Excerpt from: The Daily Kos
Thank you, Bernie. I’m with Her now, but we’ll always be with you.
2016/06/08 · 08:51
The night we won New Hampshire was one of the greatest nights of my life. I was delirious, legs aching and held awake by the combined powers of adrenaline and gas station coffee. I was packed into the corner of an overflowing high school gymnasium in Manchester, pushed against the side of a press platform topped by cameras and reporters that were finally ready to take us seriously. The room was electric, hundreds of bone-tired staffers and volunteers buzzing with pent-up excitement. A crowd of people who had woken up 15 hours beforehand to lead the charge on the last day of a grueling Get Out the Vote, people who hadn’t gotten anything resembling a good night’s sleep in days. The weeks and months of long hours spent organizing, making phone calls, knocking on doors, recruiting volunteers and watching with astonishment as a movement grew had all led up to this. A sweaty room in a small city in a snowy New England state where a group of devotees raucously held vigil to their cause. When Bernie stepped onto the stage, flanked by his beaming family members, we erupted. I was twenty one years and three hundred and sixty-four days old.
Bernie drew me out of my apathy and brought me into a progressive movement. I’d known and admired his work in the Senate for years, happy that a national politician in the United States could use the word “socialist” and still win elections. However, in my own life, I desperately wished for the opportunity to vote for a candidate who would look past the political calculus of progressive dreams like single-payer health care and free college tuition, and instead stand up for them, unequivocally and unapologetically. I wanted to vote for a Democrat who ran on a platform that was deeper than “better than the other party.” I, like so many of my peers, loved and admired President Obama and his accomplishments, but still longed for a sea change in the political priorities of our country. The gaping chasm of wealth inequality, crushing student debt, climate change, a nightmarish job market, the overwhelming cost of basic services like health care and the rampant human and civil rights abuses endured by so many oppressed groups in our country—to many in my generation, these crises do not add up to a call for pragmatism and incremental policy adjustments. When I heard the pundits discussing the presidential race, it seemed almost arrogant to think that 2016 was the right year to return to the old guard, Bush and Clinton.
When Bernie announced his candidacy, he presented a vision for our country. It was sweeping and ambitious. It was the opposite of pragmatic. It was the sort of vision that might prompt a knowing eye-roll from a lawmaker or a pundit. It was “pie-in-the-sky.” It turns out, pie-in-the-sky was just what I, and so many other millions of Americans were looking for. We saw in Bernie a courageous spirit to defy expectations and even common sense. We cheered as town-hall meetings seemingly overnight morphed into packed stadiums, and celebrated as we watched the national conversation shift significantly to the left, even in the midst of the Republican Party’s slow-motion train wreck of a primary. We believed in our cause and we believed in Bernie. It seemed that after so many years of stagnation, we were making progress at light speed. We got swept up in the fervor.
Throughout this primary, Hillary Clinton supporters have looked up to her as a strong, accomplished leader. Infinitely qualified, and ready to lead the executive branch. Her candidacy has made history by finally shattering the highest, hardest glass ceiling that she put so many cracks in eight years ago. She will be an excellent president. But to those who shared in the excitement over Bernie’s candidacy because of its broad vision, the disappointment lingers. It’s almost crazy to think that a presidential run with such huge historical implications as Hillary Clinton’s could seem mundane, but hers is a conventional campaign, built around the (correct) premise that she is the candidate most qualified and well-suited to the job. Bernie’s campaign was, in his own words, a political revolution.
To my disappointed friends and frustrated peers, to anyone who thinks “Bernie or Bust” is acceptable, our political revolution did not end last night. It will not end at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. It will not end in November when the final general election votes are tallied. Bernie is just one figure that has helped awaken my generation to politics, activism and the progressive movement. I have him to thank for my current job, field organizing for a progressive candidate in a Democratic primary. One of many progressive candidates, in fact, running for positions all up and down the ticket in my overwhelmingly moderate state. Last night, Bernie proclaimed “Our vision will be the future of America,” and he’s right. It just won’t happen with him in the White House.
Four months ago I celebrated our victory in New Hampshire. Today, I’m celebrating our victory in the United States. Thank you, Bernie, for everything you’ve done. For me, and for the millions of young and formerly disillusioned people who care now more than they ever have. Because of you, I’m going to continue my fight for progressive values for the rest of my life. Right now, that fight means doing everything I can to ensure, beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt, that Hillary Clinton is my president next January. I hope you’ll join me.