relate to. I think that she will make an amazing President. And for the record, if Sanders wins the primary, I will #FeelTheBern with the best of them, but for now, #ImWithHer.
Featured image courtesy Hillary for America.
Right there with you. And also — if you think of electing the president as hiring someone to do a demanding job… Well, I can’t think of anyone with more impressive qualifications for that job than Hillary Clinton. Secretary of State, Senator, and former White House resident and member of the president’s staff. Talk about a record of demonstrated competence. I also worry a bit about her hawkishness/interventionism. But I don’t believe she is bloodthirsty. I have never heard her put down Mexicans or Muslims or non-Americans in general. I have never heard her resort to jingoism or xenophobia or racism…
I have been reading part of her book “Hard Choices,” and I am somewhat persuaded by her excuse for voting for the Iraq War. Here is a quote: “I voted to authorize military action in Iraq if the diplomatic efforts, meaning the UN weapons inspections, failed.” (Emphasis mine.) She goes on, “Bush later asserted that the resolution gave him the sole authority to decide when the clock had run out on weapons inspections. On March 20, 2003, he decided that it had, and he launched the war, with the UN weapons inspectors pleading for just a few more weeks to finish the job. Over the years that followed, many Senators came to wish they had voted against that resolution. I was one of them. As the war dragged on,with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake became more painful.”
That has the ring of truth to me, but I can see where it’s hard to fit in a sound bite. Do people even remember that there ever were weapons inspectors, these days? I’ve wondered for years why so many Democrats “voted for the war.” It makes more sense if they thought they were voting to give the president authorization to make credible threats. But he just skipped the “making threats” part and moved straight to shooting people. I don’t know if I would have believed anyone would do that, if you had asked me before March 20, 2003…