April 21, 2016 at 11:46 am EST | by David J. Hoffman
A vote for Bernie is one you can be proud of
Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (Photo by Gino Santa Maria; courtesy Bigstock)

Well then, voters, it’s time — first, in Maryland on April 26, and later, in D.C., the last stop on the Democratic presidential nomination merry-go-round, on June 14. Yes, it’s time to belly up to the ballot bar.

The time for wish fulfillment is over. Decisions must be made.

Choices, even “hard choices,” to use the title of the recent book by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, must finally be selected and in way also scores must be settled.

Because, voters, it’s finally come down essentially, and in a way agonizingly, to one or the other of just two candidates in the Democratic primary.

Either we choose a consistent progressive voice, one whose election would mark a sharp turn in the right (ahem, left-of-center) direction for American politics.

In other words, we can decide to embark on a truly new turn of the political cycle in which we refresh the springs of our national journey — the one, for generations now, in which the arc of struggle bends long but it bends toward ever greater justice — and not only for gender issues but also for the basic stuff of life (income, wealth, power, and ultimately the pursuit of happiness). After all, when we vote we place a bet on our collective future and our individual hopes and dreams for a better world, in which we fulfill the promise of American democracy in both the economic and political realms.

In other words, we vote for Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont.

And that is my own decision as a voter whose life has been devoted to campaigns to enlarge the franchise and expand the democracy, from my first political hero, John F. Kennedy, to later ones like the populist agenda in 1976 of former Oklahoma Sen. Fred R. Harris, whose campaign declared that “the issue is privilege,” to former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey in 1992, to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2003-2004.

Or we vote for Hillary Clinton, the troubled and ever-troubling candidate of the mostly status quo, whose cheeks have been so very close to the jowls of Wall Street, whose SuperPACs are an insulting way to raise political money.

Bernie’s supporters average $27 in contributions while just last week in California Hillary’s backers in the Hollywood elite ponied up $353,000 each in an exclusive fundraiser symbolic of where her instincts take her.

That’s the choice, friends and allies in the LGBT community, not the ideal, mind you, but a hard choice. A choice where we let the perfect become the enemy of the good at our political peril.

Some harsh things have been said about Sanders in these pages by other columnists, by people who I must respect as allies but whose excess of zeal for Hillary Clinton have led them, almost blindly and with ad hominem willingness to misrepresent facts, to call Sanders a “liar” and to tell Sanders voters like myself that we’re children trying to barge into an adult’s game.

“Playtime is over,” we were admonished in these pages by one columnist. Get realistic, the Democratic establishment has been saying, and vote for Hillary. After all, we’ve been told, that she’s a progressive, and to some degree and in some measure, they’re right. Much of her career has indeed been a noble one, including working for the Children’s Defense Fund and fighting for expanded health insurance coverage.

But let’s be honest. Her foreign policy has been a virtually unmitigated disaster, including her zeal to back President George W. Bush in his mendacious and catastrophic decision to invade and occupy Iraq.

And then there’s her purported muscling of President Obama, against his better instincts, to topple Qaddafi in Libya, leading to the current nightmare there, with ISIS burrowing its way into that failed state. And then there’s her misguided insistence on pushing for U.S. meddling in the Syrian civil war, and her continued unapologetic advocacy to create a no-fly zone there.

And then there’s Wall Street. Full stop. Do I really need to document this one?  No?

I didn’t think so either. Hillary Clinton, publish those secret transcripts of your high-priced, closed-door speeches to Goldman Sachs!

Sanders is far and away our best choice. Yes, Clinton has been OK, and even at times arguably brave, though not at first when it came to marriage equality or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” where Bernie was right from the very beginning. And she wasn’t.

And then there was her very recent, cringe-inducing claim, belied by the facts, that Ronald and Nancy Reagan were fighters to confront the HIV/AIDS calamity that was ignored so cruelly by the Reagans.

So stop and think, voters. Can we choose a liberating vision over an accommodating one? Is a vote for Hillary Clinton — in other words, for the “same old same old, only more so” — one you will be proud of in the years ahead? Or will only a vote for Bernie Sanders meet that high standard?

