In a move that has both stunned and angered Sanders supporters, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton today. Activists have expressed their anger and shock at this recent turn of events and many have become discouraged and disillusioned with the movement, forgetting the core fundaments of Bernie’s campaign.
Many Americans have come out in support of the Bernie movement in recent months, giving their time and money in support of the presidential hopeful, propelling the grassroots movement from obscurity to its now millions of supporters at home in the U.S. and abroad. But many, focused merely on a four-year Sanders presidency, have missed one important core fundament of the movement: “This campaign has never been about any single candidate. It is always about transforming America.” (Bernie Sanders speech in Burlington, Vermont). Many activists have become burned out in their efforts to end the corruption of the two-party system and by their efforts to elect a man whose record is without blemish or scandal, a man whose life has been devoted to the American people. In his wisdom, the 74-year-old senator, has done more than plant the seeds for a revolution. He has ensured that the movement doesn’t die:
“Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end. They continue every day, every week and every month in the fight to create a nation of social and economic justice. That’s what the trade union movement is about. That’s what the civil rights movement is about. That’s what the women’s movement is about. That’s what the gay rights movement is about. That’s what the environmental movement is about.
And that’s what this campaign has been about over the past year. That’s what the political revolution is about and that’s why the political revolution must continue into the future.
Real change never takes place from the top down, or in the living rooms of wealthy campaign contributors. It always occurs from the bottom on up – when tens of millions of people say ‘enough is enough’ and become engaged in the fight for justice. That’s what the political revolution we helped start is all about. That’s why the political revolution must continue.”
Which brings me to my point. I’ve joined every Bernie activist group on Facebook I could find. My email’s inbox is full of emails from activist groups whose only purpose is to see Sanders in the White House. I’ve signed more petitions on Bernie’s behalf than I can count. I voted for Bernie in my state’s primary. And being in these activist groups, I’ve come to know and love so many wonderful people. Lately, I see many who are discouraged. I see many who feel they aren’t doing enough. Many who wish they could do more. I see many people who are angry at Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary. They’re discouraged and feel betrayed. They feel the Establishment is too corrupt to be defeated.
To those people, I want to remind you that your efforts have not been in vain. Your financial contributions, your phone banking, your petition signing, your tireless attempts to educate and inform other voters, and the countless hours spent canvassing neighborhoods, all that you’ve done to turn this “fringe” movement into the revolution it has become, none of this has been in vain.
But you must not get discouraged. You must not allow yourselves to fall into the manipulative mode of thinking that all is lost. You must not become burned out. You must not feel betrayed. You must not feel inadequate no matter how small you believe your role is in this revolution. We the people, the millions of supporters backing Bernie Sanders, We The People are the life of the movement. Though we’ve regarded Bernie as a savior of sorts, we have to understand that this isn’t about one candidate. It’s not about this election. It’s a revolution.
I’ve found that sometimes the most important part of activism is keeping others from getting discouraged or burned out. Don’t give up. Breathe life into the revolution. Urge others. Organize the efforts of others by concentrating and directing your fellow activists on necessary and time sensitive goals (like getting Jill Stein on the ballot in all fifty states). When you see a fellow activists burning out, stoke the fires and fan the flames.
Realizing that this movement isn’t solely about one candidate, and owing to the corruption of the DNC, the voter suppression, gerrymandering, and fraud committed against the American people, I’ve not simply focused on Bernie Sanders. I’ve spent hours phone banking for Jill Stein, my plan B. If Bernie isn’t on the ballot, I want someone on it who represents the American people and not Corporate America. Jill Stein is a true progressive candidate with the Green Party. I won’t vote against my conscious nor will I continue in the lesser of two evils cycle.
It’s time for the 99% to unite against the 1%. We are the life and breath of the Sanders movement. We the people are the revolution, and united WE can take back democracy. Don’t give up now. The Revolution continues.
“Real change never takes place from the top down, or in the living rooms of wealthy campaign contributors. It always occurs from the bottom on up – when tens of millions of people say ‘enough is enough’ and become engaged in the fight for justice. That’s what the political revolution we helped start is all about. That’s why the political revolution must continue.” (The Transcript of Bernie Sanders’ Vermont Speech)