Last night, Sarah Silverman said what everyone was thinking during the start of the Democratic National Convention. “To the Bernie or Bust crowd: You’re being ridiculous.”
My social media feeds are crawling with Bernie Bros whining and memorializing the candidate that wasn’t meant to be. Bernie Sanders may be out of the race, but these eulogies aren’t really necessary. America has been through this sort of thing before. Eight years ago, in fact.
My husband sat sulking on the couch after watching Hillary Clinton's victory speech this past June.
“It’s not fair,” he tells me, arms tightly folded across his chest. “I feel like she’s gloating about getting the nomination before she’s even gotten the nomination.”
I shrug, flipping through my magazine. “Come on, face it. Bernie never stood a chance.”
“That doesn’t mean she’s any good!” He seethed. Tom goes on to list all of the “atrocities” Hillary has produced in the past decade. The incriminating emails. The big business deals. The $12,495 Armani coat worn while giving a speech about income inequality.
“I know exactly how you feel,” I tell him.
“How is that possible?” he seemed confused. “You’re voting for Hillary.”
“Yeah. And it broke my heart when she lost the nomination to Obama in 2008. The good news is, though, that everything is going to be OK.”
He went back to sulking. “Yeah, we’ll see.”
I was minoring in women's and gender studies at college when Hillary Clinton took her first step on the road to the White House. Her admirable leadership and political experience helped kickstart my feminist journey. It was thrilling to watch her campaign and spearhead the mission that women’s rights mattered, that she was ready to take on issues that pertained to us that had been previously ignored.
Like Bernie Sanders, her political actions and ideas were revolutionary at the time.
And also like Bernie Sanders, her massive following rallied behind her and promoted her cause. I got caught up in the excitement and power her mission projected. I firmly believed she was the change America so desperately needed, and that finally, the government would be on my side.
I wanted a female president, and I wanted her now.
Like Bernie Sanders fans, I defended her so fiercely, it almost drove me crazy. I’d lash out at people who called her a “Feminazi” or “too tough to be a female, but too weak to be in the White House.”
I broke off friendships with people who openly admitted they didn’t like her, simply because she was a woman, and that just wouldn’t work for someone who was supposed to be in charge of our safety, security and well-being as a country.
“Is that what you’d say about your own mom?” I’d reply. “Because she reminds me of my mom. My mom is awesome, and maybe a mother figure is exactly what this country needs.”
Bernie Bros, you’re not the only ones who’ve had to watch your hero fall at the hand of another opponent. I was devastated when Obama collected more delegates and clinched the nomination. It was as though someone had torn a piece of my heart out, smashed it on the ground and filled the empty space with a “Vote Obama!” pin.
I felt hopeless and angry. I felt like the progress I had been fighting for would never come. “It’s over,” I’d tell people. “Women will never be rightly represented in this country. Obama may bring change, but at the end of the day, it’s still a boy's club.”
My best friend interned for Clinton at the time, so I was particularly close to her campaign. There’s so little most people get to see when it comes to the time and effort people put into their passions. Clinton worked incredibly hard in 2008, and to watch her efforts dissolve as the election went on was heartbreaking.
I almost didn’t vote when the time came. I wanted to show people that choosing the next president was important, that you shouldn’t vote for “the lesser of two evils,” but someone you truly believed in. I’m glad I didn’t boycott the polls because Obama turned out to be just fine. He put in place policies that helped bring this country out of the mess it was previously in.
Watching his career over the years, I could understand why people liked him so much. He was cool, charismatic and only wanted the best for the American people.
I survived under Obama when my heart was with Clinton. You’ll survive under the next president too.
Clinton and the Democratic party have come under a lot of scrutiny lately; my opinion of her has definitely changed since her 2008 campaign, but I also firmly believe that she absolutely earned her nomination. What I admire about her most is the fact that she didn’t let her loss keep her from charging ahead. She did what any smart leader does. She learned from her mistakes, improved upon the things that worked and came out stronger as a result.
Bernie Bros, there’s still hope for your plebeian hero. I’m confident Bernie Sanders is going to look at this time in history not as a defeat, but as a step in the right direction. It’s incredible to see how much he’s been able to change the way we think about American politics. Don’t discount that — his legacy isn’t over yet.
In many ways, it may have just begun.
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