Some asshole stole my Bernie Sanders yard sign last night.
That’s number eight.
I’ve got one more around somewhere.
I used to have a trunk full of them.
I would knock on your door, some crazy forty-year old guy, with shaggy hair..
You’d tell me that you were planning to vote for Hillary Clinton, we’d talk for 15 or 20 minutes and at the end of our conversation, I’d get one of those signs out of my trunk and we’d plant it in your yard and you’d be excited about it.
I take no credit for this.
It wasn’t like I was some great salesman.
I just memorized the facts and had a conversation and my new friend just came to the logical conclusion that Bernie Sanders was a much better candidate than Hillary Clinton on every level.
In fact, once you had heard the gospel according to Bernie Sanders, you were kind of embarrassed that you had ever even considered voting for Sillary.
If I was at all effective in converting souls to Sanders, it was because of the religious-type fervor I felt for the absolute righteousness of Sanders unflappible ethics, which filled my body with energy that radiated from my eyes, like that of a newly baptized person born in the deep South.
And yet I was an atheist.
I gave so many of those signs away…
And now I have one left..
Tucked away in a closet somewhere.
I will find it and plant it in the yard as a monument to my stubbornness and my absolute refusal to quit.
And when they steal this one, there will be no more.
We will have to go back to making them, like we did before the campaign centers opened and the website took weeks to ship them…
Carrie would take old political campaign signs, turn them inside out, and spray-paint over a Bernie stencil she made.
She would hand them out at debate parties.
Our house was full of amazing new people for a solid year.
What an odd turn of events for me, the paranoid, who didn’t really like people, to fall in love with so many strangers.
What a beautiful thing for people to open their homes to my children and I, to feed us, to provide us a place to rest, all because we had one incredible thing in common.
Perhaps the sign-thief was trying to help me move on.
Perhaps it was a misguided gesture of compassion.
Maybe it was some ignorant Trump supporter who thinks that Democratic Socialism means that you can take whatever you want from whoever you want, so he thought he was being witty by teaching me a lesson, when I already knew that the world was full of overconfident morons with boundary issues, so no lesson was learned.
Or possibly, it was a Hillary Clinton supporter who was eaten up with guilt each day, as they drove past my sign and were reminded of how their choice to be WITH HER was condoning lying and cheating and murder and everything else that is bullshit in this awful/awesome world and my sign reminded them that supporting this cheater of Democracy meant they didn’t have the moral authority on any issue, ever again, for the rest of their FUCKING LIFE!!!
Or perhaps the wind blew it away…I don’t know.
But I’ve got another one.
And I’m going to put it out tomorrow morning.
Because I’m completely in denial and I plan to stay that way for the rest of my life.
I refuse to accept that the world is a shit-hole.
I refuse to accept that evil wins.
I’m going to be 80 years old and still have some form of Bernie Sanders sign in my yard and the kids in the neighborhood will call me Old Man Sanders and tell legends about me.
And I will do things to encourage the legends, even though I’ll still be like a super-nice guy and all..
But I won’t want to disappoint them, so I’ll play screaming sounds out of speakers in my basement and let spider-webs grow all over my house…maybe wear an eye-patch…I don’t know, but whatever kind of stuff creepy old guys that live in haunted houses in the year 2053 do, that’s the kind of stuff I’ll do.
The kids will dare each other to steal my Bernie Sanders yard sign and each time they do, I will make an even scarier looking Bernie sign and one of the kids will double-down on the dare and say that “if you sleep with the stolen sign under your mattress then Old Man Sanders will appear at the foot of your bed…”
Then another kid will say..
“You guys are stupid. The man who lives in that house isn’t named Bernie Sanders. He just likes Bernie Sanders. Don’t you guys ever read cyber-books on your ocular implant?! You know the way our world is today? With the flying cars and no war and everybody being fed and loved and living to be 500 years old and terraforming other planets and bending space/time and with statues of Neil Degrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and Carl Sagan everywhere? Bernie Sanders was the guy who started all that. Before Bernie Sanders human beings were tore up from the floor up.”
