Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hey Bernie, You're No Jimmy Stewart

Ok, I've just about had it with Bernie Sanders. For the last ten months, I've tried to keep my criticisms of him strictly on the professional side. While I've admired his passion and his vision, sometimes even agreeing with it, I never thought of him as someone who could actually follow through on that vision. Mainly because Sanders never laid out a constructive game plan for how to implement it. Ergo, I dismissed his pie in the sky positions, while at the same time giving him credit for at least attempting to start a dialogue.

All of that started to change about two months ago, when I began noticing some rather toxic elements permeating not so much throughout the Sanders' campaign but throughout his base of supporters. The further down the road we got into this primary season, and the more Hillary Clinton pulled ahead in pledged delegates, the more desperate and paranoid many of them became. Some of the comments I read on Facebook make 9/11 truthers seem lucid, by comparison.

I've written at great length about some of these people, most notably in a piece back in March, titled "Hey Bernie Supporters, Get A Grip." I won't rehash it here; you can read it for yourself if you like. Suffice to say, I wasn't too pleased by what I was seeing out there. Indeed, I was deeply concerned.

Well, I'm past the point of just being concerned. Now I'm just simply annoyed. No, check that, not annoyed; indignant and fed up. It's bad enough that many of Bernie's supporters act like little brats who desperately need a time out and who have taken it upon themselves to lecture the rest of us on why we should join the revolution; and if we don't, then somehow we're part of the wicked establishment.

It's also bad enough that apparently many of them don't know how to use a calculator or that they appear to have come up with some new imaginary math that allows them to believe Bernie is ahead when he's really trailing. Having been on Facebook for most of the last seven years, I've seen a lot of stupid shit end up in posts and, truth be told, I've been responsible for some of it.

But this is no longer about a bunch of overgrown rock fans who stayed a bit too long at the concert, this is about a senator who is on some kind of super ego trip, who isn't just content with winning the Democratic nomination, he wants to thoroughly transform the Democratic Party into his own image. He isn't just taking on Hillary Clinton, he's taking on the entire Democratic Party, which he calls the "establishment."

Who's the establishment? Well, anyone not supporting him, that's who. You see in Bernieland, or as I like to call it, the land of the pampered, it's us against them. And naturally "them" is above reproach, as pure as the driven snow, while "us" are just a bunch of hacks bought and paid for by all those special interests. Funny, I never thought of myself as being bought and paid for; I just assumed I was exercising my right to support the candidate I thought was best qualified. Silly me. What was I thinking? This is what happens when you raise an entire generation of kids who believe that everyone deserves a trophy.

Since he announced he was getting into this race, Sanders' entire campaign has rested on two over-arching principles: One, that the system is rigged; and two, that only he can fix it. If you think about it, it's the perfect scam: a doctor tells you you have cancer - maybe you do, maybe you don't - but regardless, only he can cure you. Wow, talk about a God complex.

Well, Bernie, if it's all the same to you - and even if it's not - I prefer not to be cured, and certainly not by the likes of you. You fancy yourself a deliver of truth, the messenger of justice, who is going to give back to the people that which was stolen from them.

Which people? You mean the 60 percent of registered Democrats who have voted for Hillary Clinton, the woman you're not only running against, but doing everything possible to mortally wound? Those people? Has it not occurred to you that even if by some miracle you were to win the nomination, you are going to need "those people" to vote for you in order to win the White House? Calling their candidate corrupt, I can assure you, is not a very good way to accomplish that.

It's one thing to be blunt, it's another to be a condescending ass. Speaking strictly as a rock music fan, even Dylan doesn't take himself that seriously. But you? You're a piece of work. And your latest stunt, concerning what happened in Nevada, only underscores how delusional you and your supporters have become. Just for the record, Senator, Hillary Clinton won the state back in February. She won it fair and square. But your supporters apparently didn't like the outcome, so they took it upon themselves to make a scene at the state convention. When they didn't get the recount they demanded they went apeshit.

Threats were made, some of them vile. I read them. I hope you did, too. How nice of you to come out and "condemn" the violence, while at the same time blaming the DNC for it and neglecting to tell your huddled masses to throttle it down a notch or two. But we can't have that now, can we? Not while there are still rallies to hold and more donations to be had. It's amazing how far twenty-seven dollars will go, especially when it's multiplied several million times. Do they know, sir, that they are contributing to someone who is a closet narcissist? I say closet, because, unlike Donald Trump, who wouldn't know a mute switch if it bit him in the ass, you have managed to skate by, for the most part, unscathed, your reputation intact. You're the angel sent from Heaven; Trump the demon from hell.

Well, not in my book, not anymore, at least. I see you for what you are: a man who would be king; the emperor in waiting, leading his minions to the promised land like the demagogue he claims he isn't. You stand there and recoil against the Clinton machine and the very party you just happen to be running in, while all the while setting yourself apart from it. Well let me tell you, sir, rail against Hillary all you want. She's as obvious as a two dollar bill, I know, but she's never pulled the stunt you're pulling. The Clintons may think they're God's gift to the world, but they've never put on airs about it. In fact, they've gone out of their way to brag about it. You? Your false humility glows in the dark.

I've watched Mr. Smith Goes To Washington many times. It's one of my favorite movies because it gives me hope that despite our darkest natures, we can find the strength to rise up and eventually do the right thing. I don't mean to burst your bubble - well, actually I do - but you are NO Jimmy Stewart, and, despite what you and your band of miscreants keep insisting, Hillary Clinton is no Claude Rains. What she is is the likely Democratic nominee who will be going up against not just Trump, but the hundreds of millions of dollars in soft money that he will have at his disposal.

Are you even remotely aware of the enormous risk you are taking by engaging in this smear campaign against the only candidate that will have a shot at defeating Trump in the fall? Has it gotten through that thick skull of yours that this country could be months away from electing the first fascist president in its history? And does it not bother you that many of your followers - let's just go ahead and call them worshipers - think that the two of them are the same, even though they're not even remotely alike? Women's rights, equal rights, gay rights, the environment, the Supreme Court, protecting the middle class. I could go on and on, but what's the use? I might as well bang my head against a wall for all the good it'll do.

Give it up, man; you cannot win. The best you can hope for is a tie in California, the largest state left on the calendar. Anyway you slice it, when the counting is done, you are going to be trailing Hillary Clinton, and quite possibly by a very large margin. It comes down to one of two choices: either you work to help get her elected in November, or you follow through on your asinine threat to force a brokered convention. You still won't succeed at getting the nomination, but you will succeed at fracturing the Democratic Party, perhaps irrevocably.

Maybe that was your plan all along. Face it, you have no more regard for the Democratic Party than Ted Cruz has for Mitch McConnell. But I'll say this much for Ted, at least he isn't hiding his contempt behind some egalitarian cause. He speaks his mind, what little there is of it. Oh, if only you were so honest.

If it's Claude Rains you're looking for, Bernie, don't look for him in Philadelphia; he won't be there. You can catch him in Cleveland. He'll be easy to spot. He'll be the one laughing at you while he's holding a gun at the nation's head. A gun, by the way, that you helped put in his hands.

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