Bernie Sanders’ recent opinion piece in the LA Times has left me thinking about some of the hard realities of this absurd election year. I’ve had online friends distance themselves from me because I won’t transfer my political allegiances to third party candidates who, in many ways, are just as far out there as Donald Trump. I keep telling y’all… I’m a realist.
For example, I briefly worked at an Internet radio station in which getting anything done was like pulling teeth. Instead of fixing problems the management preferred to hold long meetings about just how we were going to fix a problem, and then follow up with other meetings in which we discussed the previous meetings (and the problems never got addressed). In short, the place was run from an ideological standpoint, not a realistic one. At the end of the day, any problems which got fixed were usually addressed because I, the realist, ignored the blathering idiots in their meetings and just went and fixed the damned problem. THAT is a realist. “Here’s the problem. Let’s fix it.” Simple as that. Let’s not bring in any pollyannic bullshit based upon an ideology which has no grounding in reality. Communism looks great on paper, but it fails in practice (a good example of what happens when a movement is driven purely by ideology, with no consideration of practical reality).
I view the presidential election in the same way, with the eyes of a pragmatist. “Here’s the problem. Let’s fix it.” Instead of whining because our ideological fantasies didn’t play out in the real world like we expected, let’s figure out how we can move forward in the reality at hand. That’s where we’re at in American politics in 2016.
As I said, I just read Bernie Sanders’ opinion piece in the LA Times. In it he details why his supporters should stop acting like 10-year-olds who got the wrong flavor of ice cream, and throw their support behind Hillary Clinton. It’s not for Hillary Clinton’s sake, but for our country’s sake. I’m certainly no fan of Hillary Clinton (far from it), but she’s what we’ve got. Every American is, of course, free to support whoever they wish. But the childish name-calling is just silly. Folks can sit on the sidelines and vote for the ghost of Leon Trotsky if they like, but it doesn’t make them a flag-carrying American radical. It makes them an ideologue. If nothing else, if one is not going to help put out the fire, they should at least stop belittling the people who are trying to keep the village from burning down. Better yet, pick up a bucket, sunshine. We live in the real world, this is a real problem, and it’s going to get really bad if we don’t do something about it. Between us, at this point I don’t care about the politics or allegiances of the person leading the fire brigade. Whatever issues I might have with that person can be dealt with after the fire, the most immediate danger, is put out. That’s what we call a practical consideration. First things first.
If nothing else, people should at least read Bernie Sanders’ opinion piece. In it he details why Hillary Clinton is the person to lead that proverbial fire brigade. He doesn’t kiss her ass. He’s as critical as he ever was. But he understands that there is a real problem facing Americans, and that we have to address it as grown-ups rooted in reality. Most of us are not eager to live in an apocalyptic wasteland where the Libertarian ideals of an unfettered free-market play out as roving bands of survivors wage pitched battles over the last few cases of canned tuna fish.
Bernie Sanders’ sums it up thusly: “I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.”
“During the primaries, my supporters and I began a political revolution to transform America. That revolution continues as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House. It will continue after the election. It will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principle of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”
“On virtually every major issue facing this country and the needs of working families, Clinton’s positions are far superior to Trump’s. Our campaigns worked together to produce the most progressive platform in the history of American politics.”
I was going to vote for Bernie Sanders. I still would if I had a chance. He earned my trust, my support, and even my loyalty, during his campaign. I am not one of those people who will abandon him because he no longer serves my pollyannic ideology, as I stumble along like some unhappy, pouting kid who’s losing at Dungeons & Dragons. There’s real-world shit going on here, which grown-ups are going to have to deal with. I’m going to address it. And once the immediate dangers has passed, I’m going to do everything I can to correct the many issues which this election and these primaries have revealed to us. Yes, our political system is corrupted. But we’re not going to fix it by wrapping ourselves in ideologies which are disconnected from reality, sticking our thumbs in our mouths, and holding long meetings about how there are problems which need to be fixed. At some point we need to get up from the fucking table, grab a bucket, and address that fucking fire. None of our ideologies will comfort us when the flames are licking at our faces.
I trust Bernie Sanders. He believes we need to stop our whining and believe in Hillary Clinton. True, she’s not the ideal candidate. But she’s the best of the lot we’ve got left. I’m not going to treat Bernie Sanders like he’s a former comrade who betrayed the collective because he picked up a bucket and carried on with the fight at hand. Honestly, I’m tired of hearing people bitch and moan about the fire that surrounds them; people who aren’t willing to lift a finger to help put it out. I love my country, and I want to see it survive and thrive. I won’t risk a Donald Trump presidency by sitting out an election in my cozy, high tower of impractical ideology. And I won’t be belittled or diminished by people who are determined to sit on the sidelines. Put up or shut up, sunshine. There’s an obvious problem we need to address first, before we can get to all those other problems which we all know exist within our political system and our two major parties. How about we get off of our asses and do something about it? How about you pick up a fucking bucket?