By Tim Anderson
Nov 16, 2015
Some of my progressive friends still refuse to support Bernie Sanders. They say he’s sleeping with the enemy by going for the Democratic Party nomination, and that he’s too soft on Israel and guns: he's not a woman; he's not black. They think he should be more pure, that the Democrats always acquiesce to the mainstream; that he’ll round up the left and deliver us to Hillary; that if he’s running well in the two party system he must have sold out like all the others did.
Most radicals probably haven’t heard much about Bernie because they haven’t lived in the North East, so their suspicion is understandable. But I lived near Bernie and I’ve heard tales of him for twenty five years. And Bernie is what he appears to be: A real radical to the bone who has a serious chance of becoming the most powerful person on earth and helping the movement win, as it must, for the sake of all life. This has never happened, and it may never happen again.
Once in awhile history moves surprisingly, shocking everyone. History is drafting us into a serendipitous love war. Dodging this draft is a privilege, a luxury that the poor and the biosphere can't afford for us to indulge in.
The left once believed in American democracy. Suffragettes were imprisoned and died for the vote. But we came by our cynicism honest. Many of us worked within the system plenty and tried to salvage it for years before it came to seem hopeless. Needing to volunteer for Bernie is hardly what we lefties expected, or could have predicted, but it's the hand we are dealt, it's the battle we are dropped in the middle of. If we refuse to fight, our purist, intellectual asses may stay safe, but the poor, the oppressed, and the climate will wither.
With our hard work the left can get Bernie elected. Without us, no way. If we sit this one out, we will get to sit around for four more years self-righteously whining about what a lying sell-out Hillary is, like Obama was, and watch helplessly as the US sheds the blood of the poor in stupid new wars for oil and power. And, soon, too soon, progressives will also get to watch helplessly as the biosphere heats up, dries up, and life itself blows away.
This is our love war. It’s ours to lose. It’s ours to win. This is the dream of the 1960’s coming true at the last minute. As bizarre as it is, as tacky, this is what we were born for. Sorry, but Tag, we’re it.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Editor's note: Since this article doesn't touch on every concern that folks on the left have expressed, here are a few more articles on the discussion of where the Sanders campaign fits within the larger movement of our long-term goals.
Tim Anderson is an activist in Seattle, WA and can be reached on Facebook.