The Massive Internal Conflict for Berniecrats Like Me

Can the Democratic Party be more progressive? Of course we can! We’re working on it.

“Love Trumps Hate” signs passed around the hall, acknowledging one of Bernie Sanders’ primary messages.

Bernie sign

And this one. I didn’t get a picture of the Love Trumps Hate sign they shoved in my hand.

It was nice to hear that there has been more progress on the party platform since the unfortunate reports from this weekend and previous weeks.

Take back the Senate. Elect progressive leaders up and down the ballot. I still have my doubts about how progressive a Hillary CLinton White House can be, but I know there’s ZERO change of a progressive White House if her opponent wins. I do know that we can elect more progressives to Congress, to state legislatures, and to local governments…all of which will make it harder and harder for whoever sits in the White House to keep us down.

$15 per hour COAST TO COAST. Yes, this needs to happen, even in rural areas. Why? Because it will lift up small local economies by allowing the residents to spend more money in their communities.

We are the party of FDR, JFK, MLK, Shirley Chisholm, and Barack Obama.

But our Democratic Party is also ridiculously corrupt. If we could have a vote of No Confidence, I would be shouting my head off for it.

Vote of No Confidence in the Star Wars universe

I was in the hall for the first night of the Democratic National Convention, and it was really easy to get swept up in the moment. The speakers were all saying the things I wanted to hear, things I longed to hear…and surprisingly, things I’ve heard in person twice…at Bernie Sanders rallies.

The speakers on Monday night spoke of progressive values and policy positions that have been part of Bernie Sanders’ stump speech for over a year…but they were now appended with the phrase “Hillary Clinton believes that…”

I could get behind everything they were saying, if only we could replace Hillary’s name with Bernie’s. Or, to keep the “I’m With Her” part true, sub in Elizabeth Warren or Nina Turner. No matter how many times people say it, I cannot accept Hillary Clinton as a “progressive.” I don’t believe she truly stands for all of these progressive values being trumpeted the night that Bernie Sanders addressed the Democratic National Convention. I believe the only way to hold her accountable for this progressive lip service is to keep pushing, to call her out when she balks at real change – and for me – to stop short of saying #ImWithHer. Because I’m not with her.

But.

The alternative is unconscionable. Michelle Obama said it last night…our kids are watching. We cannot allow a man who shouts hateful rhetoric against pretty much every minority group out there to become more than just a dangerous presidential candidate.

I don’t like Hillary Clinton or the rich white privilege she represents. She has a huge blind spot when it comes to working class struggles, and that is the basis for the laundry list of problems I have with her that I’m not going to list here.

But if I want to change the Democratic Party from within, I know we have to start with getting more progressive elected all the way down the ballot. And that will require electing as many Democrats as we can in November in order to end the Congressional gridlock caused by Republican obstructionists. We have to work with the people who are running this year, progressive Dem or not, and look to the future to fine tune our platform, push for real change, and work with organizations like Brand New Congress to bring true progressive candidates to challenge Establishment Democrats in primary battles.

I cannot actively campaign for Clinton/Kaine, because my heart is not into supporting either of them. But I can support the #VoteBlue efforts in a general sense. Bernie Sanders is sticking with the Democratic Party to change it from the inside. He cannot bring change from inside the White House, no matter how much many of us wish he could, but he will continue to be a strong voice in the Senate.

And he has inspired thousands of progressives to run for public office – from school board to Congress – and MILLIONS of progressives to exercise their right to vote who may have otherwise stayed home due to disillusionment with the system. Many of my fellow Berniecrats are still feeling rather disillusioned by the system, but we have to keep our eyes on the prize. The progressive movement needs to keep moving. Hillary is a setback, but she’s one who has shown she’s willing to follow which way the wind blows. Let’s keep this wind blowing up a storm. Fight for what we believe in. Demand better from our party and all of our elected officials.

Our options for 2016 have been limited. We may have held out for a miracle at convention, but it didn’t happen. Bernie is supporting Hillary to defeat Trump. I trust that he has more of a plan than that to continue what he started. I look forward to seeing what he has in store.

To my fellow Berniecrats, we may still need time to grieve. Despite what Hillary supporters have been telling us, that we just need to get over it, we suffered a real loss that touched our core values and desires. Despite what the media told us, we weren’t crazy conspiracy theorists, there really was collusion to get Hillary named the nominee. Don’t wait for apologies from every who gaslighted us; many of them look at the evidence and still think it’s no big deal. Those apologies are not coming. Some of those betrayals cut more deeply than others. We have to keep moving forward while accepting that some people will never get it, why we fought for Bernie, believed in Bernie, and feel a truly personal loss over the nomination.

I’m not going to tell any of my fellow Berniecrats that they have to vote for Hillary to defeat Trump, because fear-mongering has always been something that makes us bristle. I will ask people not to vote for Trump, and to consider the importance of your vote especially if you live in a swing state where your vote could mean the difference between Blue and Red in the White House…and I will ask everyone to show up to vote even if you decide to abstain from choosing a presidential candidate. Vote for the other races on the ballot, though. We can make a real difference there.

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Copyright 2016 MOMocrats.com

Author: Christina Gleason

Christina Gleason is a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. She is also a Corporate Neurodiversity Consultant, offering video courses and consulting to businesses who employ people with autism and other neurodivergent conditions. Her personal blog can be found at WELL, in THIS House.

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