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How Bernie Sanders Could Become President With Only 130,000 Votes

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After reading Dawn Papple’s excellent article in The Inquisitr a few days ago, about how it was theoretically possible for Bernie Sanders to still become President, I shared the article with some friends and found that they were confused at how this scenario could occur, so I decided to write my own article and hopefully answer everyone’s questions, as well as recruit a few hundred people to help make this into a reality.

Here are some of the questions I received over the last few days while promoting this idea on social media.

Have You Lost Your Mind? Bernie Sanders Dropped Out of the Race!! How Could He Become President???

In order to be elected President a candidate must win 270 electoral college votes.

Each state is assigned so many electoral votes and whichever candidate wins the popular vote in that state wins that state’s electoral votes.

For example, when Donald Trump wins Texas, he will be awarded 38 electoral college votes.

There are 538 electoral votes total.

If the election were held today, Hillary Clinton is predicted to win a very tight race..

Hillary Clinton – 270

Donald Trump – 268

What if there were a way to take three electoral college votes away from Hillary Clinton and award them to someone else, say Bernie Sanders?

Bernie Sanders

Okay I’m Listening. You Still Sound Like a Crazy Person, But I’ll Bite. How Could We Take Three Electoral Votes Away From Hillary Clinton and Give Them to Bernie Sanders?

Simple.

We take a state with a small population and we organize a write-in campaign for Bernie Sanders.

If only there were a state with an incredibly small population, where all the people who lived there loved Bernie Sanders.

Hmmmmm…

Oh wait, there is!!!

There is actually a state that has only 600,000 residents (approximately 400,000 are of voting age) and nearly all of them are YUGE Bernie Sanders supporters.

I’m speaking of Vermont, of course.

86% of Vermont Democrats voted for Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton in their state’s primary.

Bernie Sanders was a very popular mayor and Congressman there.

He is currently the most beloved Senator in America and still representing the great state of Vermont.

They absolutely love him!!

In fact, many Vermont residents say that they are already planning on writing Bernie in.

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Wow! I Hadn’t Thought of That. You Actually Sound Less Crazy Now. So What Would Happen If By Some Miracle Bernie Sanders Won Vermont On a Write-In Campaign?

That’s an excellent question.

According to current prognostications, this would change the electoral college results to..

Donald Trump – 268

Hillary Clinton – 267

Bernie Sanders – 3

So Donald Trump Would Win?

No.

Nobody would win.

You have to gain 270 electoral votes to win, remember?

So What Then? Obama Stays In Office?

Funny, but no.

In the event that no candidate is able to attain 270 electoral votes, then the House of Representatives picks a President FROM THE THREE TOP CANDIDATES.

Wait! Gary Johnson Is Polling At 10%!! So Gary Johnson Would Be The Third Candidate!!

Not true.

It is the three candidates with the most electoral college votes, not the most popular votes.

Johnson is not projected to win any states, so having more votes in the popular vote will not help him.

Also, why are you yelling?

Bernie Sanders

 

The House of Representatives Is Currently Under Republican Control. You Can’t Expect Me To Believe That The Republicans Would Nominate Bernie Sanders.

You’re right.

It’s a long-shot, but it’s better than no shot.

Republicans, including speaker of The House Paul Ryan, have been looking for a way to get rid of Trump for several months now.

Paul Ryan has repeatedly spoken out about how much Trump is hurting the Party.

The Republicans are even considering installing a super-delegate program going forward to prevent an outsider like Trump from ever being able to usurp their party again.

The GOP wants Trump gone, because they believe his Presidency will be a disaster and will cause long-term damage to the party.

This is of particular concern to Ryan, who plans to make a Presidential run in the near future and any damage to the party could cost him a chance at that run.

Paul Ryan wants to stop Donald Trump, because a Trump Presidency will more than likely hurt Ryan’s future run.

Also if Trump wins, it puts the GOP out of business in the 2020 election, as Trump would run unopposed as the incumbent.

This means that they can’t run Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan in 2020 and both of those candidates would stand an excellent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton if her Presidency is as scandal-ridden as most feel that it will be.

Many Republicans want Trump gone, so they can run an establishment candidate in 2020.

It is also important to remember that Bernie Sanders is NOT a Democrat.

He is trying to help the Democrats, because he wants to stop Donald Trump and he believes that Hillary Clinton will help him further his Progressive agenda.

Bernie Sanders has the respect of many Republican Senators because he is the head of the Senate Veterans Committee and has done a legendary job of passing veteran’s legislation.

Bernie Sanders is to the Democratic Party what Donald Trump is to the Republican Party.

Just as a Trump Presidency would greatly damage the Republicans, a Sanders Presidency would greatly damage the Democratic Party, who seek only to satisfy their corporate owners.

The Republican-controlled House hates Trump almost as much as they hate Hillary.

Believe it or not Bernie Sanders is actually the lesser of three evils in some Republican eyes.

Bernie Sanders

That’s Pretty Interesting. So How Would We Go About Making That Happen?

Massive phone-banking is the answer.

There are only 600,000 people in Vermont and only half of them voted in the 2012 Presidential election.

200,000 voted for Obama.

100,000 voted for Romney.

200,000 are minors.

100,000 did not vote.

Some of these voters will be set on voting for Clinton, but not as many as you might think, due to their die-hard love of Bernie Sanders in Vermont.

Some of these voters will be set on voting for Trump, but many of Vermont’s Republican voters do not like Trump and were looking forward to voting for Bernie, before the DNC cheated him out of the nomination.

In order for Sanders to defeat Clinton and Trump in a write-in vote, he would need to have approximately 130,000 write-ins.

The good news is that Vermont residents can register to vote all the way up to November 2 and still be eligible to vote in the general election on November 8, so we could focus on the 100,000 non-voters in Vermont, as well as registered Democrats who do not like Hillary and registered Republicans who do not like Trump.

So right now what we need is a list of every resident’s phone number in Vermont and a few hundred phone-bankers.

I’ve actually already started writing the script.

It starts out…

Hi! This is Mike with The People for Bernie Sanders. One quick question; Are you excited with the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for President this November?

If they say “Yes”, we end the call.

If they say anything else, we pitch the write-in.

Part of my reason for writing this is that I do not have the phone list.

I need someone who can help me attain it.

I have never undertaken such a task.

If you can help in the acquisition of this list, please email me at…

BernieSandersWriteIn@gmail.com

Bernie Sanders

What If You Can’t Get A List of Vermont Cell Numbers?

Then things become more difficult.

Considering that the average household has three members and two of them are of voting age, that means that we would have to knock on 300,000 doors.

If we relocate to Vermont for one month (something I am already making arrangements to do) then we would need to knock on 10,000 doors per day.

If each activist knocks on 300 doors per day then we would need 30 dedicated people to relocate to Vermont from early October through November 8 (election day).

Considering that Bernie Sanders has millions of activist supporters, this is entirely doable.

We can use Bernie BNB  and couch surf with other Sanders’ supporters, so our expenses will be minimal.

If you are serious about relocating for one month or you already live in Vermont, then please contact me at..

BernieSandersWriteIn@gmail.com

Even if we are able to acquire a phone-list, we will still need several volunteers on the ground in Vermont to make this campaign successful.

GOP 2016 Trump

Have You Asked Bernie About This?

Due to Bernie Sanders’ current positioning with the Democratic Party (basically he is supporting Clinton in return for her support of his Progressive agenda) Bernie is unable to endorse anything that would interfere with a Clinton Presidency.

We will have to be like Bernie.

Independent.

Doesn’t Bernie Have to Register As a Write-In Candidate For His Win to Be Counted?

Nope.

Most states require this, but Vermont, New Jersey, Alabama, New Hampshire, Oregon, Wyoming, Delaware and Iowa do not require the candidate to register in order to win a write-in campaign.

So Why Not Organize a Write-In Campaign For All of The Above States?

It’s not necessary.

If prognostications are correct and the race is as close as expected, Bernie only needs to win one state in order to get into The House of Representatives lottery.

Vermont is the easiest state to do this in for reasons we discussed earlier.

So What If You Mess Around and Achieve Your Goal and Then The House Gives the Presidency to Donald Trump?

 

That is unlikely.

Vermont has been chosen because it is overwhelmingly Democrat by a 2 to 1 margin.

Should our initiative fail, Clinton would still win the state.

Our goal is to give Bernie Sanders his rightful claim to the Presidency without going against his wishes and electing Donald Trump.

If we are successful at pushing the election into the House of Representatives and they were to choose Trump, then so be it.

Perhaps the Democrats will learn a valuable lesson about listening to the will of the people, instead of forcing a corrupt candidate down our throats that we already rejected in 2008.

First and foremost we are trying to right the wrong perpetrated by the DNC in the rigging of the primary election against Bernie Sanders.

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Last Question, Crazy Guy; I’m a Jill Stein Supporter Now. What Role Does Jill Stein Play In All of This?

Great question!!

Jill actually does play a role here.

Although Jill herself has stated that the 2016 election is about “consolidating power” to win the 2020 election, Jill Stein supporters may end up helping Bernie Sanders in this scenario.

Jill Stein supporters should continue canvassing, donating and phone-banking on her behalf.

Not only will your activism help Jill in 2020, but a truly concentrated Jill Stein movement in a few battleground states could swing those states to Trump and keep Clinton from achieving the 270 electoral votes required to gain the Presidency.

Our Bernie write-in campaign in no way hinders Jill’s progress.

