An Open Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Dear Senator Sanders,
Waking up this morning to the news that you have labelled Hillary Clinton “Unqualified” to be President of the United States has literally left me sick to my stomach.
You know, not the “Oh, I had bad guacamole last night” feeling, or the “I shouldn’t have eaten the entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s,” but the, “We’re going to lose to Ted Cruz and everything we’ve worked so hard for over the last thirty years is going to go to hell,” feeling.
Senator, I am a supporter of Secretary Clinton. I have made no secret of that, and have been for decades. In 2008, I was a vocal supporter of hers in the primary, and gladly unified behind Barack Obama when he won the nomination. Part of a primary process is debating positions, debating issues and ultimately coming together behind the nominee.
I appreciate you, Senator. I agree with almost all of your positions, with the major exception (and it’s a major one) of gun control. I am a supporter of Secretary Clinton because I believe in incremental progressive change and the need to build political infrastructure to get anything done. You can read my earlier blog about that, “Hoping for Followthrough” here on Daily Kos. At the end of the day, it’s my practical approach that has separated me from you, not your positions. I have applauded as you have moved the needle and the conversation to the left, staking out critical territory on income inequality and helping to bring these issues to the forefront of the conversation. I’ve even named my large suitcase “Bernie Sanders” because it’s blue and pulls to the left.
But yesterday, you infuriated me. And yet, I will still support you if you are the nominee of the Democratic Party, because the differences between Left and Right are still so deep and clear, and at the end of the day, we need to keep a leftist, a liberal, a progressive, whatever word you choose to use, in the White House.
Today, though, I am nauseous. I am furious. I am scared of the possibility of President Ted Cruz because of your assertions that Hillary Clinton is “unqualified” to be president.
You, sir, have just given any of your supporters the out they need not to support Secretary Clinton should she prevail in the nomination race.
You, sir, have just further inflamed the most radical of your supporters, and have done so with the biggest lie you have ever told.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is, without a doubt, the most qualified candidate to ever run for President in the history of the United States. In the past, we’ve had Senators, we’ve had Governors, we’ve had the odd Congressman, but we have never had someone who’s served as a Senator and as a top ranking Cabinet Secretary, who also has the first hand experience of having been the first lady of a state and the first lady of the nation. She has seen with her own eyes, first hand, how things work, how things don’t and how to effect change and impact people. She has seen this from the executive perspective, from the legislative perspective and from the foreign policy perspective. She has been vetted over and over for the last 25 years by the left (who think she’s too moderate) and from the right (who think she’s too left). You may not agree with her positions, but you cannot claim that she is unqualified.
We have, what I consider to be, two well qualified candidates currently running for the democratic nomination for President.
With the rhetoric in this campaign getting more heated, and with your own acknowledgement that you disapprove of how many of your supporters are acting, I would have hoped that you could have kept things rational and genteel in your remarks yesterday in Philadelphia.
The #BernieorBust movement has no place in American politics. No #...orBust movement does, because we live in a nation of compromise, we live in a nation of process and we live in a democratic republic. Providing fuel to those supporters who feel it’s #BernieorBust, which is to say, “If I don’t get my way, I’m taking my toys home and breaking all of yours as I leave,” is downright dangerous.
I speak with many of your supporters, and frankly, I get very nervous as the word “Revolution” is thrown around. I don’t disagree that we have some significant problems in the way our country is working right now, and that changes are needed, but I fundamentally believe that our Constitution is still one of the best designed systems of government in the world. Certainly it’s not flawless, and certainly it could stand a 21st Century rewrite, but that’s the job of a constitutional convention. Calling for “Revolution” in a world where civics and history classes have failed to teach the lessons of the past is dangerous. Internal Revolutions (which are really civil wars) rarely work out in the long run. Ask France. Ask Russia. Our own Revolution was against an occupying power and was a different shape. Insisting on “BernieOrBust” is incitement to civil war, and our own history should show the challenges inherent to the insurgency in a violent uprising.
Your words yesterday fed that fire.
Your words yesterday will continue to build a sense of entitlement.
Your words yesterday will not help bring our party together after the Convention, and frankly, Senator, that’s dangerous.
Many of your supporters will say, “That’s okay, no, we really DO mean revolution, with a capital R and guns and violence.” If that’s what you stand for Senator, and I don’t think it is, please be plain about it.
If not, call off your dogs, walk back your words and tone down the rhetoric of destruction.
Secretary Clinton did not call you unqualified. She resisted MSNBC’s attempts to get her to do so. She said you were “unprepared,” and I don’t think that given the reaction to your NY Daily News Interview, that even you could disagree that you were unprepared FOR THAT INTERVIEW. I was surprised and disappointed that you didn’t answer better, particularly on your key positions, and particularly because a sit down interview like that shouldn’t have been a pop quiz. But Secretary Clinton, though pointed in her criticism, did NOT call you unqualified, no matter what a Washington Post headline may have read.
If you truly believe in this nation, now would be the time to walk back those remarks. Secretary Clinton may not be as progressive as you’d like and you may fundamentally and vehemently disagree with her on significant policy issues, but your words yesterday were unnecessarily inflammatory and inciteful, and as this nomination race enters endgame, it’s more important than ever that we all be prepared TOGETHER to keep moving this nation forward, and not backward.
#ImWithYou #ImWithHer #ImForUs
A Die Hard Pragmatic Progressive in New York
**UPDATE** Thank you so much for the shares! My first Rec List!!
I stand corrected. Thomas Jefferson was the most qualified candidate in the history of the nation. Jefferson had been US Vice President, US Secretary of State, US Ambassador to France, a US Representative and the Governor of Virginia before he ran for President. So, she’s the SECOND most qualified. After a guy on Mount Rushmore and the Nickel.