By Dr. Michael Flanagan
In Penn’s fair city, calm and grave hangs the old bell which rings no more for freedom sleeps on freedom’s shore – Caroline Weston, 1849
This is a sign hung by the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia I saw Tuesday, July 26th — the same night I had press credentials for the DNC, to be able to blog in the press tent for Tuesday’s roll call vote. Instead, I sat in the shadow of Independence Hall, next to the Liberty Bell watching the vote on the MSNBC screen with a good mix of Hillary and Bernie supporters, cheering along with the delegates voting three miles away.
While I was in the Wells Fargo Center last night, I saw lots of other signs. They were distributed regularly throughout the night. They passed out “Stronger Together” signs. I did not take one. They told us to hold them up and clap when Paul Simon finished playing Bridge Over Troubled Water. I just clapped. Then they passed out Michele Obama signs on a stick. I was a little confused about that. We were told to keep the signs down, until instructed to clap and wave them. After all that is what trained pets do, right? Sit, stand, clap and wave on demand. The good news was apparently we were the usher’s “best section”. They passed out “I’m With Her” signs, then other signs with the new co-opted slogan “She’s With Us” I didn’t take those either. They finally passed out Bernie signs. That one I kept.
I was glad to be there Monday night, to hear Bernie Sanders’ speech. But I was sad for myself, my daughter and this country. The drunk Hillary supporting delegate sitting in front of me was not sad, he was really getting into it. He was also acting like an ass, but that is besides the point. Bernie is a stand up guy, he ran a historic campaign and tipped the scales towards revolution, but he was forced to concede to a rigged system. The movement for change that he spearheaded was dashed upon the rocks of corruption that we all could see from the shore. We saw the impending doom, but we could not steer our course away. We had a chance, but it was stolen at every turn. It happened right before our eyes but it was impossible to stop. When the politicians, the bankers and media interests are against the people, it is far from a fair election. While the people take to the streets, they laugh in their corporate boxes.
It was bittersweet to listen to Elizabeth Warren, considering how great she was in my eyes, and how far she has fallen. This primary has destroyed many reputations that will not soon be repaired. She began her remarks, like many others during the convention, calling Bernie Sanders her friend. They took Bernie’s name and foisted false platitudes about how he energized the voters. Elizabeth Warren and others called him their friend. But when Bernie needed friends to step up, they sat down. In my neighborhood, we take that as a sign as well. A sign of a fake friend. As I left after Bernie’s speech, I thought: we wanted a revolution, but all I got was this sign.