Wow!! You’ve actually convinced me. What do I do now?

Email me at..

BernieSandersWriteIn@gmail.com

We need phone-lists of Vermont residents.

We also need people who are willing to travel to Vermont for one month or who already live there.

Yes, this is a long-shot, but Bernie Sanders’ entire candidacy was a long-shot from the very beginning.

It is worth a try just to keep the government from falling into the hands of either of these two warmongers.

This is our only hope to stop both Clinton and Trump.

I am ready to make the sacrifice, but I can’t do it alone.

Who’s with me?

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Trump or Clinton? Hell No!!

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Americans are angry.

But not angry enough.

They should be in the streets shutting down corporate profits.

I have visions of semi-trucks parked across interstates and major cities occupied.

I have visions of the American government trying to figure out how to stop a determined populace that responds to injustice by standing united.

I have visions of corrupt politicians and bankers fleeing America, fearing prison.

I see, in my mind’s eye, a million people marching in unison, demanding justice.

But these visions are ripening on the vine.

We aren’t there yet.

Multinational corporations rig a “Democratic” election to appoint Hillary Clinton, who is nothing more than a figurehead for corporate profits and never-ending war…

People gather around the water cooler to complain.

Racist, white police-officers, sworn to protect and serve, MURDER unarmed black men..

Maybe we take a knee at a sporting event.

Our government poisons the water supply and the food.

Innocent children die.

But hey, football is on.

Americans have been domesticated.

We are afraid.

We are spoiled.

We are pacified.

Injustice has become entertainment.

We are too busy.

We are distracted.

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As bad as all this is, when Donald Trump is President, things are going to get worse.

This is Germany 1933.

The police unions have endorsed Donald Trump.

We’ve seen what Trump thinks of protesters.

He encourages violence against them.

He touts the Second Amendment while oppressing the First.

In Trump’s America, protesters will be murdered and he will say..

“They’re disgusting. We’re trying to fix this country and these people hate it. They hate America. They got what was coming to them.”

His followers will cheer for blood in the streets.

Decades of America’s corporate greed and subsequent destruction of opportunity have led to a deep-seated desperation in our blue-collar workforce and Donald Trump has tapped into that.

Trump’s white supremacist supporters are stockpiling weapons, waiting for Martial Law, so they will have permission to kill blacks, gays, Hispanics and liberals.

They call themselves patriots.

Trump gives their movement license.

Trump fuels their fear.

Trump fills them with bravado.

“Make America Great Again” is the same code as “All Lives Matter”.

It is rhetoric that translates to “ban and bomb all Muslims.”

It is hyperbole that says “black people need to know their place.”

It is oration designed to stir the rage of people who were led to believe that it is their birthright to have superiority over others.

When Trump vomits forth hate-speech about deportation forces and punishing women who have abortions, he taps into an angry segment of our population and encourages it to creep out of the darkness.

When Trump makes fun of the handicapped, children on playgrounds follow suit.

When Trump points his tiny finger of blame, people are assaulted.

Trump is sounding the alarm to gather the forces and to round-up all those responsible for your pain and suffering.

He is the ruling-elite telling you to kill your neighbor, because they stole your crumbs.

He is fascism, come to America, wrapped in the flag.

He is paranoia personified.

Bernie Sanders was right when he said that we must do “everything in our power to stop Donald Trump.”

But you can’t ask us to vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie.

That’s asking too much.

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This was the “Democrats” election to lose.

They had two strong candidates and the GOP could not produce a decent opponent.

A year ago most liberals would have agreed that Bernie was the better candidate, but that Hillary was still better than Donald Trump.

But Hillary lied to us.

She took us for granted and she mocked us.

She insulted us and she stripped away our voting rights.

And she cheated.

She cheated in an American election against a good man.

She cheated the American people out of $238,000,000 (the amount that we donated to Bernie Sanders).

She cheated us out of our literal blood, sweat and tears, that we shed while working tirelessly, in an “election” that we never had a chance of winning.

We sacrificed far too much to just forgive and forget.

I remember telling my kids that we couldn’t afford to do certain things, because “Bernie needs our help.”

My children volunteered with me.

We went broke, driving anywhere we could to help canvas.

Speeding tickets, gas, damage to vehicle, oil changes and lost wages.

We spent the last several months trying to recover from these excursions and millions of Americans made the same sacrifices.

The “Democratic” Party’s mistreatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters painted us into a corner.

I am terrified by the looming specter of a Trump presidency, but still I cannot bring myself to support the embodiment of everything I have spent my life fighting against.

If you were just a casual Sanders supporter (was there any such thing?) then perhaps you could just pull your Sanders sign up and replace it with a Clinton sign.

But for those of us who gave our entire lives to this movement, it is not even a serious consideration.

Sorry Bernie, I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.

She simply does not deserve my vote.

Hillary and the DNC burned the bridges.

It is unreasonable to expect us to rebuild them.

Maybe if the “Democrats” lose an election that they could have easily won, then they will learn to listen to the people next time.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

A supporter of former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wears tape across her mouth in protest on the floor at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

Perhaps the protests I am looking for will not be held in the streets.

Perhaps the next great protest in the United States will be held in the voting booth, where millions of liberals, that Hillary Clinton took for granted, will stand up in the face of tyranny and choose to vote their conscience instead of caving into the fear that the “Democratic” Party is banking on.

Maybe there is finally enough anger on the left to motivate them to get off their asses and actually build a true third-party for the people.

Maybe liberals will finally start paying attention to down-ballot races and midterm elections and rejecting corporate candidates in favor of true Progressives.

Maybe people will finally learn that voting with their dollars is where the real power lies and they will abstain from buying from the corporations that destroyed our democracy.

When confronted with the “choice” between being shot in the face or poisoned to death, the intelligent choice is to choose neither.

When confronted with the “choice” between someone who threatens to use nuclear weapons or someone who claims to be so ignorant that they did not know that “C” stood for classified, the rational person chooses neither.

When confronted with the “choice” between someone who will appoint alt-right Supreme Court judges or someone who secretly supports TPP, a trade agreement that will put corporate tribunals in charge of our government, the compassionate person says “HELL NO!!!”

Enough lesser-evilism!!

Hillary Clinton is pulling a Band-Aid off slowly, whereas Donald Trump is ripping it off fast.

Either way, it’s going to hurt.

Vote for Jill Stein or write in Bernie Sanders.

In an insane election, these are the only sane choices.

Some will say that this is throwing your vote away.

Nonsense.

Throwing your vote away is when you vote for someone whom you don’t believe in.

Throwing your vote away is voting for Donald Trump, a hate-monger who’s been spending daddy’s money and filing bankruptcy and charging it to the American tax-payer, while telling the people who are footing his bill that their poverty is the fault of other poor people.

Throwing your vote away is voting for Hillary Clinton, a warmonger who rode her rapist husband’s coattails into politics by representing a state that she wasn’t even a resident of, while supporting fracking and taking millions from the fossil-fuel industry.

With either one of these fools, you are doing more than throwing your vote away.

You are throwing your planet away.

You are throwing your dignity away.

You are throwing innocent lives away.

Neither have any business stepping foot in the White House and I do not and will not recognize their authority.

If you are insulted by your corporate “choice” for President, I suggest you exercise your Constitutional right to open rebellion.

Join with me in pledging to fight whichever one of these criminals is unfortunate enough to take office.

Let’s commit to being real activists.

Let’s commit to taking back our government.

Let’s lose the battle and win the war.

Hillary or Trump?

I choose neither.

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If my voice is aligned with your voice, please consider donating $1 by clicking HERE. We are expanding our power by starting a YouTube show/Podcast that will be used to organize tremendous activism in line with the  Progressive philosophies of Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders. Any money donated goes directly to purchasing studio equipment to make that happen.

 

Come on Hillary!! Enough is Enough!!

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With the latest insanity surrounding Hillary Clinton, involving her collapsing symbolically at a 9/11 memorial, I am reminded of how seriously fed up I have become with her sham of a campaign.

While corporate media focuses on an orange gnome with zero government experience, the rest of us are being force-fed a corporate, warmongering shill and we are supposed to be happy about it, just because she is “not Donald Trump”.

I honestly have tried to find something redeeming in the shit sandwich of her impending Presidency.

I have defended Hillary from time to time.

I agree with the assessment of her supporters, that she is better than Donald Trump, but without an ounce of facetiousness, I can say confidently that my dog, Butch, is a better candidate than Donald Trump.

Butch might relieve himself in the Oval Office, but at least he wouldn’t start a nuclear war.

I asked Butch about building a wall and forcing Mexico to pay for it and he just turned his head to one side, spun around in a circle three times and laid down.

As bad as Trump is, Hillary seems to be working overtime to prove she is nearly as pathetic.

Hiding medical problems from the American people, especially something as serious as neurological disorder, is just too much.

Is it unreasonable to ask that our candidates release their current medical records and have a psychiatric evaluation at least bi-annually?

Shouldn’t that be absolutely mandatory for anyone seeking to be in charge of the world’s most powerful military?

What difference does it make, right?

What fucking difference does it make?

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I understand that Hillary is the choice of the establishment.

I know they have billions of dollars on the line.

I know they invested hundreds of millions to get her appointed into a position of power so that they could recoup their money 100 fold.

I know how this whole sham works, but seriously corporate America, do you have to make it so obvious?

For nearly a year she has hidden from the very people she is supposed to represent.

