I still love Bernie and will not change my profile picture on Facebook or Twitter or even here on Medium. Why do I still love him despite his endorsement of Wall Street’s darling? Because he woke me up.
Look, I’ve donated about 800 bucks to his campaign and worked tirelessly to promote him. I’m bummed too.<figure>MAN UNDER DURESS: This doesn’t look to me to be someone who truly wants to support the FBI-lying, corporate nominee. Who knows the pressures he was under?</figure>
But for too long I had been on edge and “pissy,” explaining to friends that I knew our election system was rigged and that our “representatives” didn’t give a shit about us. But I couldn’t quite express my frustration in a meaningful way to convince others of my looming sense of doom and to prompt them to want to do better. I was vague, unfocused, so I was easily dismissed.
Then Bernie came on the national stage. Finally, I had someone who expressed in a succinct and knowledgeable way what I had only possessed as an instinct. He educated me on the horrors of of our criminal justice system, income inequality, how corporate America was robbing us all of precious tax dollars, and how our “leaders” spent a majority of their time cozying up to fat cat donors rather than representing us.
I suddenly could inform/argue with colleagues and friends using statistics, studies, candidate voting records, and best of all, I learned to apply this newfound information to personal situations. For example, my union just agreed to another pay freeze. In the 13 years I’ve been a public school teacher, I’ve never had a cost of living increase. Not once.
But fellow teachers now applaud a contract in which our health insurance is substandard, though we will be paying more for it, and our pay is not decreased. Think about that. We all have become content with mediocrity, and we smile that the boss didn’t take more. Pathetic.
I have worked in a school district in which the salary I am receiving has been $11,000 less per year for the last six years than what I was initially told I would receive when I first signed a contract. And I’m supposed to go, “Yeah!”
The problem is, too many of my fellow teachers do. That’s what we’ve become in this country….wage slaves who are relieved when we are given the crumbs of what the overpaid bosses say we are worth. I’ve lost $66,000 in income so far, and that amount will only increase to disgusting levels for every year I continue to teach.
But many of my fellow teachers would tell me to shut up. It could be worse.
And it could be. I realize that. But that is exactly the problem. We have low expectations of our employers while they pile on more work. Bernie has often railed against how many hours Americans work for substandard wages, and he is correct.
Meanwhile, Congress works about 115 days a year at $174,000 apiece. Talk about overpaid!
I love my country but hate my government. If anyone tells me to move, all I ask is for is the funds. Put up or shut up. I’m poor despite working over 30 years full-time and having a master’s degree. I’m in student loan hell despite never being unemployed and making every payment.
But I’m not Libertarian. I believe the government should do good by citizens by using OUR tax dollars for projects like infrastructure and social programs, not corporate welfare. They believe in less government. I don’t, especially since we are paying the taxes anyway.
So, here is my thinking. I may write-in Bernie, or vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who agrees with much of Bernie’s platform (although I doubt she could get enough votes to win), or Donald Trump. Yes, Trump.
Sure, he is an anti-Muslim, build-a-wall-against-Mexicans buffoon. But his actual proposals will get little traction. I believe that many of us are awakened enough to elect Progressives (not necessarily Democrats) down ticket, so his governance will go nowhere.
Sure, this country would be embarrassed for a while, but that’s nothing new. Remember, we lived through George W. Bush.
I fear that Hillary will get elected if Berner votes are divided among Stein and write-ins for Bernie. I certainly don’t want that on my conscience.
Plus, I am convinced Trump won’t be in office for a second term. There are too many Progressives now — Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard — who would give him a run for his money. Beside, Trump doesn’t want to actually do the work. He often divides the labor among lower managers, and I expect no different with him as President.
Besides, I believe Trump would bring on the Political Revolution a lot quicker. If Hillary were elected, she would crush the Progressive movement and we would have eight years of Congressional hearings and scandals with her in the Oval Office. I’m tired of gridlock (Remember Bill?) Nothing will get done, and that serves the 1 percent quite nicely. But the rest of us will continue to suffer.
So, people are asking who I will vote for now? I haven’t decided 100 percent. But I do know it will never be Hillary. That’s where her supporters are in error. They wrongly believe that Bernie supporters are all Democrats. We aren’t. We are Independents, Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, and people who have just had enough of the bullshit.
We are a huge voting bloc who think for ourselves. Bernie may say he wants us to vote for her, but that doesn’t sway me nor does it mean that I disrespect Bernie. He always said he expects his voters to think for themselves, and we shall, to the chagrin of Hillary supporters.
To expect us to vote for Madame Secretary out of fear for Trump is just naive and short-sighted. We’re in it for the long hall. I need more than just fearmongering to get me to support a candidate. The bar has been raised, and I expect candidates to meet it or forego my vote.
We want fundamental change to our political system, something Hillary is loathe to do since she is entrenched in it.
So Berners, onward to Philly. It’s not about him. It’s about us. Yes, I know we are disappointed we won’t have a contested convention like he promised. But we also don’t know the pressure he’s been under. I dare to question if he has a friend left in Washington due to his fierce challenging of the status quo.
We need to push forward the issues with which he has awoken us.
And I, for one, am not willing to give up.