"I'll take Hillary Clinton's past over any future with Donald Trump."
-- Swami Beyondananda
Dear Sane and Reverent Readers: In 2016, Hillary Clinton is our standard-bearer. I fully expect some of you to not agree with me.
If you're a disheartened, disillusioned, angry Bernie supporter thinking about casting a vote for Jill Stein or staying home, I am talking to you. If you are one of those Millennials who embraced the Bernie campaign and then lost heart when he lost the primaries, this message is for YOU especially.
Yes, the cards were stacked against Bernie in the primaries... and yet, he won 22 states. This indicates that a progressive wave has been awakened in this country.
In order to keep momentum going, we must now elect Hillary Clinton, and do so with heart and enthusiasm. Hillary is our standard bearer for now, and it is up to we the progressives to "raise her standard" and hold her accountable. This ONLY works if we elect her first.
I am well aware of all of Hillary's flaws. As a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Bernie supporter, I've been critical of neoliberalism and her heavy-handed tactics to win the primaries. At the same time, I respect the price she has paid for being a woman on the front lines. And this year, she is the only thing that stands between us, and a Donald Trump presidency.
More importantly at this moment in history, Hillary represents the open door to the future we all know is possible. Ultimately, the oligarchs fear Bernie more than Hillary. And, they want to defeat Hillary so that the progressive movement in this country will have to dig itself out of the rubble.
Please remember the disheartenment only serves the oligarchs and those controllers who have stood in the way of economic and environmental justice since the Reagan years.
So... take heart! With Hillary as President, we will be freer to build the movement that is already transforming the Democratic Party.
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Instead of having to battle Trumpism, we can turn our attention to the TPP and issues of environmental and economic justice.
With the election over, progressives can engage with those Trump voters who oppose the TPP and want to see Main Street and not Wall Street bailed out. This is -- especially among young voters who are practical and non-ideological -- the foundation of a movement that will ultimately be transpartisan.
It is noteworthy how many high-profile Bernie supporters -- Bill McKibben, Michael Moore, Sarah Silverman, and even Miley Cyrus -- have come out in favor of Clinton.
Mark Ash of Reader Supported News, one of Hillary's most consistent critics, recently wrote a column supporting her in the election. Why? Perhaps as folks in the public eye, they have a more realistic view of what any progressive or for that matter anyone with progressive leanings might be up against.
Armchair radicals in deep blue enclaves could imagine that Bernie could become president, snap his fingers, and just like that the TPP or fracking or even GMOs would go away. Bernie understands that the changes we seek require millions and millions of people on the ground and aligned so that a politician who attempts even to reform corporatism (let alone transform it) has the necessary "cover" to deal with the pushback.
While some Bernie supporters have fallen in with the "crooked Hillary" meme, most are hard-pressed to come up with specific examples. The entire anti-Hillary campaign has involved slinging spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Remember Hillary's health crisis? Probably not. As soon as she stood up to and showed up Donald in the first debate, that was the end of that conversation. Period.
On the other hand, Donald's transgressions are legion and well documented. Here is an article from New York Magazine comparing the two. Please check it out. It will restore perspective.
On Tuesday, I was on a conference call with Michael Moore that transformed my view, and fired up my missionary zeal. As you may know, Michael recently filmed a live performance in Clinton County (but Trump country), Ohio called Michael Moore in Trump Land where he simultaneously spoofs and honors Trump supporters. He acknowledges that the neoliberal Democrats -- with Hillary as their poster child -- essentially ignored the white working class voters, who now find themselves in the Trump camp. He has written about this extensively this year and long ago predicted that Trump was on his way to victory because the Democratic Party was so out of touch with these people.
In the call, Michael Moore made several key points:
* Conservative voters were falling into line behind Trump, despite their misgivings.
* Progressive voters were disheartened by the primaries and their support for Hillary is lukewarm if they support her at all.
Because of this enthusiasm gap, Trump was poised to win .. UNLESS .. Progressive voters recognize that we, and our values are in the majority, and we can use Hillary's presidency to firmly establish Bernie's program and solidify a campaign that will grow over the next 2-4 years.
Because of the strength of Bernie's candidacy, Hillary has had to adapt and adopt a more progressive platform -- and she is now accountable to the Bernie voters who are reluctantly supporting her this year.