If only Hillary had chosen a decent running mate, then I would possibly feel confident, as it seems highly unlikely that she would even be able to complete her term.

But Tim Kaine?!

Uh, just no.

I am all for our country FINALLY having a female President, but at what cost?

Your campaign has become insulting to our intelligence.

 

Never mind that you have shown zero ability to be a decent leader.

Never mind that you can barely stand up unassisted.

Never mind that we are in desperate need of true leadership in our country’s most dire hour.

As much as we fear the idea of Donald Trump being President, you HAVE to let the people who vote for you keep their dignity.

When you repeatedly insult us, you make that impossible.

You honestly expect us to believe that you didn’t know “C” stood for classified?

You want us to buy into the lie that you are “looking into” releasing your Wall Street transcripts for 224 days now?

And I’m sick of hearing about Trump, every time I ask a legitimate question regarding one of Clinton’s glaring flaws.

If I ask about the Wall Street transcripts then I want to talk about YOUR WALL STREET TRANSCRIPTS!!!

Saying “Trump did not release his tax returns.” is not a suitable response.

My kids know that blaming their siblings for their wrongdoings is unacceptable.

Should I expect less from my President than I do from my children?

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Given Trump as the alternative, I was willing to forgive a lot.

But Hillary, you simply ask too much.

For someone who so rarely speaks publicly, you certainly seem to put your foot in your mouth a lot.

Hillary, we do not “bring people to heel.”

We do not laugh at murder and say “We Came. We Saw. He died.”

We do not, under ANY circumstances, speak of political assassination as a way of winning a nomination.

We do not “land under Bosnian sniper-fire”, trivializing the heroes who actually have to face this real-life death from above.

Considering that the orange menace was my alternative, I was honestly willing to move on, if you were just willing to take some damned accountability and learn from your mistakes, but this campaign you took the dishonesty to a new level.

You can lie to the FBI and Congress and apparently they will give you a pass, but the American people WILL NOT!!

It would have been nice if you would have used this last 18 months to do something redeeming, so at the very least I could lie to myself and say that you had learned some valuable lessons and were trying now.

But you don’t try.

You take us for granted and we are beyond tired of your lies.

We are Charlie Brown and you are Lucy and we are done trying to kick the football.

We are done trusting you, only to land flat on our backs.

This has gone far enough.

You are clearly incapable of handling even the simplest task without mucking it up beyond all recognition.

You cannot appoint people to high-positions in our government in exchange for donations.

You cannot set up a charitable foundation and then donate the money to YOURSELF!!

You cannot arm terrorists and deport refugee children and then expect informed people to support you.

Hillary Clinton, you are simply not a decent human being and I cannot vote for you.

You have burned all the bridges.

 

All you had to do was just be open and honest and you would have had my reluctant support, simply because you are, as you often remind us, not quite as bad as Trump.

But you couldn’t do that.

You could not treat us with basic human dignity.

You could not give us that which all humans inherently deserve.

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If I give voice to your thoughts and feelings, please consider donating $1 by clicking HERE. Why would you want to do that? I am currently working to build a podcast that gives voice to Progressive values and the studio equipment is expensive. When it is complete we will have a real, non-corporate voice in the media. I believe in this movement with my entire heart and I will make it happen regardless of rather you can afford to donate or not. I do not believe that lack of funds should silence you. I will always do my best to make sure everyone who has been silenced has a voice.

 

 

 

 

I Have a Transgender Child and I Don’t Care

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Chloe has always been a force.

She came into the world ahead of schedule and tried to exit immediately.

The first three days of her life she spent in the Intensive Care Unit with a myriad of health issues.

Dozing off next to the incubator, I felt a tap on my shoulder…

“Hey. I want you to go home and get some sleep.”

White light flooded my eyes.

There was a white figure eclipsing the light.

Perhaps an angel…

Perhaps a doctor..

Those with sick children know that there is no difference.

“And then when I wake up, we can take her home?” I asked.

“I don’t want to get your hopes up.” Doctor Angel said.

I took a cab home that I couldn’t afford.

It was my birthday.

As I fell asleep I said aloud

“All I want for my birthday is for Chloe to be well.”

I awoke late that night to my grandmother banging on my door.

“The hospital keeps calling. They need you there as soon as possible.”

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I arrived at the hospital, not to what I had feared, but instead to Dr. Angel telling me that Chloe was doing great.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.” he said.

Or at least I remember him saying that.

I have played that movie in my head so many times that I think I might have worn it out.

Perhaps the original memory got used up and my brain wrote a more cinematic one in its place.

Maybe I just saw a doctor say that in a movie on one of those sleepless nights all parents experience when they bring their baby home.

I don’t know.

But I like my Dr. Angel memory and we got to bring Chloe home the next day.

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Chloe was outstanding at everything.

When she was three, I tried to show her how to play Jacks (you know the game where you bounce the little ball and then try to pick up as many of the little thingies as you can in one swipe of your hand and then catch the ball in the same hand?) and she grabbed all six Jacks on her first try and then caught the ball and said…

“Is that it? Did I do it right?”

“I’ve never seen anyone get all six of them!!” I yelled.

“It’s easy.” she said and did it again.

“I think you might be a mutant.” I told her.

Even her fails were spectacular (in fairness this was actually MY fail).

Like when she was eighteen months old and got into her grandmother’s purse and swallowed an entire bottle of pills in the time it took me to use the restroom.

I had taken an infant CPR class a few weeks earlier and had really paid attention, because I feared I might have to use it someday.

I grabbed Chloe by the back of her neck, inserted my finger into the back of her throat, made a hook-shape with it and dragged forward across the tongue.

About 30 pills came out.

“How many pills were in that bottle?!!” I screamed as if it mattered.

Even a single pill might make a baby very ill or worse.

I ran to the driveway, put Chloe in the car-seat and drove carefully, but quickly to the hospital with the bottle in my hoodie pocket.

I kept trying to keep her conscious as she had a tendency to fall asleep in the car.

I kept smiling and singing songs with her.

I didn’t want her to be afraid.

I kept pulling up to red lights, looking both ways and going through them.

A cop flashed his lights behind me.

I accelerated.

We were almost there.

He gave chase to the hospital.

I jumped out and he met me by the back of my car, his hand on his belt.

“I’m sorry, officer!! My child swallowed pills and is dying. I need your help!!”

“Come on!!” he replied and lead us inside screaming the words “We have an OD’d child!!”

I had Chloe in one arm and the empty pill bottle in my hand.

“She swallowed these!!” I said.

They grabbed her and everything became a blur.

They treated her.

They pulled me aside and told me that they don’t know how much of my grandmother’s heart medicine got into her bloodstream, but if it was enough, it could cause Chloe to go into cardiac arrest.

They kept her for observation overnight.

I sat there stroking her hair, making up stories about Elmo and Scooby Doo.

She kept breathing.

Self-recrimination consumed me.

She had fought so hard just to live and my negligence had nearly killed her.

I was going to lose custody and I deserved to.

There were a lot of interviews.

They were way too nice to me.

“It happens all the time.” they said.

“It could happen to anyone.” they said.

I took her home and waited for them to come and take her from me for the next several years.

They never came.

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(Writer’s Note: You can skip this section, as it is another section in which I brag about how awesome Chloe is. Skip to the next section for the wrap-up.)

Then there was the year that I forced Chloe to play baseball.

Actually it was her idea to start, but after striking out the first 30 or so times up to bat, she decided that baseball was boring and wanted to quit.

Having some strange idea that parenting had something to do with teaching kids to overcome obstacles, instead of letting her quit, I forced her to take batting practice with me pitching to her every day.

She couldn’t even hit my pitches from six feet away.

No matter how slow I pitched, she would swing wildly, missing it by several inches.

One of the parents kept stats for all the kids and going into the last inning of the last game, Chloe had batted something like 92 times and had struck out literally every single time.

And then of course, as fate would have it, with two outs in the last inning of the final game, with the bases loaded, Chloe was up to bat with her team down by three runs.

The entire game rested on her tiny shoulders.

I pulled the coach aside and told him that I would not be at all offended if he let someone else bat for her.

Our teams best player, an eight year old who looked like a twelve-year-old, came up to join the conversation.

“Let Chloe hit.” he said selflessly and begin clapping his hands and saying “GO CHLOE!!!” in an attempt to get the other kids to cheer for her.

The parents joined in with their own cheers.

The kids on the other team, moved up really close, to where the outfielders were pretty much on the infield and the infielders were only about 10 feet away from where Chloe stood with her tiny bat.

They started chanting “HEY BATTER-BATTER-BATTER!!”, a chant I had always hated.

Chloe’s coach tossed the ball softly towards the plate (in pee-wee leagues the coach is usually the pitcher) and she swung and missed.

She missed badly on the second pitch as well.

“HEY BATTER-BATTER-BATTER!!”

“Keep your eyes open, Chloe!!” I reminded her.

She always closed her eyes when she swung and she always swung so hard.

The chants of “EASY OUT!! EASY OUT!!” rang in my ears and I wondered what kind of long-term damage I had done to my kid by forcing them to play this ridiculous game that they had no chance of succeeding at.

I envisioned a thousand negative images of Chloe’s doomed adulthood and at the end of each mental movie I imagined her saying..

“IT’S BECAUSE I STRUCK OUT 93 TIMES WHEN I WAS FIVE!!!”

