In 2008, after feeling torn between voting for Clinton and Obama for a while, I settled on Obama and never looked back. I have, in some ways, loved having Barack Obama as president. But he hasn't been perfect. He hasn't done many of the truly progressive things I've been hoping for.
I arrive at this election cycle having participated in grassroots politics many times before. Until I voted for Obama in 2008, no one I had voted for in a national election had ever won. I had even given up at times, deciding there was no point in voting because all the choices were ultimately going to do the same thing with very small, superficial differences.
I didn't pay much attention when Bill Clinton was in office. I had never read much about Hillary Clinton. I had no preconceived notions about her. But during the course of this campaign, with my very wide open eyes to the ways of the political establishment, I started reading all the news about the election and researching the candidates. Eventually, by information I gleaned through reading and also watching the candidates speak and debate, I understood that Bernie Sanders is not just another politician.
Manufactured falsehoods about him, negative news stories by media who have shown their hands dozens of times already will have no impact on my choice. A president is not an island but a part of a team. He or she is surrounded by advisors who are experts. He or she has resources, attorneys to study laws, teams of legislators to work on issues. A president who is honest and wants to create big change has a better chance than one who is practiced at deception and wants to appear to make change while maintaining the status quo. That's the thing right there. Any person who can't see that the status quo is messed up big time is not the president we need right now. Any president who is, not just satisfied, but happy with circumstances is not the president we need right now.
It is the duty of all of us who support the real change that Bernie Sanders is talking about to spread the good word. To learn as much as we can about his plans, to be able to answer questions about them. Especially the HOW of it all.
I've heard Hillary Clinton say a few times now that in this election, unlike in her run against Barack Obama, her opponent's supporters have been attacking her supporters. I don't think attacking is the right word. I think it's overzealous attempts at persuasion.
Let's everyone try to remember the goal of this thing: To make things better. Even if we disagree, we need to be united in our overarching goal.
To that end, I think we are charged with educating people about Senator Sanders' record and his policies, not attacking Clinton supporters. At the same time, I don't think we can let history be forgotten. Hillary Clinton's record also has to stand up to scrutiny. As Robert Reich (Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton) said, Hillary Clinton "she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.”
Bernie Sanders chose to join the Democratic Party and run as a Democratic because he doesn't want to see a Republican win the White House. He wants to avoid the scenario of 2000 when a third party candidate arguably caused George Bush to win. (Along with a bunch of other factors.)
We are choosing the kind of America we want to live in. We are choosing the kind of future we want to see. I don't know about you, but for me what we have right now is not good enough. What I believe Clinton will give us is more of what we've got. It's not bad, but it could be so much better.