A Trump presidency would mean stopping progress toward social and economic justice, equal rights, the environment, etc., etc. -- all things the majority of us support Instead of trying to "convert" voters, it's more important to activate and energize those who are already Democrats but who are apathetic about voting this time around. This most significantly included the Millennials who came out strong for Bernie, but feel discouraged because he lost the primaries... to this group he said,
"You have the power in your hands!"
Most importantly, go out and volunteer. Make calls. Call your friends to make sure they plan to vote, and have them call others. Drive those who otherwise couldn't make it to the polls. On November 9th, whatever the outcome, you want to be able to say, "I did all that I could to stand up for my values, and our future."
Finally, the stick and the carrot. The "stick" is, consider that a Trump Presidency will bring Republicans to power in the White House, two houses of Congress, and consequently the Supreme Court. That means:
* Citizens United and pay to play government is empowered for another generation
* Voting rights for the poorest among us are at risk
* Gay marriage will likely be overturned, and probably Roe vs. Wade
* Despite the libertarians backing Trump, we will see more private prisons and militarized local police
* We can expect the war on drugs to be re-started, and legalization efforts locally to be overturned
* Climate change goes back into the closet, and Millennials looking at their future might not have one.
And the carrot? There is a burgeoning progressive Berniecrat movement that only grows as (according to Michael Moore) 3 million new voters are added each year. Instead of being outsiders, Berniecrats are inside the party, growing and making the Democratic Party our new first party. This means:
* Progressives can hold Hillary to her promise to repeal Citizens United.
* There will be a real and congruent movement to insure and preserve voting rights.
* The will of the vast majority of people will be sustained, and LGBT and reproductive rights will be upheld.
* The move will continue to end private prisons, and reduce the epidemic of incarcerations.
* The war on hemp and cannabis will end, and we will have the energy and political will to confront big pharma. * Most importantly in terms of our long-term survival and thrival, the Bernie faction will press Hillary to keep the platform pledge to create a climate summit within the first 100 days of her administration .
* The progressive left will be able to enroll Trump supporters in ending the TPP and other unfavorable trade agreements.
* With the election out of the way, awakening citizens on all sides can unite to end corruption and hold our governance accountable.
* Oh, and we won't have a President governing with the full support of the Ku Klux Klan.
These benefits are only possible if we activate ourselves to make this simple choice for our future on Tuesday, and then stay active -- and join and support Bernie's movement.
Let's behave like the majority we really are, vote strategically and celebrate OUR victory next week.
If you felt the Bern, now is the time to feel the warmth returning to your heart as perspective returns to your mind. Contact friends and family and make sure they are voting. I'm going to be fully active between now and then, and here are some resources for you to use as well.
Check out Democracy for America working with Michael Moore, and contact voters on their behalf.
Contact MoveOn to volunteer to contact prospective voters in swing states.
Speaking of Millennials, this is the group who were the most turned on by Bernie, and the most turned off to what they perceive as "lesser evil voting". The important distinction to share here is that voting for Hillary and creating a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress is the necessary NEXT STEP in creating the lasting change Bernie has inspired.
May love and sanity prevail, and may the best (wo)man win on our behalf. * Thank you Caroline Casey (http://coyotenetworknews.com/) for this pertinent phrase. She suggested some years ago that we replace "environmentalist" with "sane reverent person" and I am extending the definition to apply to anyone seeking to put sanity and the sacred back at the center of the public realm.
Book co-authored by this author:
Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here
by Bruce H. Lipton and Steve Bhaerman.
About the Author
Steve Bhaerman is an internationally known author, humorist, and workshop leader. For the past 23 years, he has written and performed as Swami Beyondananda, the "Cosmic Comic." Swami's comedy has been called "irreverently uplifting" and has been described both as "comedy disguised as wisdom" and "wisdom disguised as comedy." A political science major, Steve has written - since 2005 - a political blog with a spiritual perspective, Notes From the Trail, hailed as an encouraging voice "in the bewilderness." His latest book, written with cellular biologist Bruce H. Lipton, PhD is Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here. Steve is active in transpartisan politics and the practical application of Spontaneous Evolution. He can be found online at www.wakeuplaughing.com.