Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bernie Can't do it Alone, but are his Supporters Getting the Message?

Bernie has said a number of times that it's not enough to elect the best president anymore. The president alone can not get done the changes that need to happen in this country. He has called for a political revolution. He has called for us to become activists, to get involved in our local politics. We can't just elect Bernie. We have to elect good local and state representatives, and we have to tell the bad ones we're not satisfied. We must do these things if we want real change to happen. 

On Wednesday, I received this email from my local congressman, Jeff Duncan, representing the 3rd district of SC. Among other issues, he speaks against Planned Parenthood and the Iran Deal, both of which Bernie Sanders supports. I wrote back to Mr. Duncan, politely encouraging that he support those issues.

While I was at it, I also contacted two SC-for-Bernie pages, one on Facebook and one on Twitter, providing them with the email link and asking that they post it so local Carolinians could also respond. Though both pages responded positively to my request, neither of them posted the link. For whatever reason, they didn't feel it warranted posting. And that worries me.

On my Bernie Sanders FB page, I recently posted a petition to ban microbeads - small pieces of plastic companies put in consumer products that most water treatment plants can't capture and end up in our water streams and eaten by wildlife. Bernie Sanders hasn't said a single word about microbeads, but I posted the petition because it's an environmental issue, and Bernie cares a lot about our environment. Therefore, microbeads should fall right in line with his concerns. Yet, this post had had zero shares. About the same effect when I tried to share with people the utterly amazing Shellno protest.

I have this growing concern that we, as Bernie supporters, care a lot about what Bernie has to say. But we have very little momentum when something doesn't directly come from him. And that's a problem. While attending a recent Bernie rally in SC, Bernie again stated that he can't do this alone. Since the video of that rally isn't up yet, I'll borrow a his quote from a WI rally: "Nobody in the White House, no matter how good he or she may be, can address the major issues facing working families without an active politically conscious grassroots movement."

I'm starting to wonder if people realize Bernie isn't talking about a grassroots movement to get himself elected. He's talking about a grassroots movement to battle the political corruption in our country. And that means going beyond what Bernie directly has his hands in. As I looked around the room at the rally, I wondered how many people there were only willing to fight for Bernie. They would volunteer their time to local rallies, to knock on doors, or to pass out voter registration forms (all good things).

But how many of them would bother to look up their local congressman and subscribe to their newsletter and write back when they wanted their voice heard? How many of them would take the time to research and vote in elections other than the presidential one? How many would look up political activist movements in American and around the world? How many would march on Washington for a better America?

Even with Bernie in the White House, how can we hope to change America for the better if we can't muster the effort to make it happen?

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