Just as I was imagining rescuing a 20-something Chloe from a crack-house, I heard a “CLINK”, the unmistakable sound of a baseball hitting a metal bat, followed quickly by the image of a ball rolling past the pitcher’s mound and past the second baseman, who was so arrogant that he had been standing right next to the pitcher, mocking Chloe’s inability to make contact.

The ball rolled past the center-fielder, who was standing right next to second base with his glove off, figuring that Chloe wouldn’t be able to hit it very far should she be able to hit it at all.

The ball was hit well.

The ball rolled past everyone on the other team.

The ball was tired of its diamond life.

It was escaping.

It was running through grass, being pursued by giants.

It was Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption.

It was Thelma and Louise.

It was Forrest Fucking Gump!!!

The entire crowd shared an audible gasp, then suddenly, like birds in flight, they all shifted together to tell Chloe to “RUN!!!!!”

She had never hit the ball before.

She didn’t know what to do next.

She took a doubtful step towards the pitcher’s mound, where the coach ran towards her, pointed at first base and said “THAT WAY!!”

She took off like a tiny rocket.

Chloe reached first base and stood there proudly, hand on her hips, smiling.

The ball hit the fence and stopped rolling as the parents raced from the bleachers and pointed in unison for Chloe to “RUN THAT WAY!!!” towards second base.

By the time she arrived at second, all three runners had crossed the plate, tying the game and the rest of her team had ran out of the dugout and were standing behind third base screaming for Chloe to “COME THIS WAY!!!”

As the center-fielder slipped and fell, trying to pick up the ball, Chloe was rounding third and by the time he had overthrown the cut-off man, Chloe was standing at home plate being mobbed by teammates and parents.

I’d be doubting that memory too, if so many people hadn’t been there to witness it.

Even now, ten years later, I will see one of those parents and they will say

“Remember that time Chloe got the game winning hit?”

I’ll smile and nod, but what I really remember is Chloe asking on the way home..

“Does this mean that I don’t have to play baseball anymore?”

066

We all think our kids are special, because in fact, all kids are special.

I could go on for days with stories about what it was like to be a single-dad, raising a daughter in a conservative state, without any child support or extended family.

 

Perhaps some day, I’ll write a novel about our adventures, but for the purposes of this article, I just wanted to share a few stories about how miraculous my child is, so that you might grasp in the tiniest way, why I did not give one actual fuck when Chloe pulled me aside a month ago and nervously told me that she wanted to be called Aaron and wanted to be referred to as “he” and not “she” from now on.

I hope you can understand how this news had ZERO effect on my feelings about my son and how I immediately made the transition and it wasn’t even the tiniest bit difficult for me.

I want to convey completely that if my parenting were an animal, that it would be a honey badger, because not one fuck was given on my part.

My only response was to hug Aaron and remind him for the ten millionth time that I loved him unconditionally.

If I raised my arms out as wide as I could, that would not begin to emphasize how fucking proud I am of my child, regardless of what gender(s) they identify as or what gender(s) they are attracted to.

If I pushed my thumb and middle-finger very tightly together, I could not begin to show you how little my ego is tied up into my child’s gender identity.

When Aaron told me that he wanted a binder and informed me that a binder was an article of clothing that pushes breasts down, so that the wearer can pass as a boy, I asked only if binders were safe and read a few articles on them.

Once I was convinced that they were safe, I completely supported Aaron’s wearing of binders.

I cannot stress how little it bothers me that Chloe is now Aaron.

If shits given were rain, this parent would be in the desert.

If my concern for this were an algebra problem and how much I cared were an unknown integer, then you could multiply any number by that integer and get zero.

It would look something like this…

9736 x MC = 0

or

8,403,976 x MC =0

Okay, these comparisons are starting to become pretty abstract, but I REALLY want to stress to you that my child’s gender identity does not affect my love and support for my child in the least.

And I apologize if you are offended by profanity.

I am incredibly offended by bigotry and I really felt that these words could accentuate that point for me.

Some might suggest that teenagers are capricious and that this may be “just a phase”.

Doesn’t matter AT ALL!!

My support is 100% behind my child.

To me this seems like the only possible way to receive the news.

But I have heard nightmarish stories of parents not taking this kind of thing well.

I have heard stories of parents telling their children that they refuse to respect their wishes and boundaries.

I have heard stories of parents who throw their children out on the street.

I have heard stories of parents shaming their child for trying to be their true self.

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(Writer’s Note: Unless you are the parent of a transgender child, then you can stop reading now. The story is over for you. The remainder of the article is me speaking directly to parents.)

I wrote this because I know how upside down the world can become when you are a parent.

I wrote this because I know that it is impossible to not let our egos get wrapped up in our children.

I wrote this because I have made many mistakes and I thought maybe, if just one person read this and gained something from it, then it would be worth sharing.

(And by the way, Aaron has read this and given me permission to publish it.)

I know it might be hard to let go of some of those visions you had for your child, that were wrapped up in their gender identity.

Maybe you imagined giving your little girl away on her wedding day.

Maybe you were still holding out hope that your son was going to be the football star that you wanted him to be.

Both of the above examples can still happen, because neither is gender specific, but it’s probably a good idea to let your child decide what they want to do and be.

Life is hard enough without having to live up to someone else’s vision for your life.

We can become overly attached to our child’s gender identity, without even realizing that this is even happening.

For some, a child changing their gender identity can feel like a death.

It’s not.

Things will be different, but probably not in the ways that you think they will be.

You may find yourself having confused feelings sometimes.

That’s natural.

Tell your child, with compassion, some of your struggles.

You don’t have to pretend that everything is okay all the time.

It’s okay to talk about your challenges with your child.

It’s not okay to blame them for those challenges.

Start your statements with “I feel..” or “I fear..”

“I sometimes feel like you snap at me when I call you by your old name. I’m trying to adjust here. I need you to be more patient with me.”

“I fear my father’s judgment of your gender identity. I know you are my child and it is my job to protect you, but this change has exposed how afraid of my father I still am. I’m an adult, but I still feel like a five-year old when he says something judgmental. I know I need to do a better job of standing up to him and defending you.”

Your child may feel safer when they realize that you share some of their struggles.

You may worry about your child’s safety, knowing that there are so many hate-filled people in the world.

You’re a parent.

You will always worry.

The same safety rules apply for trans-children as for all children.

If there’s something you don’t understand, just ask your child.

They may not know either.

Maybe you can learn together.

You will probably be surprised by how much they can teach you.

If you let it, you might find that this change can allow you to know your child in different ways and bring your relationship closer than ever.

Read books that will help you to understand what your child is going through.

 

If it’s in your budget, find a therapist that specializes in transgender children and go see them together and also encourage your child to see them one on one.

You will learn a lot about yourself and how you relate to different genders.

For example, I always used to call Aaron “beautiful” when I related to him as female and now I find myself pausing a little bit before I use that word.

I guess I must have had a feminine association to it.

I push past that.

I look at him and proclaim the truth..

“You are beautiful and I love you!!”

But I have to work at it.

I have to remind myself.

If you are a member of a church, you may have to switch to a more evolved church, if your current one doesn’t accept you and your child completely.

Even if you are not religious, you may find that some friends are not as evolved as you had hoped.

That’s okay.

You’ll make better friends.

You will have to stand up to some family members.

You will be scared.

You will face discrimination.

This is good.

This will give you more empathy for your child.

Your life may be more difficult for a while, during your own personal transition, as the parent of a transgender child.

You’ll be okay.

Parenting is a constant state of transition.

You can do it.

And always remember..

If being the parent of transgender child is hard…

Being a transgender child is much harder and they will always need you in their corner.

chloebrokenarmlaugh
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Jill and Bernie Sittin In a Tree D-E-M-E-X-I-T

jillandbernieHey everyone.

I’m going to do things differently today.

Instead of writing an article and being concerned with structure and pacing, etc…

I’m just going to ramble some thoughts on this whole mess of an election in 2016.

You know, like an actual blog..

First off, I miss Bernie.

A LOT!!

That’s a strange thing for me to say.

I mean, I never experienced anything like that.

I’m kind of cynical and I actually thought I had pretty much experienced everything that I was going to experience and would spend the remainder of my days repeating the things about life I enjoyed with some variation to keep it interesting.

But I didn’t know that I could get swept up like that.

I don’t know what to compare it to, because I never experienced anything remotely as beautiful or intense…

The feeling of being part of something that could really change the world.

The feeling of being on a team with millions of people.

The feeling of having the establishment actually scared of us.

I barely slept for a year and I didn’t need sleep.

Now we collectively go through this grieving process and it’s incredibly chaotic, because you’re in bargaining while I’m in anger and then you’re working on acceptance, while I’m in denial…

I wish I had answers for people, but I don’t know half the time.

I’m tired of being angry and I’m tired of being sad, but I don’t want to let those things go, because I fear that those are the only things left.

I’ve tried to impart my viewpoint on these matters, because I desire very deeply to help those I care about in the healing process.

Sometimes it helps.

Sometimes it just makes people angry.

And oh, just in case you stumbled in here and don’t know what I am referring to, I am talking to people who worked their asses off on the Bernie Sanders campaign and really believe in the ideals that he stands for.

Many are going through a sort of withdrawal.

If you weren’t part of it, then just stop reading.

There will be nothing that makes any sense to you in here.

jillrev

 

When I stood in the middle of FDR park, watching people crying all around me, as we watched our democracy raped on a movie screen, because the “Democratic” Party locked us out of the convention, while our guy was in there, biting his tongue and supporting someone who he knew was corrupt…

 

When I saw all those people crying, I just tried to breathe it in and let it do to me what it may.

