What Feeling the Bern Means

An editorial by Justin Cirillo

I honestly had no idea where to post this. I thought about making this a really long status for my personal Facebook page, but I don’t think it would have as much impact. I certainly don’t want to get too political on what is primarily a sports blog, but this seems to be the best platform I have.

With the conclusion of the final major state primaries on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton all but clinched the Democratic nomination for the 2016 general election. It is an amazing feat; the United States is a step closer to removing itself from an ignoble list of countries which have never been led by a female. It would be more special for me, personally, were she the candidate I supported from the beginning. Alas, she is not.

That candidate is Bernie Sanders, who despite vowing to take his campaign all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia during the last week of July. Barring a miraculous change of heart from super-delegates, or a disastrous but unlikely indictment of  Mme. Clinton for her use of an unauthorized private e-mail account while serving as Secretary of State, Sanders’ campaign is over. The closer is on the mound; the fat lady is warming up her pipes.

But Sen. Sanders’ aim has never been completely about the presidency. Anyone who has watched just one clip of his speeches knows that his campaign has been about a “political revolution.” This sounds like a far-fetched, idealistic cry. Perhaps it is, but it has become quite popular despite his impending defeat. It’s a rallying cry that I have personally become attached since I began supporting Sen. Sanders last year.

Feeling the Bern means that no matter what happens in this election, you keep trying to improve your country. A political revolution has no place for those who are apathetic for what happens in the general election. It means voting, including in local elections, and doing research on candidates so that you can make an educated guess on who will best be able to perform that office’s duties.

It means being aware that both racial and financial privilege exists. Based on circumstances that I had no control over, I have been given more opportunities to succeed than many have. And instead of using that privilege only for my benefit, it should be used to improve the lives of as many people as I can.

Feeling the Bern means taking a stand against discrimination of all forms. My black friends should not have to live in a country where they are the victims of hate crimes, or be let down by a criminal justice system that has, too often, failed them. My Latino friends should not have to live in a country where a mad man disguised as a presidential candidate calls their ilk rapists and criminals. My Muslim friends should not have to live in a country where they are threatened with deportation because of radicals half a world away. My homosexual and transgender friends should not have to live in a country where still, in too many places, being LGBT is regarded as heinous of an act as murder.

Feeling the Bern means that everyone deserves the right to education and healthcare, both of which are guaranteed by many other developed nations. It means sacrificing some money that would go into the pockets of billionaire CEOs and the already bloated budget for the military for the greater good of all citizens. It means people shouldn’t have to work 50 hours a week in order to merely scrape by. It means new mothers should be guaranteed maternity leave; that women should have control of their reproductive rights.

It means government keeping business from becoming too big to fail, so that millions of families don’t have their fortunes incinerated in a financial meltdown; that instead of CEOs pocketing tens of millions of dollars in bonuses that they pass that money down to the footsoldiers of the company.

Idealistic? Of course it is. But so was the very concept of America in 1776.

The point is that even if your ideal candidate no longer has a shot to win it, to return to political apathy is an insult for everything he stand for.

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