I met the amazing people pictured above a year ago, today, at a Bernie Sanders rally in Columbus, Ohio where I was a volunteer, working the door.
I spoke with them before I took this picture and listened to their story.
They felt a renewed spirit and were overwhelmed with joy that they were fortunate to live long enough to see real change in their lifetimes.
I had the good fortune to spend a year of my life talking daily with such beautiful people and listening to them talk about their dreams for a better America.
As I walked them to their seats, I looked outside and could see people lined up all the way to the horizon.
A girl who was volunteering with me said..
“Amazing, right? The line on the other side of the building is just as long.”
I really enjoyed that day.
As I greeted the 18,500 people that came through the door (they had to turn thousands of others away) I couldn’t help but notice the diversity of races and ages.
At the time the corporate media had been hammering home the lie that Sanders was not a real option for president and basically dismissed him as a rock star who appealed only to foolish white kids who simply just didn’t know any better.
This was their attempt to discourage minorities and the disenfranchised from supporting Sanders.
Ironically, the disenfranchised were the very people he represented.
As I watched Muslims, Christians and Jews enter, united by the common values of political revolution, a cage I had kept around my heart began to rust and fall apart.
As I watched people come in with their “Queers for Bernie” shirts and saw a group of punks with Mohawks enter wearing classic punk t-shirts with the sleeves torn off and the designs altered to indicate their support for Senator Sanders, I was reminded of the stories the elders in my Sunday school classes had uploaded into my malleable young mind about a man who came to represent the poor and destitute, a story I had stopped believing years ago after viewing the daily visage of a world gone to hell, where the rich profit from the broken backs and spilled blood of the impoverished.
Now, my cynical heart renewed by seeing the vision of a people united with a common vision, I choked back tears and continued greeting The People.
A woman in a wheelchair needed assistance.
I pushed her to her seat while tears streamed down her cheeks.
“I’ve seen so much meanness in my life, but never have I been in a place with so much love.” she said.
I walked back to the front gate, where the Secret Service were checking people in, turned to the girl working the gate with me and naively said..
“I guess we know who the next president is going to be.”
And there it is…
I feel it welling up inside of me, chasing away the positive feelings I had from this event, dropping a gray film over the entire memory and then replacing it with red anger that makes me want to crush the “Democratic” Party that pissed on our hopes and laughed at our dreams.
I think about the days spent with incredible people who were naive enough to believe that we could save America and become enraged when I think about how it was impossible for us to overcome the wicked arms of the corporate media..
I remember the dreams put on the shelf, so we could volunteer our time for the greater good..
I remember the belts tightened as millions of poor people skipped meals in order to send in their $27 every week..
I remember these things that once brought me joy and I watch the good feelings migrate into unfathomable anger.
We watched CNN broadcast the $uperdelegate totals 24 hours a day, months before they had even pledged, in their attempts to deceive perspective voters.
I was there during the coinflips in Iowa where Hillary Clinton supposedly won six out of six flips to win the state.
I was also in Iowa when Clinton volunteers showed up in red uniforms to fool the caucusers into…
You know what?
I don’t even want to talk about it!
That’s not why I started writing this.
In fact, I am getting caught up in the very opposite of what I wanted to say.
I’m taking a breath.
There’s too much work to do to allow myself to waste time with anger.
Our movement has changed.
What was once a movement based on hope has become a movement based on rage.
And while I fully accept that anger is an important part of our movement, we cannot allow it to consume our movement.
Anger is a fast burning fuel that leaves the vessel exhausted and clouds the thinking of those feeling it and while there is no doubt that our anger is justified, I know that this is not a message that we are going to be able to use to elevate our movement to the place it needs to be.
In short, we need the carrot AND the stick.
We not only need to rage against the fascist, corporate machine, but we also need to be inspired by the greater vision that Bernie Sanders used to wake up the masses.
It is not enough to attend town halls and scare the hell out of our so called “representatives”.
It is not enough to focus on what we do not want.
We must also be constantly inspired by that which we DO want.
It is not enough to oppose tax cuts for the rich.
We must also be inspired to pursue our goal of universal healthcare for all citizens.
It is not enough to oppose private prisons that literally make billions off the suffering of The People.
We must also be focused on our vision of a society that would give every citizen access to clean water, proper nutrition and a top-flight education that leads to jobs that make America an amazing place to live.
Because when we live in anger, we live in reaction.
Real power comes from action, not reaction.
Bernie Sanders brought a vision to America that was inspiring and then we watched as the establishment used all of it’s power to destroy that vision.
But they cannot do it without your compliance.
WE decide the world we create.
WE gave the establishment its power and WE will take it away from them.
The Revolution is ongoing, but it cannot run on anger alone.
It needs a hybrid blend that mixes in inspiration as well.
If we forget that, we lose everything.
Be inspired, my friends.
I know it doesn’t seem like it…
But we are winning.