Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016--Still Feeling the Bern

"Did you hear Bernie's speech this weekend?"

One of our very young friends was calling. It was clear she was excited.

"After winning the caucuses in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. He really trounced Hillary."

"He's good at caucuses but not so much so in primaries where people actually vote."

"You're always so pessimistic about him."

"I think I'm being realistic. I keep my eye on the delegate count. Like it or not, they will select the nominee. And by my calculation, and that of pretty much everyone else, Hillary should win easily."

"I'm never going to vote for her." I felt badly that what I said deflated her.

"If it comes to that--I mean Hillary versus Trump or Cruz or whomever, you'd think of voting for one of them."


"So . . . ?"

"So, maybe I won't vote at all."

"That sounds defeatist to me. Not voting for Hillary is just like voting for Trump or whoever."

"Now you sound just like my parents."

"Well," I said, trying to lighten the mood, "Sometimes even parents get it right."

"I didn't call to get you to convince me to give up my ideals. I'm young and I want . . ."

"Touché. I hope you'll except my apologies. Listening to myself, I think you're right. That's what I was trying to do. Get you to be 'realistic,' to compromise."

"There's time for that."

"Yes, I did hear his speech. I haven't listened to a speech of his for quiet awhile and thought . . ."

"Because you already gave up on him?"

"Probably true. Probably true. With so much going on on the Republican side I admit I haven't paid much attention to the Democrats. So I . . ."

"Tuned out Bernie. For what it's worth, I excuse you for that. What's going on with the Republicans is more fun." She laughed, and I was glad to hear she was back to being her usualy enthusiastic self. "I don't know about you, but I thought he was amazing."

"I was impressed. Too bad . . ."

"There you go again being negative. Even if he doesn't have much chance of winning the nomination, didn't you feel that everything he said was true?"

"I did. But even if he somehow manages to get elected, I doubt he could get Congress to go along with Medicare for all much less free tuition at public colleges and universities."

Ignoring that, she said, "And weren't you impressed with what he had to say about minorities--he went down the full list, including Native Americans. No one else even mentions them much less as compassionately and honestly as Bernie."

"True. We could go over his speech point by point and probably agree with pretty much everything."

"Particularly what he said about what he said about women. As a woman, a young woman I was excited about that."

"Doesn't he say similar things as Hillary? About equal wages, abortion, childcare leave?"

"Yes, but I wasn't as impressed about the list of specific issues as how he spoke about the importance of both women and men working together on them. Not just women. If these are family issues, he was saying, that has to include men."

"I noticed that and I too was impressed."

"This is not the way Hillary speaks about the next things that have to happen to secure more rights for women. She makes it sound as if it's only a women's issue when in fact it's a women's and men's issue. I think this difference between Bernie and Hilary is one of the reasons so many young women are supporting him."

"I haven't heard anyone mention this. So good for you."

"I've got to run in a minute, but one more thing."


"My feeling that you were pushing on me to be realistic, to compromise . . ."

"I already apologized for that."

"And I heard and appreciated that. But here's what I want to say about that--it's too soon for me to give up my ideals. Isn't that what young people are supposed to do--maintain their ideals? Weren't you like that when you were my age--not willing to give in? What with the antiwar and civil rights movements?"

"Fair points."

"And also, though I know it's unlikely, probably impossible for Bernie to win, if by some chance or fluke he manages to do so, I'd still want him to press Congress to raise Social Security benefits and make health care a right. And the rest of his agenda"

"But wouldn't he have to compromise to get anything done?"

"Not in advance the way I feel Obama tended to do. If we agree that everything Bernie said in his speech the other night is both true and right, to accomplish his goals, wouldn't it be smart for him to lay them all out in specifics and fight for them? Maybe he wouldn't win, but at least he'd get the discussion started and, who knows, maybe he'd get a few things done and set the agenda for the next decade or two."

"Go on."

"I know you like history."


"Isn't it true that Truman was the first president to call for universal health care, something even Nixon advocated, and then decades later Obamacare was approved and upheld? So who knows--maybe the things that Bernie wants to do could over time have the same results."

"Could be."

"Who was it who said that journeys of a thousand miles begin with a single step? Even revolutions."

I sensed she was smiling. Feeling good about herself.

"You know what?"


"I love you. Very much."

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