Bernie Sanders loves us, and so we love him
I support Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. With all my heart. He is a candidate that inspires strong emotion. He is a candidate who inspires love. Judging by his unprecedented rallies, his multi-million dollar campaign fueled by small donations, and his enormous popularity among the general electorate, I would say I’m not alone.
Some say he is too angry. But when I hear him speak, either at these massive rallies, or years earlier to nearly-empty Congressional chambers, what I hear is love. Bernie Sanders loves the vast majority of Americans, the poor and the working and the shrinking middle class, those whose only power is that of their rapidly depreciating vote. He believes in us, he knows our potential and the tragedy of wasting it, and it shows. When you love someone, you will come to their defense with righteous anger and fierce determination. And that’s what rings out in his voice and in his words. We love him because he loves us, and fights on our behalf.
His moral compass is absolutely unwavering. You can trace his path back to his youth, and he is always heading in the same direction, regardless of obstacles. He didn’t need to learn, didn’t need to be convinced, has never betrayed us and had to apologize. He was there for the civil rights movement, there for gay rights, there for workers’ rights. His instinct is for justice and he is always on the side of the wrongly oppressed. We love him because he knows what’s right.
We are the reason he does what he does. He has run in twenty one political races, spent forty years in public service. He isn’t there for popularity or power. He probably doesn’t get invited to a lot of cocktail parties. He hasn’t gotten rich. He is there to fight for those who are least able to fight for themselves. His bid for the presidency is just the next thing he can do for us. Not him, us. We love him because his motivations are selfless.
He sees the greatest injustice of our time, and names it, over and over. Inequality, and the poverty and corruption it breeds, is the most important issue that we must address before all others. First, because economic oppression is not just one type of oppression, it is the main tool of oppression of all kinds, and the cruelest. Second, you cannot have a functioning democracy when so many have so little, and so few have so much. Every day it gets worse, and our opportunity to change it gets smaller and smaller. He never stops bringing it up, and now others have to talk about it too. We love him because he gets it.
He has brought back meaning to politics, and the Democratic Party. We are supposed to be the party of the poor and working people, the party of the oppressed, the party that works for a future that lifts us all up together. But too often Democrats compromise with Republicans to pass policy that hurts the very people they are supposed to represent, seeking electoral success. Too often Democrats are afraid to speak out about a progressive future and what that requires, intimidated by Republicans out of our own language. Too often Democrats play dirty to win a dirty game. But what does it matter if people are winning with a D next to their name if the D no longer means anything? Short term gains have weakened us in the long run as our message becomes garbled. We love him because he is unafraid to speak the truth.
This has been a rigged fight from the beginning. The Democratic primary system is, ironically, not very democratic. And the least democratic aspects are tending to work against Bernie Sanders. But if he can win the Democratic primary, despite the stacked deck, he will be an exceptionally strong general election candidate. That is because the very things that are causing his Democratic supporters to flock to him are resonating with independent voters and those who have given up on politics. Integrity and the ring of truth can cross party lines, and inspire the hopeless. We love him because he can win.
Please join me in supporting Bernie Sanders in the Maine People’s Alliance straw poll. Text Sanders to 207-466-0096.
This post is part of a series of Mainers explaining their choice of presidential candidate. You can read more here.
Photo: Sanders speaking to a crowd in Portland, Maine, via campaign website
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