As I reflect back over 2016, I feel a deep sadness, for what might have been and for the beautiful people who worked so hard, giving time, money, sweat and tears to the cause of getting Bernie Sanders elected to the presidency.
I feel for my sisters and brothers, because I know that it would be very easy to feel defeated, after such a historic rise and subsequent crashing and burning of what was the greatest political campaign of many of our lifetimes.
I understand that our planet’s outlook never looked bleaker, with a madman in charge of our military and his band of billionaires planning to gut our country’s economy to line their coffers.
I fear that many people will turn away from politics, with an awful taste in their mouth and never return.
And who could blame them?
It is incredibly difficult to battle the creeping death of cynicism, when you see the American dream sold to multinational corporations. It is hard to believe that you have any real power, when you worked for a just cause, only to have victory stolen away from you by a lying, cheating, corporate party that was supposed to represent our ideals, but instead silenced our voices.
If the tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Do you even have a voice when your government is owned by billionaires?
There are many reasons to bow down to our own helplessness. We could be like Hillary Clinton and lock ourselves away and selfishly cry about our loss, but somehow, through wisdom or delusion, I come out of this mess feeling optimistic.
I feel excited, because I have seen how hard they had to fight to silence us.
I know that Americans are awake like they have never been before and I know that positive change is inevitable.
As I type this, Bernie Sanders is on the Senate floor, using his now prominent voice to shake things up. He came out with a giant poster board, featuring a tweet from Donald Trump, challenging him to tell the House and Senate that he had already promised not to cut Social Security or Medicaid.
Bernie is a master-level strategist and knows that Trump’s huge ego provides a convenient lever by which to manipulate him.
Bernie does not intend to rest and we won’t either.
Sanders has an army of well-trained political revolutionaries.
All Trump has is a huge ego and a job he doesn’t know how to do.
Trump is rudderless.
He has no direction.
Sanders recognizes this and will spend the next four years battling him tooth and nail. But Sanders is nothing without us. His power comes from having millions of people at the ready, willing to stand up and fight for political revolution.
A few days before the Trump-tweet speech, House Republicans voted to get rid of an independent ethics committee. No sooner had they passed the legislation, than phones in state-houses all over the nation began ringing. The constituents were outraged. Trump himself tweeted that he felt that House Republicans should be focused on bigger issues.
House Republicans backed down.
Sanders had barely had time to express his disagreement, before the phone calls started coming in and this is exactly the way he wants it. Sanders wants his revolutionaries to make decisions for themselves.
The time for hand-holding is over.
When Sanders stood on podiums all over America and repeatedly said “Not me, us.” and “When millions of people stand together…” he was not telling us just to elect him. Sanders was striking at something much greater.
He was demanding that Americans get out of their comfort zones and take their government back.
Bernie babied us for eighteen months and taught us how to stand up and take our first steps, but now with the country in the hands of greedy men, who would take us back to the stone ages, if we allowed them to, Sanders is now pointing his mighty finger and ordering his troops to march into battle.
Sanders is fighting the GOP with his right hand and rebuilding the Democratic Party with his left.
Sanders movement has grown in power. No longer are his followers political neophytes. They have grown in knowledge and in number.
Sanders’ revolution is alive and well.
As the GOP crumbles and the Democratic Party is rebuilt in his image, America is primed to become the Progressive Socialist country that Sanders envisioned.
But revolution takes time and hard work.
It is not for the meek.
The Trump-tweet speech is the template for what it means to be a political revolutionary over the next four years.
Trump and the GOP are not on the same page and Sanders knows this and will exploit it at every given opportunity.
By standing up and saying “This is what Trump promised his voters”, Sanders not only rallies his band of rebels, but also paints Trump into a corner with his own followers. Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP are actively involved in a tug-of-war against the very people who voted Trump into office, demanding Trump carry out their agenda, but Trump actually cares about what the masses think. This is why he is constantly involved in Twitter wars. No enemy is too small for this tiny excuse for a man and Sanders knows this and is already showing that he will use it to control Trump’s maneuverings.
In decades past, Trump would have played ball with the GOP and signed backroom deals and millions of people would have lost their health coverage, but now Sanders has the attention of the people and he will use his powerful voice to expose every single misstep by Trump and as The Donald does not like to be embarrassed, he will be jumping through hoops to please Sanders or else face the wrath of his legions.
Before his presidential run Sanders was just a minor annoyance, a punchline for corrupt politicians.
Now he is literally the voice of The People.
Trump was actually planning on cutting Social Security and Medicaid. Now if he does, millions of his voters will know exactly who to thank for their hardships and many will punish the GOP during the 2018 midterms.
Sanders knows that The House can swing to the left in 2018.
He played ball with the Democrats and made himself the most powerful voice in politics.
Now he is using that voice to orchestrate master-level moves, under extremely hostile conditions.
Sanders knows Trump talks out of both sides of his mouth. Trump literally has made his billions being a professional liar, but this is not real estate, this is politics and Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump in a political chess match is a one-sided affair.
Trump isn’t even in office yet and already the battle has begun.
And when Trump backs down and 22 million Americans get to keep their healthcare, then you will know beyond any shadow of a doubt, who the real President is.
As if there was ever any doubt.