And it changed me…

It intensified me.

I knew right at that moment that there was NO TURNING BACK!!!

Because millions of people put their blood, sweat and tears into this and we were treated very poorly.

We were mistreated by the “Democratic” Party.

I mean I don’t know what we expected…

Infecting their party like that.

We weren’t invited.

They had those rules in place for a reason, to keep out people like us.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why we expected to be treated fairly.

I guess it was the name that threw me.

I guess I thought Democrats would be democratic.

I used to be so naive.

jillsteinsigns

I attended the Indiana State Convention as a Democratic delegate.

It was an odd thing to wear that badge and represent their party, because at that point I was already extremely angry at the “Democratic” Party, yet I wanted to help Bernie, so I was doing the same exact thing that he did.

I was crashing the Party and trying to make some changes to it, because I recognized that there were millions of people who needed help and I recognized this corrupt political party as the best possible vehicle for it at this time.

I know there are lots of people on the Internet who love to post memes about how you can’t fix a broken party and Jill Stein has become fond of saying that, but it’s simply not true.

Almost anything broken can be fixed.

Bernie Sanders knew that.

That’s why he ran as a Democrat.

But there are so many repairs that need to be done.

This is going to take years.

But pretty much every American under the age of 25 voted for Bernie Sanders, so time is on our side.

millenials

At every point of the process to becoming a county and then a state delegate, it was completely obvious to me that I was not part of their group.

They all had perfect hair and expensive suits and all in all were just way more put together than I am or would ever actually want to be.

I seriously cannot imagine looking that polished.

I am lucky to have socks that match.

But Bernie gave license to that.

He was running for President, looking like a mess.

I felt somehow excused for messy hair and the occasional spaghetti sauce stain.

We don’t have time to worry about our hair!!

We have a world to change!!

Anyway, the Democrats were very kind.

They humored me.

They showed me how to fill out the forms and all.

It was clear that we were a nuisance.

One they hoped would go away soon.

march2

I went to the convention here in Indiana.

This was literally THE LAST thing I wanted to do with my weekend.

It was like we didn’t even exist.

They had some insider’s club and all they talked about was Hillary Clinton.

They never even mentioned Bernie Sanders’ name.

I saw a girl with tattoos and piercings on her face.

“She must be one of us.” I thought.

I went and talked politics with her and her dominatrix friend.

We became fast friends.

A blind man came up and was trying to navigate through the chairs.

I got up to help him.

He was also a Bernie delegate.

It was the misfits that powered Bernie’s campaign.

It was people like us…

The Imperfects.

And there are more of us than there are of them.

But they cheated us..

And here we are.

Trying to sort all of this out.

sanderscrowd

Jill Stein has become the denial phase of Bernie or Bust, a methadone to ween us off of the hero(ine) that is Bernie Sanders, but she is not heroin enough to save us.

I have actually been a Jill Stein fan for a number of years.

My girlfriend jokes with me about how she knows that I am in love with Jill Stein, but I’m actually still in love with Bernie Sanders.

I have Jill Stein stickers on my car and I’m going to vote for her.

Jill Stein is a wonderful revolutionary voice.

She’s by far the best candidate we have left and I think you should vote for her if you want to, but realize that you are voting for her in protest and in hopes of furthering the party’s name, not because she has a chance at winning.

And those are EXCELLENT reasons to vote for her.

America is desperately crying out for a third-party and ultimately I hope that one day the Green Party will be THAT party, but they aren’t ready right now, with just a few weeks left before the election.

“But if Jill could win, then we could defeat the establishment and…”

No. Sorry. That’s not realistic at all.

Even she has been saying that, when she says

“Sometimes you have to lose elections to build your power.”

She isn’t even trying to win.

She’s pretending to try to win, so she can rally people and increase the strength of her party and THAT IS SMART.

In fact, it’s good politics.

But she’s not actually competing in this election.

If she were, then she would have a ground game.

She has raised 1.9 million dollars.

Bernie Sanders raised 228 million dollars.

Jill Stein is running a PR campaign and right now that is EXACTLY what she should be doing to get her party into a position to compete seriously in 2020.

Green party candidate Jill Stein speaks at the Mercury Cafe in Denver, Colorado.

But if you think Bernie Sanders should have endorsed her, then you are missing out on the plan, that I believe even Jill Stein is in on (why do you think she came to Vermont to meet with Bernie before the Clinton endorsement?).

It would have been unwise for Bernie Sanders to endorse Jill Stein.

That would have been the worse thing he could have done.

That would have thrown away all the work that he did fighting the Democratic Platform Committee.

He got them to agree to things that they hated.

And you will make the argument that they are just lies and none of them will come to fruition, but you will be wrong!!

Because Bernie Sanders is the most powerful man in Washington now and he has their word on the platform and if we all vote smart in November, we will have Progressive control of the House and Senate and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE PLATFORMS WILL COME TO PASS!!!

That means we will have a national $12 per hour minimum wage.

That means we can overturn Citizen’s United.

garyjohnson

Bernie Sanders and his millions of followers went in and pulled a complete insurrection of the Democratic Party platform.

It is literally the greatest political coup in American history and he did it so subtly that no one noticed except for the Democratic establishment and he made it to where they could not even fight him, by the nature of how he appeared to play ball with them.

I used to have this karate instructor who told me to meditate on the phrase…

“The softest thing cannot be broken.”

I sat and repeated that to myself for years and never began to understand it.

Bernie Sanders taught me what that phrase means.

I wish Bernie would have pulled us all aside and said

“Psssst…here’s exactly what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.”

Then everyone would have supportive.

But he has to play the game and he played it at a master level.

Have faith.

The man has been fighting for you for fifty years and now suddenly he steers you wrong?

The man has so much integrity, that in the end, your criticisms actually expose more about you than they do about him.

And did you notice that all of the people close to Bernie ran over to Jill Stein and endorsed her, after Bernie endorsed Hillary?

Do you think maybe that this was BY DESIGN!!!

Do you think maybe that the plan was for Bernie to move the Democratic platform to the left in exchange for helping Hillary win in 2016, while those close to Bernie are supposed to help the rise of the Green Party simultaneously?

That’s why he started Our Revolution.

It’s to support down-ballot Progressive candidates REGARDLESS OF PARTY!!!

 

If we work hard to develop the Green Party then we have an insurance policy against Hillary’s lies.

If she breaks the platform promises then her favorability, even among die-hard Democrats will plummet and the Green Party will be in a position to win in 2020.

Bernie Sanders will be 78 years young in 2020 and I will be circulating a petition in 2019 for him to run as the Green Party President.

More people would vote him in 2020 then did in 2016 and I believe he will still be young enough to do it.

You saw him run to catch that train.

You saw him shooting hoops.

The man lives right and 78 is the new 68.

 

Stranger things have happened.

I feel your pain.

I share your pain.

If you believe in the Green Party then work hard to develop it, while simultaneously fighting for our Progressive values be it on the protest line, in your shopping habits or with your vote.

Sincerely,

Love Michael

daddyandchloe
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An Imaginary Interview with Bernie Sanders

art3

One of the things I admire most about Bernie Sanders is that he always sticks to issues and never throws anyone under the bus.

This is also one of the things about Senator Sanders that drove me crazy during his Presidential campaign.

So many debate parties, I would find myself screaming at the screen.

“Bernie, she’s lying!! Tear her apart!!”

But Bernie is a statesman and a gentleman and never strayed from the issues.

He spoke his truth and refused to engage in the mudslinging that has become synonymous with American politics.

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with a picture of Bernie Sanders and interviewing it.

Just to be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, this is not a real interview.

I am asking the questions and then answering them the way I believe that Bernie would answer them.

It is for entertainment purposes, but not ONLY for entertainment purposes.

My goal with this interview is to illuminate why I believe that Bernie made some of the choices that he made.

I am, in no way, trying to say that these are Bernie’s actual thoughts on the following matters.

But as we will probably never know what actually happened at the tail end of his campaign..

This might be as close as we ever get.

art4

The Independent Thinker: Hey Bernie! Thanks for being here today.

Bernie Sanders: I’m happy to be here.

Indie: You look great. You were starting to look pretty tired there towards the end.

Bernie: Thank you. To be honest. I was getting kind of tired. I’ve been getting more sleep lately.

Indie: Let’s get right to the tough questions. Do you feel that Hillary Clinton’s win in the Democratic primary was legitimate?

Bernie: Secretary Clinton received 3,000,000 more votes than we did. I believe that makes her the winner.

Indie: Okay, but you’re not really here. You’re just a picture, so if we could do away with some of the stock answers and just be completely honest, that’s what my readers are looking for. So I ask you again, do you feel that you lost the primary legitimately?

Bernie: Off the record?

Indie: Sure, I’m willing to lie and say ‘off the record’.

Bernie: Well in that case, there appeared to be some shenanigans taking place all over the country. I believe we had more voters in Kentucky and I believe exit polling showed a wide disparity in Massachusetts and in several other states.

Indie: So you are finally willing to say that the results of the primary were rigged?

Bernie: Off the record, I’m willing to say that some of the results should have been looked at a little deeper, yes.

Indie: Bernie, you are a picture. Hillary Clinton cannot have you killed. The worst thing that I can imagine happening is that maybe she would send some of her goons over here to rip up the picture. So can you stop being so diplomatic, just for the sake of the interview? Or I can just keep lying to you and saying ‘off the record’ if you prefer?

