At 8:30 PM Eastern tonight, Thursday, June 16th, Bernie Sanders will hold an online town hall. Two days after the final Democratic primary vote; and ten days after the Associated Press, after holding secret phone calls with unidentified Democratic party officials, declared Clinton the Democratic nominee.
It’s hard not to be apprehensive. Is Bernie throwing in the towel? Will he, like our other Progressive scion Elizabeth Warren, endorse Clinton? He’s said he’ll do everything in his power to stop Trump; given how much better he polls against Trump, and all the myriad reasons why that makes sense, I've taken him to mean he'll fight tooth and nail for the nomination. He’s also said he’ll support the Democratic nominee, and wouldn't run as a spoiler.
Right now, like all of you, I am angry and disgusted at the way the process has unfolded. From media coverage that refused to focus on issues, and could not tear itself away from scandal; to blatant favoratism from once-great institutions; to shameless disingenuousness and distortions from the Democratic establishment; to flawed, perhaps even rigged primaries in many states – it’s been gutwrenching.
To say nothing of the sheer, brazen dishonesty of the Clinton campaign and her surrogates directed not just toward Sanders, but toward his supporters as well. They have been called sexist, racist, naïve, foolish, selfish, and even violent.
Could you imagine the furor if even a hint of personal attack were leveled at Clinton’s supporters by Sanders or his surrogates?
The reason for this is simple: Sanders supporters have been, themselves, attacked, because the only way to slow down the mass movement that he has inspired was to make people ashamed to take part.
It’s sickening; and it’s disheartening.
Again, we know these things to be untrue; but as our frustration and anguish overflows, as our grief at the injustice done to the campaign threatens to overwhelm us, we are in danger of succumbing to anger – and of retroactively justifying their slander. This is, I think, deliberate; nowhere is that clearer than in the cell-phone video of Sen. Barbara Boxer blowing kisses to Sanders delegates at the Nevada Democratic convention, egging them on, trying to incite them to the violence she would later accuse them of, anyway. She failed; there was no violence. But that didn’t stop her from claiming that there was, or the media from repeating it.
This we cannot allow; we must be imacculate in our behavior and in our words. The quickest way for our revolution to fail is for us to give in to our entirely justified anger – and allow them to claim they were right about us, all along.
It’s not true; it’s nowhere near true. The Berners I’ve met exemplify the greatest, most aspirational, open-hearted side of humanity. Because Bernie’s revolution isn’t just about changing politics; it’s about changing how we see each other. It’s about learning to have faith in one another – and so, to have faith in our country again.
But now, it’s also about harnessing anger. That anger is fuel; that anger, at the sheer depths of the system’s corruption, is precisely what is required to change it.
The powers that be would like nothing better than to relegate this revolution to the pages of history as another Quixotic fringe movement; to be able, now and forevermore, to label all such efforts as capricious, doomed to failure. The corporations who count on apathy to give them free rein are terrified of what is happening – and rightly so. We aren’t going to stand for their behavior.
They’d love to convince future generations that such movements are made up of fools and losers – so that future generations don’t even want to try.
We can't let that happen.
It would be easy to think that a Sanders defeat could spell the death of the revolution. But here’s the truth: as powerful a figure as Bernie is, he’s said all along that it’s not about him. The revolution needs us, the American people, to stay involved; but the revolution will succeed whether Bernie is in the white house or not.
It would be easier if he is, it’s true; but as the man said, we choose to do these things "not because they ah easy, but because they ah hahd.”
If Bernie had waltzed to the white house, would we feel the same fire? Would we feel the same determination, if it weren’t motivated by such righteous indignation?
So get mad; stay mad; but do something effective with that anger. Don’t just use it to destroy; use it to build. Use it like fire, to harden your resolve. Use it like a hammer, to pound it into shape. There's work to be done.
I don’t know what Bernie’s going to say tonight; but I do know, that the revolution is here to stay. He’s not going anywhere; and neither are we.
Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks!