Bernie Sanders: Do Not Despair!
You’d have believed they were giving something away by the crowds that pushed into the North Central College Residence/Recreation Hall last night in Naperville.
In fact, they were – and it wasn’t just Independent Senator Bernie Sanders new book Our Revolution, which came with the price of the ticket.
Better than that, for a crowd of young and elderly tipping well over three thousand it was an opportunity to hear the Democratic runner-up’s advice about what to do after this election cycle setback.
Senator Sanders began by purposely avoiding the promotion of his book, and instead launched into an unscripted speech after an observation that “probably more than one or two of you have the election in your minds right now.”
The audience, sporting various styles and “Bernie” regalia responded in applause and moans. Sanders countered with reminding all of us of a song we might consider while we prepare ourselves for the fight ahead. “Pete Seeger sang one of my favorite songs,” he proposed, “and I think you all know how it goes.”
I thought immediately of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” as a response to Kate Smith’s sentimentally bombastic “God Bless America.” But Bernie’s choice was more pro-labor. More indicative of what ails us now.
“Which Side Are You On.”
“My Daddy was a miner
And I’m a miner’s son
And I’ll stick with the union
‘Til every battle’s won.”
Despite the unanimous call to sing the tune, Sanders refused and started his hour and a half talk with the same theme with which he ended:
“You cannot despair. You cannot take the time or the luxury of self-indulgence to despair. It is NOT your right to do so.”
On the streets outside the hall, John Laesch and other representatives for Northern Illinois Jobs for Justice handed out flyers inviting visitors to participate in upcoming meetings of Progressives in Kane and DuPage County. In addition, they were handing out posters with the symbol to fight the TPP. “We plan to begin a chant to “Say no to the TPP” while the Senator is introduced, said the fellow. Inside the hall, people meandering through the security queues were asked to surrender their paperwork and the TPP posters. The entryway floor was littered with the signs.
Meanwhile, Sanders reminded us that TPP and some other political positions between Trump and himself were not necessarily unaligned. In fact, he reminded us, the President-elect and he would concur about the terrible trade agreements that have hollowed out the middle class in the United States.
Citing the myopic platform of the Democratic Party when it came to comprehending the true state of struggling middle class families in our country, Sanders identified the smart and insightful side of Trump’s strategy to win the election. And he warned the current path of the Democratic Party was not inclusive or economically accurate enough to regain the backing of most if not all peoples who had been previous members of the tent.
Contrariwise, he also declared his refusal to negotiate anything that would come from a new administration that hinted at misogyny, prejudice, torture, racism, registers, immigration prejudice, or any kind of discrimination.
Senator Sanders exhorted all of us to be part of the democratic process. Get involved on the local level. Be part of the process. Run for a local office or school board. Make a difference.”
Furthermore, he cited all of our responsibility to protect those who might likely be marginalized in these next four years. “If millions of Muslims are placed on a registry, “ he explained, “it is up to millions of us to say ‘NO.” We cannot and must not leave them to fight alone. Like everything we face, it’s about all of us. This is our battle too.”