Bernie: I actually prefer that.

Indie: Okay, then the whole interview is off the record. Just know that I love you and it pains me to lie to you.

Bernie: That’s very nice. Thank you.

Indie: So?

Bernie: Look. I don’t want to mince words here. Secretary Clinton had access to the same voter information that we had. You were a canvasser. Is that correct?

Indie: Yes I was.

Bernie: Do you want to explain to your readers what you were able to see on your canvassing app?

Indie: Sure. Through the app, we could see the addresses of the voters, how they were registered and who they intended to vote for.

Bernie: And what did you do with that information?

Indie: We were instructed to knock on the doors of the registered Democrats who were “undecided” and tell them why they should vote for you.

Bernie: So you knew before each primary who was planning on voting for me and who was planning on voting for Secretary Clinton?

Indie: Yes. In fact on election day in Indiana, people were freaking out, because initially you were down by 10 points. People kept calling me. I told them all the same thing. I told them that you were going to win Marion County by a landslide and that ultimately you would win the state by about five points.

Bernie: And how much did we win by?

Indie: Five points.

Bernie: Secretary Clinton’s team had access to the same information you did.

Indie: So what happened then? The exit polling was way off in many states. Are you saying that the DNC had the votes flipped at the machines?

Bernie: I’m saying that, judging by exit polling, it appears that there were disparities.

Indie: Even off the record, your answers are pretty reserved.

Bernie: Would you like me to be more EXTREME?!! (with this Bernie lunges forward in his chair with wide eyes and expands his hands wildly.)

Indie: No. I appreciate your honesty. Moving on…you won 22 states. But I definitely noticed some odd trends. For example, you would win by a landslide in states like Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, then across the border in Arizona and Texas, you lost by a landslide. My theory is that Clinton’s team conceded the states with low delegate counts and only rigged the states with high delegate counts. Your thoughts?

Bernie: Different states have different demographics. Secretary Clinton did very well among Latinos in Arizona and Texas.

Indie: Fair enough. But what about the closed polling stations in Arizona? And remember, this is off the record.

Bernie: What happened in Arizona was a disgrace to Democracy. People waiting five hours in the heat, just to cast their vote? That’s not what America is about. That’s not what Democracy is about.

Indie: But do you feel that the DNC was behind the closed polling stations?

Bernie: I honestly don’t know, but anyone who makes it difficult for people to vote is a political coward.

Indie: And what about New York? Many of us believe that New York was the turning point of the election. 3.2 million registered voters were unable to vote for you there, due to being registered as Independent. There were thousands of people who claimed that their registrations were switched to Republican or back to Independent, after they had switched to Democrat in order to vote for you. Your thoughts?

Bernie: What happened in New York is that the state had a closed primary, with some kind of a ridiculously long period, something like six months ahead of time, required to switch your party registration in order to participate. As a result, millions of New York voters who wanted to vote for our campaign, were unable to, due to the fact that they were not registered with the Democratic Party. This is a very exclusive club. They don’t want just anybody voting in it.

Indie: So you are saying that you feel New York was a legitimate win for Clinton?

Bernie: We knew the rules when we got involved. We decided that our best course of action was to run under the Democratic Party rules and we knew that closed primaries were part of that. Would I like to see open primaries in every state in the union? Yes, but we knew the deck was stacked when we declared our candidacy.

Indie: Do you consider closed primaries to be undemocratic?

Bernie: They are “closed” to millions of voters. By their very definition they are undemocratic.

Indie: Did you ever consider saying publicly that you thought that there was election fraud?

Bernie: It’s a very complex issue. We challenged in Kentucky and the recount came back the same as the original count. If we come out and challenge the legitimacy of the primary, then this is a very serious charge. We need evidence. How do we get evidence? A man or woman walks into a booth and does something very personal and very private. Later on, maybe someone says that the numbers don’t add up, but how do you prove it? We couldn’t challenge the closed primary in New York. We agreed to play by the rules of the Democratic Party. There was a hearing in Arizona and the court ruled that the results were valid. An appeal would have taken months and more importantly would have alienated us further from the Democratic Party, who basically holds all the cards in this scenario. Had we made any such claims, we would have been laughed right out of the campaign. It’s easy to say that we should have rocked the boat, but we were sitting in the boat. Once we realized that we were not going to be treated as fairly as we had hoped, we realized that our best course of action was to try to get the Democratic Party to agree to as many platforms that would help the American people as we could and that’s exactly what we did.

Indie: What about the Brooklyn voter purge? It seems that all of the voters who were purged were planning to vote for you.

Bernie: Secretary Clinton’s team had access to the same information you did.

art8

Indie: Okay let’s talk about that. You concede that you were treated unfairly by the Democratic Party. You’ve been in politics a long time. You have always been an outsider. You’ve chosen to be an Independent in the Senate and ran for Governor in Vermont as a Democratic Socialist. You had to know that the Democratic Party was going to do everything in its power to stop you.

Bernie: We figured that they would make it difficult, yes.

Indie: You said over and over again that you were not just an issues candidate and that you believed that you were actually going to win. Knowing how corrupt the Democratic party has become, did you really expect that you were going to win?

Bernie: First off, let’s define “winning”. Did we gain the nomination? No. But we mobilized people. We exposed corruption in the party and now we have thousands of people running for Democratic office who are working to take the party back from the establishment. We are moving towards a living wage, Medicare for all..there is an initiative on the ballot in California which we are strongly supporting. This initiative would make everyone in America automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. We are now, for the first time in a long time, moving in the right direction for the working people in our country. I believe strongly that Secretary Clinton, with the right people in Congress, will make the right decisions to move these initiatives forward.

Indie: Okay. Let’s talk about that. A lot of people, like myself, who voted for you, can’t stomach the idea of voting for Hillary Clinton. She is literally the embodiment of everything we have fought against with your campaign. I have to say, I feel angry and betrayed by you asking me to vote for her. In fact, I refuse.

Bernie: I don’t want to mince words here. Secretary Clinton has her issues and there are many things that we disagree on, but she is not the direct opposite of what we have been fighting for. Donald Trump is. There are several things that the secretary and I agree on, whereas I disagree with Mr. Trump on practically every issue. Secretary Clinton supports a woman’s right to choose, whereas Mr. Trump says that women should be punished for having abortions, as if that choice isn’t hard enough. Secretary Clinton may have been late to the party on the rights of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, but at least she is now at the party. Donald Trump is a bigot and if he is allowed to nominate Supreme Court judges, we will lose everything that we have fought for over the past thirty years. I reject the idea that Secretary Clinton is my opposite.

Indie: Okay, I agree with that, but what about TPP? We know she secretly supports this awful trade agreement. Trump opposes TPP. Can’t I make the argument that it is better to have Trump than TPP?

Bernie: Do you know WHY the Republicans oppose TPP? Many oppose it because it is not powerful ENOUGH! They want to give corporations even more power than this disastrous trade agreement already gives them. Also you have may have noticed that our good friend, Mr. Trump, changes his position almost daily on every issue. So, no, I don’t believe we can trust Trump on TPP or anything else for that matter.

Indie: So what? Hillary becomes President and TPP is passed?

Bernie: If Secretary Clinton tries to pass TPP, you are going to fight her. I am going to fight her. 13 million people who voted for our campaign are going to fight her. And I am hoping, that whoever Americans decide to vote for in November for the House and Senate, will also oppose TPP. We have a real opportunity to defeat this bill if we all work together.

Indie: I’m still not voting for Hillary.

Bernie: That’s your choice.

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Indie: What are your thoughts on the Green Party movement?

Bernie: It’s a good movement. They have a strong platform. I can’t claim to be an expert on it. I think America needs a non-corporate party. The challenge they will run into, is that it takes billions of dollars to run a party and raising those kind of funds without corporate donors will be very difficult. I believe it can be done. We showed that you can run a very strong campaign without corporate donors and I wish the Green Party the best of luck. I’ve believed for a very long time that America needs to break out of the corporate two-party system.

Indie: So why didn’t you accept Jill Stein’s offer to head the Green Party? You had the popular vote. Bernie, it just kills me that you didn’t accept her offer. Please explain your thinking here.

Bernie: This is a very complex issue. It’s something that we explored and by ‘we’, I mean my wife, Jane, my friend and campaign manager, Jeff Weaver and some other key members of our staff and in the end we came to the conclusion that it would have had catastrophic results, not just for the American people, but ultimately for the Green Party as well.

Indie: Explain further please.

Bernie: Well, it’s wonderful to see that so many activists in the Green Party, many whom I suspect are the same activists who helped our campaign, have gone out and put in the legwork required to get the Green Party on the ballot in, what I believe now are 40 states. At the time the invitation was extended, I believe they were only on the ballot in 20 states. This shows me that people are serious about expanding a new party in this country and I strongly support that, but the Green Party, even bringing over our 13 million voters is simply not in position to make a serious run at taking over the government at this time.

Indie: Due to lack of funding?

Bernie: Due to many things. We already discussed that the Democratic Party doesn’t play fair. If I were on the Green Party ticket, do you think that they would be on the ballot in 40 states currently? Or do you think that the DNC lawyers would have started fighting our ballot access? And then we would have to go to court in multiple states at once and they would have stalled, which would have cost us millions. The Democrats have very deep pockets and they have been playing this game for a very long time. It is my belief that my joining the Green Party ticket would have done more harm than good, but I understand that our voters were not privy to these discussions that took place behind closed doors and due to the nature of my relationship with the Democratic Party, I was not able to come out and say too much about this, but I support what they are doing in the Green Party and I know that Our Revolution looks forward to supporting Green Party candidates for the House and Senate going forward.

