Elections in Wonderland

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July 14, 2016 by 8junebugs

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. – “Alice In Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll

There is value in believing in the impossible. Believing in Impossible Things is what makes us reach higher, push harder, and dare beyond our experience.

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” -John F. Kennedy, Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, May 25, 1961

^^ Right on, Jack! Nailed it.

But believing in Impossible Things is for looking forward. It’s for “Yes, we can eliminate child hunger in our lifetime” and “Yes, quality, affordable healthcare is a human right” and “Google Fiber for everyone!” (Hey, a girl can dream.)

“Can we build it?” “YES, WE CAN!” – Bob the Builder, et al., every freaking day

Magical thinking is wasted on hoping for the worst, or on deciding to expediently let go of principles that are fundamental to the issue at hand.

(I’m taking too long on the intro here. I think it’s because (a) I love magical, pie-in-the-sky thinking and (b) I love some people I’m probably about to piss off.)

Let me be blunt:

Take Bernie at his goddamn word.

I’m seeing a lot of folks put a lot of effort into believing that Bernie Sanders, my own beloved Representative and Senator for so many years, is “playing politics” with his endorsement of former rival Hillary Clinton. It’s a clever ruse, I hear, a masterful syntactical manipulation to ensure that he serves up the endorsement required to be allowed a role in the convention, but doesn’t concede. This is an important point, the internet memes tell me.

And maybe it would be for anyone else. Maybe this is the way to go if your biggest goal in the whole wide world is #winning, not driving a shift in the nation’s priorities and progress. Chris Christie would totally do this.

This is one of the things Bernie supporters have always decried about Other Candidates and Career Politicians (which includes Bernie, but that’s water under the bridge), right? Other Candidates, the Career Politicians, will say anything to get elected, those lying bastards. This is why Hillary Clinton’s evolution on certain issues has been so bothersome. “At least Bernie’s honest,” his supporters have correctly said. “He’s the only one whose positions haven’t changed.”

And…yeah. That’s basic Bernie. That’s his schtick, from all the way back. Dude doesn’t hold back and doesn’t even know how to lie. That’s why you love him. (That’s why I love him, and always have.) You hate the whole “playing politics” thing, right?

So why do y’all think he’s doing it now?

And, if he is, why is that okay with you?

Now, maybe this isn’t an Impossible Thing to believe. Maybe it’s not that big a leap to think that Bernie’s just playing the game because he has to…the same way he decided to join the Democratic Party last year after a career as a Democratic Socialist/Independent. It’s a bigger platform from which to launch a national campaign. So maybe he’s doing it. Maybe he’s more of a pragmatist than we all thought.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe he’s a liar, too.

But…why are you okay with that? Why would you want that to be true? This man has run on his unimpeachable integrity, but you’re willing to let that go?

Hold him to it. If it’s not okay for Other Candidates and Career Politicians, it ain’t okay for Bernie, either. Trust him to say exactly what he believes and not compromise his principles for power.

If now it’s okay for Bernie to do it…well, then now you’ve lost me. I thought this was about a movement, not a man in the moment. The man lost and the moment’s over, but goddamn if he’s not still out there trying to achieve his goals. He’s up there, he’s out in front, telling you exactly what he needs from you to keep this movement going. He’s asked you to stay involved and run for local office. He’s fought for platform changes and asked you to help him keep a Democrat in office to continue to push forward on social justice and equality (the alternative being a dumpster fire 3,000 miles wide). He’s asked you to stick with him and do the work to move this country in the direction you’ve said you want it to go.

So…what do you stand for? Is it a moment, or the movement? (Apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but his lyrics are apropos of everything right now.) Bernie wasn’t gonna get all this done from the Oval all by his lonesome, and he can’t do it without you now, either. You can take the man at his word and pitch in, or…

Or you’re choosing to believe an Impossible Thing that requires nothing but bad faith from you, instead of a slightly less Impossible Thing that can leave your kids with a world that’s better than it is today, even if it doesn’t happen overnight. You’re spending your Magical Thinking on an assumption, or a hope, that Bernie Sanders is a liar, instead of on the promise of a coalition of former rivals working toward the same ultimate goal.

Don’t waste time on the mental gymnastics it takes to assume Bernie’s being sneaky instead of as forthright and honest as he’s always been.
Don’t waste the success gained in the moment.

Put your Magic where your Movement is.



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