2016 Election, Uncategorized

Why Bernie Sanders Continues to Vex Me

clinton

Ahead of the Iowa Caucuses, the New Hampshire Primary, and the Illinois Primary in March, I am finally ready to make my endorsement for President of the United States. Before I say who I support, though, I feel it is important for people to understand why I came to the decision I did. I did not come to my position lightly. I have weighed the options, watched the debates, engaged with supporters on every side of the aisle and switched my opinion many times in my own mind. I am, first and foremost, a radical thinker. I do not believe in the office of the Presidency as it is currently understood or practiced.

I do not believe in our capitalist system or in our electoral system. We are not a democracy. We have never been a democracy. We should be, but we have never been one. We are a society steeped in racism, sexism, steeped in privilege, economic, social, class based and otherwise (oh so so much otherwise besides). Half of our existence we have been a slave based nation & the other half we have been, to varying degrees, an apartheid state. We must recognize this fact about ourselves if we ever hope to change.

There has been much talk about “transformational” Presidencies, turning points in American history which pivot on the leadership of one man (and it has been a man, always…always a man unfortunately). I am done with this paradigm. History has shown us that change does not, CANNOT in fact, come from above. Indeed, it is dangerous, anti-democratic, and destructive to ideals of human rights, decency, and radical justice to state otherwise. When we displace our radical nature, our radical thoughts and ideas and hopes, and put them onto the shoulders of one human who can “fix the system” or “lead a revolution” we are in fact betraying ourselves and our potential.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates, who I am beginning to see as the radical conscious of my American generation, said: “Radicals expand the political imagination and, hopefully, prevent incrementalism from becoming a virtue.” It is not imaginative to say “this fellow will fix it” or “this fellow will save us” or “this fellow will lead the revolution”. That is a closing of the radical mind, it is a distraction, a dangerous one, a fatal one, one that leads us down the road to politics as personality. We abdicate our responsibilities as human beings, as potential radicals who strive for change, when we put our collective energy and focus into a drive for power over a system instead of a striving to DESTROY the system that is destroying us.

Bernie Sanders said that the idea of reparations for the half a millennium of abuses the U.S. has committed against black people is “divisive” and could never pass through Congress. He has not said the same about his promises to the white middle and working classes regarding College, tax, and healthcare reform. And it is a largely white audience that these ideas are addressed to…black audiences have much more important things to worry about, much more pressing and immediate and life or death concerns. They don’t have the privilege to think saving the welfare state is the top priority for this nation. Our reforms have never reached ALL Americans, they have never benefited black and white equally because none of these reforms EVER addressed the central problem of this nation: black and white people are not, never HAVE BEEN treated equally. If we won’t even admit there is a problem, then no solution, no matter how high minded and liberal seeming, will address the root of our pain. It was when he said that one word, “divisive” that Sen. Sanders lost me.

Having said all that I will declare that I support former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for President. In the end, she knows the game. She knows the struggle of being someone who is constantly being underestimated and insulted for who she is. She is a woman in America, and the fact that she is so powerful and privileged by measures of wealth and class and she STILL is seen as an alien element in the system because of her gender, and yet STILL strives for power and influence in our system is something that I cannot help but respect and admire. She knows the ins and outs, she does not lie and pretend she is a radical. She is cynical, calculating, a shill, and has friends in high places…but that is what our system needs in a leader. We have yet to let a woman have the reigns of power over our system, as corrupted as it is, and we cannot claim to have tried everything within the confines of that system until we allow a representative of that half of humanity that has been perpetually disenfranchised to have a go at running it all.

Radical change cannot come from above, but stability and predictability can, and for us radicals a stable and predictable system, a bit of breathing space, is just what we need in the coming months and years in order for us to gather our strength for REAL change and a REAL program of protest and revolution. Sanders is a dead end, he is a salve for our wounds and a boost to our ego. He is not he change we are looking for, and if we stop looking with him, or if we seek change THROUGH him, we are betraying our potential. Let Clinton have the White House, let her have the power. We should not concern ourselves with such trivial things. I will vote for Clinton because I believe that with her in office it will free us from worrying about the mundane and profane issues of power politics and look to RADICAL solutions, not from above, but from the bottom up.

The problem, to paraphrase Shakespeare, is not in our system or in our leadership but IN OURSELVES and our inaction and cynicism. We don’t need Bernie Sanders. We don’t need the White House. We need our heads clear and our eyes looking forward to NEW and RADICAL solutions to our problems. I do not like Hillary Clinton personally, I do not like her connections, but I can say, deep down, that I can trust her with the White House and with that power. The Sanders moment has shown us that we thirst for real change. Let us not stop with Sanders, let us not waste our time with him. Let’s try for something more. We deserve more than Sanders. Our system, such as it is, deserves Hillary Clinton. She is made for it. Let her have a chance.

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