Indie: Are those the only reasons?

Bernie: Those are the main reasons. Even being on the ballot in 40 states means that you automatically lose in ten states and that is extremely tough to overcome. Had the Democrats blocked our ballot access, then we would have had zero chance and I would have not only hurt the party, but I would have split the vote, which would have allowed Republicans to have total and complete control of our government, starting with Trump in the White House, complete control of the Supreme Court, possibly keeping control of the House and Senate. And then, let’s imagine that we were able to overcome all of that. Let’s imagine that we were able to get tens of millions of dollars in donations just to fight the Democrats in court and then somehow we get on the ballot in all 50 states and we win the Presidency, do you think the Democrats would have been happy about this? Do you think that the Democrats would have been willing to work with us on passing legislation?

Indie: No. They would have blocked everything you tried to pass.

Bernie: Every single piece of legislation that we tried to pass would have been obstructed. Would I be able to look to my cohorts in the Green Party to pass bills through the House and Senate? There aren’t very many Green Party members running for these seats. The party isn’t ready to take over the government at this time. Our best hope of political revolution is to use the resources of the Democratic Party to push a Progressive agenda. Had I accepted the incredibly gracious offer from Dr. Jill Stein, we would have lost all the progress that we made in getting the Democrats to agree to our platform.

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Indie: Regarding the platform. What is to stop Clinton from just sweeping it under the rug? We have seen her lie and flip-flop on positions repeatedly. How can you trust her?

Bernie: If the Democratic Party were going to do that, why did they fight us so hard on it? They refused our $15 per hour minimum wage and opted instead for a $12 per hour minimum. They refused to oppose TPP. They refused to oppose fracking, something that we pushed very hard for. And there were several other issues we disagreed on. The Democratic platform is the basis on which all future decisions of the party will be made. We fought very hard and got them to concede many things to us, but sure, if we just sit around and ignore the promises that were made, then what will happen is that corporate lobbyists will come in and influence Congress to pass bills that work against the best interest of the people. The platform is just the foundation, but IT IS a strong foundation. Now we have to elect people into Congress that will support our positions.

Indie: In 2008 Barack Obama had a fairly Progressive platform. It was pretty much ignored for eight years.

Bernie: Barack Obama is a friend of mine, but in my view, he made a YUGE mistake by not holding his constituents accountable. Not me, us. Not me, us. I keep saying it. One person, alone, in this government, can do very little, but when millions of people stand together there is literally nothing we cannot accomplish. Barack Obama stirred up the people of America and then when he was elected, they went back to their lives. They didn’t run for office. They didn’t pressure their government. They didn’t vote in midterm elections. As a result, Republicans controlled the House and Senate and obstructed his Presidency. That is one of the key differences between Barack Obama and myself. Our movement is one of tremendous activism. Not me, us. Go to https://ourrevolution.com/ and sign up today. Read the emails that we send out and take action. That’s what political revolution is all about.

Indie: Let’s talk briefly about Our Revolution. There was some dissension in the ranks over the appointment of Jeff Weaver as head of the group.

Bernie: That’s not uncommon. In politics it is very rare to have everyone agree on every issue. For whatever reason, the media decided to take that story and blow it way out of proportion.

Indie: But setting it up as a 501c4, allowing big donors to support the movement, doesn’t this go against everything that your campaign stood in opposition to?

Bernie: That depends on who the donors are and what they expect in return. During our presidential campaign, we had Nurses for Bernie, as well as several large labor organizations, that donated large sums of money to our campaign. We also had many other organizations attempt to donate large sums of money to our campaign and we refused their donations. What’s the difference? The difference is that we did not have to compromise even a little bit to accept the donations from the labor unions. We were already fighting for labor unions. We were already fighting for equal pay for women. We were already fighting for paid leave and a $15 per hour minimum wage. These groups wanted to help with that. We didn’t have to compromise our movement. I’ve known Jeff Weaver for a long time. He is a very close friend of mine. One of the reasons why I put him in charge is I know that if some corporation or large individual donor comes up and offers him money, he will let them know that there are no strings attached and if they do not accept this, he will do exactly what he did during our campaign. He will refuse to accept the money. Jeff is a man of great integrity.

Indie: But the 501c4 filing status made it to where you could not coordinate with Tim Canova. Many feel that this cost him the win in Florida.

Bernie: Tim Canova is a good man. He is exactly the kind of Progressive we need to take on the big money interests in Washington, but the fact of the matter is that the incumbent always has a tremendous advantage, due to name recognition and having the financial support of the establishment. While it is true that the filing status prevented us from coordinating with Tim’s campaign, I do not believe that flying to Florida and giving a few speeches would have been enough to change the outcome of that primary election.

Indie: I noticed on the Our Revolution website that Act Blue was taking donations. They also take donations for Hillary Clinton. Will any of the money donated to Our Revolution go to Hillary?

Bernie: Absolutely not. Every dime donated will go to support Progressive causes and Progressive candidates.

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Indie: I feel kind of embarrassed asking you this, but…

Bernie: I’m just a picture sitting on your desk. You’ve been sitting here talking to a picture for hours. How much worse could it get?

Indie: That’s a good point. I was…

Bernie: I just want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Are you off your meds again?

Indie: I’ve been off my meds for years now, Bernie. I meditate and do yoga daily. I also do Crossfit and eat a strict vegetarian diet. Political activism and being creative are also part of my program. I find with all these things, I no longer need to take my meds.

Bernie: Well, the fact remains that you are talking to a picture.

Indie: Can we get back to the interview please.

Bernie: It’s your article.

Indie: Okay, speaking of my sanity, I’m kind of embarrassed to ask you this, but my readers want to know. Did the DNC ever threaten you?

Bernie: Not directly, no.

Indie: They threatened you indirectly?

Bernie: Politics is a dirty game. I have been in the House and Senate for a long time. I’m the head of several subcommittees and I have a lot of relationships that I have developed over the years. As a result of these relationships, we are sometimes able to come to agreements on legislation and occasionally we can work together to get bills passed that help the American people. The Democratic establishment was growing tired of our campaign. They saw us as outsiders and their patience was wearing thin with our reluctance to concede and endorse Secretary Clinton. It was pretty clear that if I did not make the endorsement, then they were going to be unwilling to work with us going forward. On the other hand, we had some leverage within the Party. We had 13 million voters and I wasn’t going to abandon them, so we had a series of meetings in which we got the Party, as well as Secretary Clinton, to agree to push forward our initiatives in exchange for an endorsement.

Indie: But they also wanted a concession.

Bernie: Yes, but we were not prepared to do this.

Indie: Why endorse, but not concede?

Bernie: What if something were to happen to Secretary Clinton, God forbid? She has various issues with her emails and such. We wanted to be in position to take over the nomination, should she not be able to fulfill it for whatever reason.

Indie: At the convention, you asked if Vermont could go last during the roll call. After 49 states had voted and it became clear that the super-delegates had pledged to Hillary, you grabbed the microphone and suspended the rules. Why didn’t you just concede?

Bernie: We didn’t want to surrender our delegates. I wish Secretary Clinton all the best, but if she were unable to fulfill her duties, we wanted to be sure that we were next in line to take over.

Indie: Okay, I’m embarrassed to ask this, but there was a rumor circulating that you or your family were threatened physically and that is why you endorsed Hillary.

Bernie: That’s preposterous.

Indie: At the convention, you had a mark on your face. I believe this was the genesis of the rumor. Care to comment on the mark?

Bernie: Let me ask you something. I assume you did some research on me before this interview?

Indie: I’m a huge fan. I’ve read your book. I know more about you than I know about all my friends put together.

Bernie: In any of that reading and researching, did I strike you as the kind of guy who could be bullied or the kind of guy who would succumb to threats?

Indie: No. I never believed any of that stuff. I am just asking for my readers.

Bernie: Sometimes we let our imaginations get away from us.

Indie: One last question.

Bernie: Go!

Indie: Can I get a hug?

Bernie: Get over here.

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How Bernie Sanders Saved My Life

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I apologize to those who follow me on social media.

I’ve been pretty angry lately.

My grief stages seem to have no particular order and every time I think I have worked out one, it comes back again, stronger than before.

I’m still trying to make sense of this journey.

I remember May of 2015, sprinting excitedly towards my girlfriend’s house.

I felt like a little kid, I was so excited.

She answered the door and I exclaimed..

“There’s this guy. He’s a Senator from Vermont. He’s amazing. I signed this petition last year, asking him to run for President and today he announced that he was going to run.”

We drank our coffee and I told Carrie what little bit I knew about him at the time.

I told her about his career fighting for social justice and some of the platforms he was running on.

I remember saying…

“We have one year to tell everyone in the country about him. Everyone who hears about him will vote for him.”

Although I was a political activist at the time, I never really paid attention to candidates.

I voted a straight Democratic ticket and invested most of my time on issues.

As the parent of a daughter who is very active in the LBGT+ community, in a state where Mike Pence is the governor, I spent a lot of my activist time working on equality issues.

I had never been excited about a candidate before, but Bernie Sanders lit a fire under me.

I agreed completely with every one of his platforms and I had already seen the videos of him speaking to empty rooms and defending gays on the Senate floor.

