The Bernie Sanders rally in NYC titled “Where We Go From Here” was inspiring and daunting. Located a block from Time Square with the dazzling lights and trundling costumes of Elmos and Batmans, the humble Senator drew a massive crowd. People waited in a line that stretched up and down streets while police officers with bulletproof vests and rifles stood watch. Lots of Bernie 2016 shirts, many a pin tacked on a collar. There was anxiety in the air, too, an aimlessness of their passion. What was Sanders going to do with the numbers overwhelmingly in Clinton’s favor? How could anyone vote for that woman? Who would could possibly be voted for if not Sanders?
Color me shocked. This false dichotomy is paralyzing lots of voters. I digress (but hold that thought).
So it was interesting to hear “Where We Go From Here.”
Sanders spoke with passion, he connected deeply and personally with the issues of his supporters. They jumped at every possible chance to clap and roar his name. Some people were bowing, screaming they loved him. I kid you not. I kept thinking, This is where he tells everyone the next step. Not the idealistic bytes of his campaign, but of how his supporters can continue to keep their politics alive, even with their runner diminishing from the race (cue agist joke about Sanders running).
But there wasn’t this moment where Sanders settled the crowd and said, “But let’s be real, where we go from here will not include me as your Democratic Party presidential nominee.” Instead, he mentioned gathering the support of his campaign behind other Democratic Senators running in their states and efforts to establish the wishes of his supporters on the Democratic platform come November.
His caution is warranted perhaps only by the mathematical life still breathing throughout his nomination campaign. But his subtlety may be lost on many of his impassioned followers. Truthfully, there is still much to be desired in Sanders’ politics and his policies, notwithstanding his rhetoric and integrity.
But following Bernie is not what you think it means. It’s not about him and never was. It’s about political activation, of awareness and where to lend a voice. It’s about thinking of this nation’s direction. It’s about being a participant rather than a viewer.
Because this is where we go from here: in the greatest age of communication, voters in the United States must know more about the policies of our government. We must be informed and we must share. We must learn and we must care. We must be open-minded and compassionate.
The vow of Sanders’ campaign has the feeling of a grassroots movement, but it always depends on which lawn you stand. We feel most keenly when there is a side against us, and these dichotomies stretch our nation too far apart. This country is full of intelligence, thoughtfulness, and optimism. So when you read about politics and government, think about all the ways you can contribute, whether discussing with friends and family, sharing articles, or voting.
You can watch the full speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZKDq3MbK9I
I’m a registered Independent and voted Sanders for the Democratic Party Presidential Nominee.