Why I love Bernie and #Imwithher
I can't imagine this post won't be met with some negativity, but I found it worth writing nonetheless.
A little over a year ago, Ben and I were watching Real Time with Bill Maherwhen a senator from Vermont with a thick New York accent started weighing in on the panel. "Oh my gosh, who is that?!" I asked Ben. "I love him! He needs to be our next president!"
"That's Bernie Sanders," Ben replied, saying the name all of us would know very well in only a matter of time.
I fell in love with everything about that Bernie (and I couldn't help but wonder how amazing it would be to share a pastrami on rye and a cream soda with him at Kenny and Ziggy's.) Still, I never imagined he would decide to run for president and I'd been more than excited about what I thought would be an inevitable victory for Hillary Clinton. She hadn't declared yet, but we all knew she would and I was a huge fan of hers. I couldn't wait for her to be our Democratic candidate and President of the United States.
Then, one day I was scrolling down my newsfeed and came across the New York Times article declaring that none other than my favorite Jewish grandfather, Bernie Sanders, had announced he would be running for President. I swear, when I saw Bernie on Bill Maher all that time ago, NO ONE knew who he was. I couldn't believe it.
I was so excited, but so torn. I loved Bernie, but this felt like Hillary's time. I stuck with her and was proud of it. As time went by, I grew less proud. I saw countless posts on my newsfeed about her alleged corruption and was routinely inspired by Bernie's message. Hillary had negativity constantly surrounding her and Bernie's commercials brought me to happy tears. I was "liking" all of his photos and posts and terrified to openly support Hillary (even though I was voting for her) because of the backlash I feared receiving. More importantly, I was believing some of what I was hearing, but I couldn't understand why. After all, most of my conversations with die-hard Hillary haters went something like this:
Me: So who are you voting for?
Other person: Ugh, I could NEVER vote for Hillary.
Me: Really? Why?
Other person: she is just SO corrupt. A scam artist. A liar.
Me: Really? Have they proved something and I missed it? What exactly has she done that makes her so bad?
Other person: I just...I just can't. She's so corrupt.
I've had the above conversation with about 99% of people who tell me they won't vote for Hillary. They're convinced she's corrupt but they can't tell me why. Listen, I know she's made some mistakes, but find me one politician that hasn't outdone her in that way. Mishandling emails? Please. How about starting a university designed to cheat countless blue collar Americans out of all the money they have in the bank just to add another yacht to your collection? How about telling everyone that filing for bankruptcy numerous times and cheating working Americans out of millions of dollars was your way of having "used, brilliantly, the laws of the country" to become successful? How about the Bush administration lying about weapons of mass destruction to lead us into a war, killing thousands? Did any of the Benghazi conspiracy theorists mind when that happened? No, I guess we will just keep talking about Hillary's expensive clothes and the fact that she made as much money as most men do giving speeches to Goldman Sachs. How dare she.
I know I'm being rather long winded, so my point has been this: I've quivered in fear over telling people that I'm supporting someone they believe to be a heathen. I've not believed what's been said about Hillary (and quite frankly most of it has been outlandishly sexist and made me furious) but I've had to ask myself this question: if the media were touting her as one of the most qualified presidential candidates of all time (which she is), a tremendously successful woman (which she also is) and one of the greatest female leaders of our time who has finally arrived at HER time to serve our country in the highest way, would I be more excited about her? The answer is a resounding yes.
I believe that the media has failed countless Americans by not only declining to call out Trump in any sort of meaningful way, but by choosing to perpetuate unfounded negativity toward Hillary that has clouded the mind of even someone like me, someone who never imagined voting for anyone other than Hillary if she were in fact to run for president. We've held Bill Clinton's indiscretions against her like those indiscretions were any of our business to begin with. We've targeted her relentlessly and robbed ourselves of the realization that we have one of the most qualified candidates in history, who also happens to be female, running for the highest office in the United States of America. What a tremendous thing to be able to share with our sons and daughters. How I proud I will be to tell my own daughter about her.
Too many people I come in contact with each day tell me that our nation is faced with an "awful" choice this November. I usually put my head down and ignore the confrontation, then head back to my car or wherever and wonder if they might be right. When you hear something over and over again, it sticks with you. We're all human in that way. But here's what I know: the choice is only "awful" because one candidate is so profoundly threatening to what our nation stands for that our nation may not survive if he is elected. On the other side is a woman that I couldn't be prouder to call a candidate for president, a woman that has been through hell and back again, and a woman that we should all be lifting up if we know what's good for us. She is a woman that I will tell my children about when I need to explain to them what "resiliency" is. I've been more shy about it this year than I'd care to admit, but those of us supporting Hillary need to be as loud as the people who are claiming they'd rather see a Trump presidency than have a leader who is so allegedly "corrupt." I should never have had any qualms about it, but for the record, #Imwithher.