And yeah, in the future, kids are going to say “tore up from the floor up.”
I know that no one has said that in like ten years, but it’s going to come back in a YUGE way in like forty-years, so remember that I predicted that.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!!
“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.
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.
As I pissed away my precious time looking at memes I did not understand and kittens I could not pet, I was interrupted by a loud
I looked up to see a police officer towering over me.
“You aren’t allowed to have that in here!!”
He was pointing at my tablet.
I contemplated my next maneuver.
Who was this pathetic little man in front of me?
Without that badge and gun, I bet he wouldn’t be so brave?
Understanding the rules of society and my lack of power in the situation, I contemplated my choices.
I really needed to get those forms.
I drove all the way down here.
And now this bully was throwing a monkey wrench in my day.
There were several hours of people in the queue ahead of me and I had neglected to bring a book.
If I had to put my tablet away, I would just have to stare into space the entire time.
There was only one intelligent choice.
“I’m sorry.” I said “I didn’t know.” and closed my tablet without a trace of attitude.
He walked away feeling like a big man.
Without anything to distract me, I was forced to watch the other people waiting.
I wondered about their lives.
A man, about my age, walked in and pulled a number.
He had a tattoo of a razor-blade across his Adam’s apple.
He sat down and pulled out his phone.
The officer had a chance to feel worthwhile again.
He walked briskly from the corner until his crotch was even with the razor-blade man’s face.
“You can’t have that in here!!”
The man looked up.
There was no processing options.
He knew exactly what to do.
“Oh, Super-Cop, eh?!!” he said, standing up.
Then he added
“I don’t need this shit!!” and then “Fuck you!!” halfheartedly under his breath as he walked away.
The cop stared daggers in the man’s back and fingered his taser.
The cop thought better of it.
The razor-blade man escaped unharmed.
Eventually my number was called.
I had my meeting and all went well.
Because I went to the meeting my son will be able to get the medicine he needs to stay alive.
I wondered about what I would say to my son, had I chosen to rebel against the power-mad cop.
I contemplated a world in which some men have dominance over others and how to navigate such an unfair existence.
I thought about Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the turmoil our country as been in, as a result of our Schizophrenic presidential election.
I thought about my friends who supported Bernie Sanders in such an extreme way, that adjusting to the reality of a Hillary Clinton presidency has them angry and depressed.
I wondered if the same energy required to force real change in our government would doom that energy to implode if the leadership went missing.
I remembered when my friend said “Bernie or Bust is basically the Tea Party of the Left.”
I remembered being annoyed and saying..
“If you mean that we are pulling the Democratic Party to the left the way The Tea Party pulled the Republicans to the right, then sure.”
“That’s exactly what I mean.” he said “The Democratic Party has moved to the right as well. The Bernie Sanders campaign is about overpowering the movement of the Koch Brothers and the 1%. It’s directly opposite. Your movement is strong, because it is radical, but never lose sight that the ultimate goal is to move the party back to the left.”
He was right.
The Democratic Party is broken.
It’s neoliberal centrism no longer represents our values.
It’s so controlled by corporate interests, that it often neglects to represent the people.
So those who are justifiably angry at the Democratic Party have some choices to make and they have to make them fast.
November is looming.
435 House seats and 34 Senate seats are up for grabs.
The chance to usher in a new Progressive age in America is at hand.
And Bernie Sanders army of supporters are in complete control of our country’s destiny.
But the Bernie people are angry and they should be.
They were mistreated.
They were silenced.
The election deck was stacked against them and what makes matters worse is that they are 100% correct about the flaws of Hillary Clinton.
They are right to criticize her hawkish war record.
They are right to demand her Wall Street transcripts.
They are right not to trust her, when she has repeatedly lied to them.
Many are angry that Sanders did not join with Jill Stein and get revenge on the Democrats for short-changing him.
But developing a third-party is a lot more than just running a President.
If you are serious about developing the Green Party, phone-banking, donating and canvassing are not enough.
If you are serious about developing the Green Party, then you need to make sure that there are Green Party candidates running for the important offices in your area.