David Hoffman is a D.C.-based freelance writer.

  • Peter Rosenstein

    “Bernie’s supporters average $27 in contributions while just last week in California Hillary’s backers in the Hollywood elite ponied up $353,000 each in an exclusive fundraiser symbolic of where her instincts take her”-
    This is a typical half truth from the Sanders campaign and not necessary to get a vote for Sanders. As the FEC has shown many of those small $27 donors have given again and again and now many have passed the limit of $2,700 allowable and that hasn’t been reported accurately. Then as to the fundraiser that Hillary did with George Clooney -as Clooney explained accurately on Meet the Press- that wasn’t fundraising for Hillary’s campaign but for the Democratic Party and State Parties to help elect democrats up and down the ticket. To change the Congress to make it possible to pass more progressive legislation and to ensure a Democratic Senate to enable a progressive Supreme Court Justice to be confirmed. That money will benefit whoever the candidate of the Party is even if it is Sanders. Then he misstates Bernie’s positions on marriage-equality which he was against in Vermont and forgets on DOMA Bernie wasn’t against it on the basis of LGBT rights but simply said it should be up to the sates and said it was a states rights issue. The good thing is that now both Bernie and Hillary have great positions on LGBT civil and human rights.
    I can respect a vote for Bernie- he has brought income inequality to the forefront of public discussion. He stands for some of the issues I share. But let’s be honest and upfront when we support someone. One doesn’t need to denigrate Hillary to vote for Bernie. They are both honest and honorable candidates and the primary voters will choose who will be the standard bearer. Both Hillary and Bernie have committed to supporting the nominee- let’s stop attacking either one of them and make sure we have a Democrat in the WH.

  • uhhuhh

    What an utterly unpersuasive piece of preaching-to-the-cult drivel. Wow, I hope he has another source of income besides his freelance writing.

  • Brian’s Ions

    I noticed that yesterday Trump started highlighting Bernie Sanders’ sexist claim of a few weeks ago that “Hillary is not qualified to be president.”

    Thanks, Bernie– Weaver and Devine, too– for all the demonizing rhetoric and misleading, lying campaign commercials against Hillary. Up until two weeks ago, at least Bernie had a patina of integrity going for him.

    Also, thanks for your on-again/off-again rehabbing of a White House glass ceiling for our daughters and nieces who dare to dream big.

    Do tell. Are the Sanders guys anxious to join Ralph Nader on the progressives-turned-egotists’ ash heap of history?
    .

    • THEBEARCUB

      ActuallyTrump s been saying that way before they got into that back and forth!

      • Brian’s Ions

        Yeah, Cub, that’s true. But I should have made the larger point explicitly.

        The truth also is that if a Republican (Trump) can demonize a Democrat (Hilary) with the actual sexist words (and/or misleading, demonizing commercials) of a male Democrat (Sanders), it will have far more persuasive impact on undecided voters in the general election, than Trump would have using his own words to make the same, sexist point.

        Claiming that women and minorities are “unqualified” to do a job is the biggest excuse made by bigots to justify employment discrimination. Employment and promotion discrimination has worked that way forever.

        Trump has already been called out for his sexism against Megan Kelly, Carly Florina and other women.

        But now, all Trump has to do is note that the charge that “Hillary is unqualified to be president” was not made by him, Trump, that is– but rather by one of Hillary’s fellow Democrats, Bernie Sanders.

        And Cub, Trump can do that all day long, right up until November 8th.

        It makes all of Trump’s future sexist charges against Hillary’s qualifications harder to refute– by making them harder to link to Trump’s history of sexist remarks– precisely because it was Democrat Bernie Sanders that made the remark.

        You see the distinction?

        Sanders, Weaver and Devine are not stupid politicos. But they knew–OR should have known– the likely long-term harm their brief, but reckless fling with implied sexism would inflict on Hillary’s campaign, and therefore, to down-ballot Democrats as well in the general campaign.

        It was the Sanders campaign’s gift to Paul Manafort. And it’s a gift that will keep on giving … to Republicans.

        Thanks, Sanders.

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