Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"Bernie-or-Bust" will not help America -- it's time to unify

We can't afford a Trump presidency -- and Hillary is the candidate closest to Bernie's ideals

The speeches given by party leaders at the first day of the Democratic National Convention were inspiring. Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders gave stellar performances, appealing to both logical and emotional arguments for why Clinton is our best choice for president.

Some reactions from the crowd, however, disturbed me.

Most of the audience, of course, acted cordially, cheering for these leaders and generally showing respect during their time at the podium. Yet a good handful of “Bernie-or-Bust” supporters, those who vowed never to vote for Clinton no matter what, were boorish and uncompromising in their need to be heard, making it difficult at times to hear on television what the speakers were trying to say.

Comedian Sarah Silverman took the Bernie-or-Bust portion of the crowd head-on in her comments onstage last night. “You’re being ridiculous,” she told them.

Those words should resonate coming from her: Silverman was an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter during the campaign. Recognizing, however, that her candidate didn’t win the delegates he needed to become the nominee, Silverman now supports Hillary Clinton for president.

She’s not alone in that regard. In Wisconsin, former Assembly Rep. Brett Hulsey also urged unity on the Mitch Henck show earlier today. “Bernie-or-Busters, come home,” he said.

(Hulsey, you’ll recall, ran for governor as a further-left alternative to Democratic candidate Mary Burke in 2014. If he’s talking about unity, the Bernie-or-Bust people ought to pay attention.)

And what about the candidate himself? Last night, even Bernie Sanders stressed unity in his speech to delegates. “This election is about -- and must be about -- the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

He added:
I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children.

Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.
Finally, in a letter he wrote to delegates this morning, Sanders urged supporters not to resort to booing or other distasteful actions while on the floor of the convention. “Our credibility as a movement will be damaged by booing, turning our backs, walking out or other displays,” he wrote.

Most people who voted for Bernie Sanders are reasonable, tempered individuals. I myself supported the candidate. But this “Bernie-or-Bust” stuff is getting out of hand, and it’s damaging the chances we have for unifying the party before the general election in November.

For some, that’s fine. They are perfectly content with seeing Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton because it means that they didn’t compromise their votes. They need a pure candidate, and only a pure candidate like Bernie is worth voting for.

That’s rubbish. And it conjures up this image in my mind:

There is no such thing as a pure candidate. We shouldn’t deify anyone as such. Even Sanders wasn’t “pure,” though he came closest to a lot of what I personally wanted in a candidate.

Yet, I also recognize that he’s not the nominee. It’d be dangerous to sit on my hands just because my preference didn’t win the nomination. Hillary Clinton is the most viable candidate to what I want in a president, and it’s she who will receive my vote in November.

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