I told Carrie that I was going to dedicate the next year of my life to getting this great man elected.

“Bernie Sanders is on the right side of every single issue that I’ve spent my life fighting for” I said.

I went to the website and signed up to volunteer.

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I went to a meeting.

There was someone there selling shirts and handouts that had Bernie’s platforms on them.

I bought a shirt.

It said “Ask Me About Bernie” on both sides.

I went to a street festival that weekend and wore the shirt.

Nobody knew who Bernie was.

People kept asking me about the shirt and I would hand them a flyer.

I was incredibly afraid that people would ask me questions, because I knew that I was not knowledgeable enough to answer most of them.

There were two separate Republicans who cornered me that evening.

They asked me a lot of questions in a very hostile way.

I had to admit to both of them that I did not know these answers.

I wrote down their questions and took their phone numbers.

I went home and looked up the answers.

I called both of them the next day.

One said “Fuck off, Commie!!” and hung up the phone.

The other sat down with me and we talked.

He ended up voting for Bernie.

I’m still friends with him to this day.

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I was abused as a child and as a result, I have struggled with some pretty severe social anxiety issues as an adult.

There were several years, where I only left the house to go to my job and I kept myself completely isolated otherwise.

I saw a series of therapists.

All of them helped me immensely.

Thanks to my children being born and complications with the mother, that resulted in me raising them alone, I had gotten used to living outside my comfort zone.

I would get them signed up for school and take them to their friend’s birthday parties and all the things you have to do in order to appear to be a fully functioning adult, but I would do these things while having severe panic attacks.

I kept the attacks hidden.

I didn’t want my children to grow up anxious.

But part of keeping them a secret was to stay away from people as much as I possibly could, so when Bernie Sanders started his presidential run, I knew right away that this was going to be a YUGE challenge for me.

What I didn’t know is that 15 months later, much of my anxiety would be alleviated by the experiences I had while volunteering for this great man.

I had no way of anticipating that I was about to embark upon a journey that would introduce me to thousands of Americans who loved their country and wanted to make it a better place to live.

As I was standing in the middle of FDR park in Philadelphia, just a month ago, after Bernie had been cheated out of the Democratic nomination…

As I was standing there watching hundreds of people crying..

While tears streamed down my own cheeks, I actually had the thought..

“I never thought I could feel so comfortable in a crowd this large.”

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At the campaign office in Columbus, Ohio

 

Carrie is an artist and she is always heading out to some festival or another.

Definitely not my scene, but I started tagging along and wearing my Bernie shirt.

Each week, I was more and more prepared for the questions people would ask me.

Living in Indiana, I would get a lot of angry Trump voters coming at me.

Many of them were incredibly hostile.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but I would sit in the parking lot before I would go into these festivals and smoke pot, which seems insane, because marijuana really aggravates my anxiety and causes me tremendous paranoia.

But it also accentuates my empathy and I found that it helped me listen to people and get past their hostility and really feel what they were saying.

So these Trump voters would come at me with all this hostility and I would be feeling completely paranoid.

But I was able to work through that and feel their fear and have empathy for them.

I gave up on any idea of converting them and just started listening.

As a result, many of them would vent for a minute and once they realized that I actually cared about them, they would start to ask me questions.

I was able to have really deep connections with the voters in my city and made friends with people who I would have stereotyped and ignored previously.

Walls started coming down around my heart.

I started to feel more confident.

Then the guy from the national campaign came in.

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It was a Wednesday night and I was already exhausted.

There was a Bernie meeting with a guy from the national headquarters.

I kept falling asleep during the meeting.

The movement had grown and there were about 100 people there, when just a few months before there had only been 10-15.

The meeting was in regards to getting Bernie Sanders on the ballot in Indiana.

He told us that we had to collect 500 signatures in each Congressional district, but that he preferred that we collect 1000, because Indiana was not excited about having a Socialist on the ballot and that they would do anything they could to disqualify the signatures.

He started asking if there were any volunteers and gradually people agreed to take on certain districts.

I kept dozing off.

Between snoozes, I noticed that he kept talking about district 5.

“So no one wants to take district 5?” the guy asked.

Some important looking guy in a suit said..

“There are some challenges with that district. It’s all Republican and it’s rural. There are vast distances between the houses and they don’t take kindly to Socialism.”

I raised my hand..

“So what happens if we are unable to collect the 1000 signatures from that district?”

The guy said

“Then Bernie is not on the ballot in Indiana and he will automatically forfeit this state and have reduced chances of becoming president.”

I raised my hand again.

“You have another question?” the guy asked.

“No.” I said “I am raising my hand to volunteer to get the signatures for district 5.”

Everyone in the place turned to look at me.

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I assembled a team and we headed out to district 5.

It was not easy.

The mere mention of Bernie Sanders caused these wealthy Republicans to become hostile.

We were called lots of names and threatened in various ways.

One guy, who informed me that he was a county chair said..

“I hate Socialism and I LOVE The Constitution. I particularly love The Second Amendment. Do you know what I mean when I say that?”

When he walked away I turned to my daughter and said

“Those people would own slaves if it were still legal.”

They were seriously scary people and refused to sign our ballot initiative.

They were openly hostile to us.

Finally I came up with an idea.

I started saying

“Excuse me. Do you have 30 seconds to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

People would stop and laugh.

I would then make the point that “Bernie may be a Socialist, but he’s still better than Hillary.” and then I would add that “The one thing I respect about Republicans is that they believe in real democracy and that ALL people deserve the right to run for office.”

This locked them in and they started reluctantly signing.

Then Cherish (far left in the picture) started going in public places and collecting signatures until they kicked her out.

She did this over and over again.

She was a machine.

She wouldn’t stop.

She got kicked out of every place in the district.

But we got the signatures and Bernie won Indiana!!

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“We need to go to Iowa.” I said, walking into the bedroom where Carrie was folding clothes.

“Okay.” she said.

Carrie knows me and she knows how I fear new places.

She also knows that I hate driving long distances.

For me to say that we needed to go to Iowa, was similar to me saying that we should build a rocket and head to Europa.

“It’s a very tight race there. I need to get there and help however I can. If you can’t get off work, I understand, but I need to go. If we win Iowa and New Hampshire we can build momentum. Iowa is the key to the entire race.”

The next morning we loaded up the kids and headed out.

When we arrived at the campaign center they told us that Bernie was across the street about to speak.

We went into a small room.

About 600 people were packed in.

I didn’t even know Bernie was in Iowa and suddenly, unexpectedly, here he was speaking to me in a small room.

Afterwards Bernie headed for the exit while people pushed through to try to shake his hand.

I was just a few feet away from him, but I didn’t want to cut in front of anyone.

Instead I had my daughter walk up to the podium and I snapped this picture.

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When I started writing this, I thought that I was going to write a short synopsis of the highlights of the past 15 months.

I decided to write it because I wanted to stop talking about politics in theoretical terms and share a personal story, because I feel like our movement has really lost direction over the last couple of months and I was hoping maybe that humanizing it some might help somehow.

But I can’t do it.

I look at my word count and it says I am already at 2000.

I was about to start into the story of how my son got very sick on our way home from Iowa and how our journey there, in effect, saved his life.

I wanted to talk about how I got to be in charge of helping the handicapped to their seats in Columbus, Ohio at a Bernie rally with 18,500 people and how their stories touched me so much.

I wanted to talk about how my daughter and I became so good as a canvassing team, that we were able to flip people to Bernie using methods that we invented from trial and error.

But, I know you are busy.

I know you don’t have time to read an entire book on your phone or laptop screen right now, so I will just obliterate the fourth wall and wrap this up.

I wanted to share some measure of myself today, in hopes that maybe it would help me to get grounded in gratitude for the incredible journey that we have all been on and also so that maybe we could facilitate some healing.

I don’t want to tell people that they should get over their anger.

Everyone has their own grief timeline.

I’m not even close to getting over mine and I knew that this was over since we were cheated in New York.

I just hope that when the anger goes away, people don’t just give up and walk away bitter, having learned all the wrong lessons.

I am extremely sad about the events that lead us to this moment.

But I am also gradually rediscovering the hope and gratitude I had a year ago.

I know so many of you personally and many who I only know virtually I still count among my best friends.

You sacrificed so much and I feel your pain.

I really want to thank you for everything you have done for this movement of revolution and compassion.

I want to thank you for what you have done for me personally.

Those of you who extended your homes to me and my family so that we could go out and canvass in your area…

I cannot tell you what that means to me.

We honestly were so broke that we didn’t even have the money for a hotel half the time, so we literally could not have had this journey without you.

For those of you who have taken the time to send me your personal stories, please know that I have read every single one of them and have discussed them with my family, often breaking down into tears while doing so.

I can’t tell you the healing that your passion and kindness has given me.

I am ten times the man I was a year ago, thanks to you.

I know how hard it was to donate to the campaign, when you were trying to figure out how you were going to pay your electric bill.

Thank you for doing that.

I know hard it was to get over your fear and phone-bank.

Thank you so much for doing that, as well.

I know it is a scary thing to knock on a stranger’s door, having no idea what their reaction will be.

You are absolutely my hero for doing this.

I know these are dark times.

I know that it is extremely hard to make sense of how millions of people could try so hard, only to get so close and be cheated.

It’s completely natural to want to just give up after this, but don’t.

In time, you will see that we achieved far more than we realized.

Thank you from my whole heart.

I love you all.

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