And if there are not, then you need to run yourself.
If by some incredible set of circumstances, Jill Stein were able to win the Presidency, what would she be able to accomplish without a sympathetic House and Senate?
Do you have Green Party candidates running for Congress in your district?
Most districts do not.
So what’s the strategy?
How do we continue our Progressive momentum without supporting a candidate who represents everything we stand against?
We must decide and fast.
Because allowing Republicans to control Congress will absolutely destroy everything we have worked for.
What are the maneuvers that will optimize the progress we have made to this point?
Time for Independents and Greens to make some tough choices.
We only have two months to decide the fate of the world.
So am I telling you that you should vote for Hillary Clinton?
You can do whatever you want.
It’s your vote.
I will be voting for Dr Jill Stein, even though I do not believe she has a legitimate shot to win.
I am voting for her, because I want to see more options on my ballot going forward.
I do not want another choice between a warmonger and a reality TV star.
I am voting for Jill Stein because Hillary Clinton and the DNC burned all their bridges with me.
I am voting for Jill Stein because she is the candidate who most closely represents my values.
I understand why Sanders endorsed Clinton.
He accepted the fact that the system was rigged against him, so he traded his 13 million votes towards a Progressive agenda, knowing that if we did our jobs in November, Clinton would be locked into supporting our positions or she would accomplish absolutely nothing during her one-term presidency.
Sure she is a liar, but she will not be a very effective one with a Congress full of Progressives.
As much as I hate that Clinton and the corrupt DNC’s cheating will be rewarded with the presidency, I will not compound this problem, by allowing her to run amok and do whatever she pleases.
Instead we need to insure that she works for us.
There are ways to force her to keep her word.
If you agree that Hillary is untrustworthy, then you must also agree that it is incumbent upon us to make sure we are pulling the strings that control her.
It is entirely possible to support Jill Stein and the Green Party, while promoting down-ballot candidates that further the values Sanders and his supporters worked so incredibly hard for.
If you want to vote for Jill, then you should.
Vote for Jill Stein to send a message to the DNC and Hillary Clinton that we do not approve of the way we have been treated.
Vote for Jill Stein because she has good policies.
Vote for Jill Stein because part of bringing the Democrats to the left is giving them competition from the left.
But how do Progressives vote in the down-ballot races where there aren’t any Green or Independent candidates to choose from?
Are we so angry with the DNC that we are going to refuse to vote entirely, thereby allowing the Republicans to keep control of Congress?
Because if we do that, we will lose everything we fought for and Bernie traded in his 13 million votes for nothing.
It seems to me that the most logical way to vote for these open seats is to vote in the way that binds Hillary Clinton to Progressive policies, while taking away her ability to repeat her hawkish patterns.
If we have Progressives in the House and Senate then we have complete control over her.
We can stop her from passing TPP.
We can stop her from declaring war.
We can even block her Supreme Court nominees if need be.
I am sorry that I cannot stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.
We all did everything we could.
Many of us went to Philadelphia to protest this heinous corruption.
I was hoping that we could get enough people there to shut down the city and for one night we actually did, but in the end there simply weren’t enough of us.
If you want to start occupying major cities and demand a Hillary Clinton indictment, then I am right there with you.
But if you aren’t willing to do that, then you are going to have to control the other branches of government and that means voting Progressives into every office.
If your area doesn’t have any true Progressives running, then you will have to make a decision on whether to vote for the most Progressive candidate or to simply run yourself.
We cannot allow Hillary Clinton to start any more wars.
We cannot allow Hillary Clinton to give tax breaks to her wealthy friends.
We will support Progressive candidates, regardless of what party they are affiliated with, because that is the only way to keep a reign on her.
Not voting is not an option.
We’ve come too far..
And this election is simply too important to throw away.
I heard about you and Jane buying a new home on the beach and I couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about you out there chillin, grandkids running around, toes in the sand, drinking a Heady Topper or two, or three, or four, reflecting over the past year and a half.
