Many of my closest friends know that I’m a Yuuuuge Beatles fan – few of you know that I’m also a huge fan of Tracy Chapman. You’re probably wondering by now how any of this has anything to do with the fact that #ImWithHer…
Well, if you’ve been following me over the past year you know that I’m one of Bernie Sanders most ardent supporters. I’ve given him hundreds of dollars in campaign contributions this election season – and I’m by no means wealthy. I campaigned for him, stood in rally lines for hours to see him, and even caucused for him in my home state of Washington. In what can only be defined as complete insanity, I continued giving Bernie money even after it became clear that he wasn’t going to win – I guess I’m just an eternal optimist. But in full transparency, my first campaign contribution of this election cycle went to Hillary Clinton… that was before I learned about Bernie Sanders – and I really wanted one of her cutesy rainbow bumper stickers – no candidate for President has ever campaigned for LGBT rights the way that Hillary has – can you blame me for wanting a sticker?
So you’re probably asking… “What do The Beatles, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton have in common!?”
Well, to understand the connection, you’ll first need a brief history lesson.
On March 17th of 1968, several thousand protestors marched to the American embassy in London where they violently clashed with police while protesting both capitalism and the Vietnam War. Many people at the time were actively calling for a revolution. They wanted change – the world had been in a perpetual state of war for nearly 13 years straight and before that the world had fought yet another war in Germany – one we all know too well.
In August of 1968, The Beatles, who were loved by millions of fans around the world released a song about the uprisings and they called it Revolution. The song went on to be a hit and peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Top 100, but not before pissing off many of their fans on the left. Many lefties called it “betrayal” and “a lamentable petty bourgeois cry of fear”.
Despite John Lennon’s feelings against war, he had yet to become anti-establishment and can be heard in the song singing “You say you want a revolution, We all want to change the world. But when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”
You see, Lennon was against war, against capitalism, and in all honesty, he wasn’t completely against a revolution – he just disagreed with the tactic of destroying things to get what you want – and in that regard, #ImWithHim.
Those protests continued on throughout the spring and summer of ’68 and later that year the United States agreed to begin gradually withdrawing their troops from Vietnam. They may not have gotten their revolution – but the people definitely succeeded in getting what they really wanted – an end to the war. They didn’t have to resort to destruction – they just had to let their collective voices be heard. Lennon was right all along.
When I first learned about Bernie Sanders, to be completely honest I was a naysayer. I thought to myself “oh, well would you look at that. There’s a socialist running to be President.” Just like Bernie, I have always considered myself to be somewhat socialist. But I thought for sure the democratic elite would put Bernie to bed long before Martin O’Malley – boy was I wrong!
History shows us that when faced with the possibility of an overthrow by outsiders, political elite almost always collude amongst themselves to suppress the uprising. As we now know thanks to Russian hackers, this election cycle was no different. There is clear evidence to support an argument that the DNC actively worked to delegitimize Bernie Sanders and the movement he built throughout the primary season. In their haste to delegitimize Bernie, the DNC disenfranchised millions of voters across this country and disenchanted millions of others.
Bernie brought his a-game – especially for a socialist! He tapped into a yearning in this country for substantive political and economic change that many of us have never seen. The changes that Bernie was calling for would have been the equivalent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. He campaigned on a $15 minimum wage, free college education for all, and promised a reinvestment in infrastructure like roads, bridges, and schools. He put forward a substantive argument for taxing the rich, giving back to the poor, and increasing social security instead of cutting it. To many, Bernie was a messiah. To me, he is a saint.
But the truth is, Bernie didn’t just come up short – he came up short by about 3 million votes. Sure, he probably could have won had the DNC not ousted millions of active democrats off of voter rolls and had they not denied his campaign access to his own voter database for nearly two weeks in the heat of the primary season, but that’s all water under the bridge now.
Right now we have 4 choices for President, 2 of whom have a legitimate chance of winning. One is named Hillary Clinton, and the other is named Donald Trump.
Sure, you could vote for anti-vaxxer Jill Stein (Green Party) who hasn’t a chance of winning – or you could vote for the pro-lgbt, pro-marijuana, pro-small government libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson who also hasn’t a chance of winning, but if you live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, or South Carolina, then this Bernie Sanders supporter is going to encourage you to cast your vote this November for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary may not be the candidate that you wanted to win the primary – trust me, she’s not my favorite candidate either! But the candidate you wanted is no longer a candidate for President. So you have five options – one who has a high likelihood of winning and could be pushed to support your ideals, another who also has a high likelihood of winning but would destroy everything you stand for, one who you mostly align with but hasn’t the slightest chance of winning, another you’ve been fooled into believing you align with (but if you dig a little deeper you probably don’t align with at all) who also hasn’t the slightest chance of winning, or lastly you could write in the candidate of your choice such as Bernie Sanders or Mickey Mouse – but that can only be defined as a protest vote because write-in Presidential candidates have even less a chance of winning than do third party candidates.
When I look at Hillary Clinton, I see an accomplished woman who I align with politically most of the time. Sure, she’s got flaws – but who doesn’t!? She campaigned for Barry Goldwater in her younger years, voted for the Iraq war, took millions of dollars from wall street bankers, was against same sex marriage until it was popular, has said she’d be willing to compromise on a woman’s right to choose, and there’s an argument to be made that while serving as Secretary of State she activity facilitated a military overthrow of the democratically elected President of Honduras. That said, Bernie moved her significantly to the left by showing her that nearly half of the democratic party wants a candidate to her left. In fact, we’ve seen time and time again that when pushed on certain issues Hillary’s been open to change and willing to evolve – and that’s a quality we need in a President. Someone who is willing to listen to others and take into account other people’s perspectives.
Bernie started something that no one – not democrats – nor republicans – nor any force in the world can stop. He started a revolution of American politics that will forever change the face of this nation. You see, a revolution doesn’t always mean destruction or instant change. In fact, most revolutions throughout history have resulted in decades of political instability – despite the fact that those who argued for them made brilliant cases for instant change. Take for instance, Mexico of 1910, or Tunisia, or Ukraine, or Thailand… All of these places are still dealing with the repercussions of actual political revolutions. This isn’t Bernie’s revolution – THIS IS OUR REVOLUTION! …and it’s just beginning!
Just because #ImWithHer doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit holding her feet to the fire to ensure that she fulfills the campaign promises that she’s made. Nor does it mean that I’m going to quit advocating for a more progressive government under a future Clinton administration. Those are things that any good democrat should want – and I implore you to continue pushing for those changes as well – regardless of who wins in November.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a man of my words. Back in April of 2015, I posted that “I will cast my vote for the most progressive democratic candidate in the primary and the democratic candidate in the general.” I voted for Bernie in the primary and I intend to keep my word this general election season.
The message that John Lennon was trying to get across in 1968 also applies today. Just because Hillary isn’t your preferred candidate, doesn’t mean that she can’t be pushed to support your ideals.
When Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton, his supporters cried foul. Many called him a “traitor” and said they felt “betrayed”. Like Lennon, you’ll probably call me a traitor too. I’ll hear cries of “betrayal” for weeks to come, and they’ll say that I’m “fear baiting”. But you see, I’m not telling you to vote for Hillary because she’s not Donald Trump. In fact – this is the first time I’ve even mentioned his name. I’m asking you to look at what we currently have and how we could push a future Clinton administration to be more progressive. How we – as a collective can continue our revolution to fit within the current constraints of our government.
Tracy Chapman sang a song that went something like this: “Finally the tables are starting to turn – we’re talking about a revolution. Poor people gonna to rise up and get their share. Poor people gonna rise up and take what’s theirs.”
I believe it!