Even though I dedicated my entire life to getting you elected, there was always this small part of me that wanted you to just go home and relax.
I worried about you.
You were working so hard that I feared that you would burn yourself out.
So the thought of you relaxing makes me extremely happy.
A few months ago, you asked me to vote for Hillary Clinton and because I hold you in such high esteem, I actually considered it.
I read the articles you wrote about it and I agree with you on many points.
It’s true, that if Donald Trump were to become president, America would be in for some hard times.
I read your book and I remember the sleepless nights you had agonizing over endorsing Bill Clinton, while the raccoon stirred in your attic.
I remember that you ultimately endorsed him, because you knew that Bob Dole would cut Social Security, but then you seemed to have some regret over it once NAFTA was enacted.
I know a lot of fair-weather people turned on you after the Hillary endorsement, but not me.
I totally get it.
You were in a really tough position and I admire you for doing what you felt was best.
But I can’t bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton.
The time for lesser-evilism is over.
Times are desperate.
“Enough is enough.” right?
“Millions of people standing together.” right?
“Political revolution.” right?
I have imaginary conversations with you all the time.
We are sitting on the beach, waves calmly crashing into the shore.
Killer Mike is on his way over with a blunt behind his ear.
Mike and I are going to walk on down the beach and build up an appetite, before we start grilling out.
We will invite you to walk with us, but you will stay back and get the fire started.
In our conversations, you tell me why it is important to vote for Hillary and I tell you why I struggle with this idea.
You talk to me about the importance of Supreme Court judges and I agree with you completely, but I have to counter with Hillary Clinton’s support for TPP.
You and I both know that Clinton is the Trojan horse for this horrible trade agreement.
You and I both know that she is lying about opposing it.
You and I both saw the secret emails where she urged Congress to pass it.
And we both know that TPP is so powerful that it would take away much of the Supreme Court’s power anyway.
You tell me that a Trump presidency would mean losing all the progress we have made over the last decade and I mostly agree with you, but then I remind you that the Democrats will always run on the lesser of two evils ideology and that we have to take a stand against it at some point and that we are running out of time.
We could compare and contrast all day, but all it would do is remind us that the choice between Trump and Clinton is no choice at all.
If this election has taught us anything, it’s that America is locked into a corporate duopoly, where the people are not being represented by their government and that this has to change.
Had we made our stand in 2012, the Green Party would have been a prominent party now.
You wouldn’t have had to run on the Democratic ticket and they would not have been allowed to abuse you the way that they did.
We cannot continue down this path any longer, my friend.
When you see what NAFTA did to cities like Flint and Detroit, do you still feel that endorsing Bill Clinton was right for America?
When you see how his crime bill decimated hundreds of thousands of black families, do you still feel that endorsing him ended up being the best move?
When you see how his repeal of Glass-Steagall lead to millions of Americans losing their homes and ultimately lead to a Wall Street bailout that the American people will be paying for, for the rest of their lives, do you still feel like lesser-evilism actually helped our country?
Would Bob Dole have been any worse?
Or would he have been equally bad for America, but just in different ways?
I know you see this, my brilliant friend.
The Republicans move to the right and the Democrats move in lockstep with them.
They always scream from the rooftops
“We aren’t as evil as the Republicans”
And Americans line up to buy the same lies every four years..
Because the alternative, on the surface at least, is so much worse.
As a result of this never-ending compromise, Americans are left feeling betrayed by the repeated broken promises of hope and this ultimately leads to a voter apathy so great, that the people barely have a voice at this point.
Is that really what you want to endorse?
The Bernie Sanders that I fell in love with was a man who stared into the face of evil and refused to blink.
The Bernie Sanders who inspired me was a man who said that people who suppress voting are “political cowards”.
The Bernie Sanders who got me off my ass and out knocking on doors was a man who stood opposite of Hillary Clinton and the multinational corporations she represents.
You said “Enough is enough”, Bernie..
And we listened.
Don’t ask us to vote out of fear, when you told us to stand together to fight against the 1%.
Don’t ask us to vote for everything you have rebelled against for the past fifty years.