I wanted to believe.
I went for Bernie Sanders early. I put my money where my mouth was.
After all, I have never voted for a Clinton, and I have been uncomfortable with Hillary Clinton since the early days of the Bill Clinton era. I couldn’t imagine then how supporting welfare reform and the 1994 crime bill helped poor people, and it’s great to see the discussions now about the negative and lasting effects of those two initiatives that she stood by her man to support.
Then there was her “evolving” position on the rights of gay and lesbian people, especially marriage equality. I mean, who could forget this?
I honestly doubt that she believed what she was saying then, but the fact that she said it just gave me one more reason to dislike Hillary Clinton as a candidate for anything. And please don’t get me started on how Clinton has talked about the women her husband “allegedly” sexually assaulted over the years.
So Bernie was a ray of hope, saying all those “progressive champion of the poor and oppressed” things I have supported since I first became aware of the public sphere.
Imagine my depression when I realized that he didn’t really mean it.
Caring about marginalized people is an action. It requires action. It requires doing. It’s not about talking, so much. It about being there and showing up.This is a good summary of the things that give pause; there are others as well.
So I paid attention to these things, I listened to my friends and acquaintances talking about his weakness as a candidate.
And then I reached #PeakBernie when he responded to the Sandy Hook lawsuit. To recap, a man murdered 27 women and children at an elementary school. Being murdered — being a murder victim — this is marginalization. It matters. We as a society must care about these things. And the family members of those murdered women and children care — they are suing the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle because the gun manufacturer specifically marketed the gun for its macho, aggressive, man card properties. There is not really a legitimate use for a civilian to have this weapon, and given such macho marketing, it was foreseeable that some cowardly weak man might use the rifle to kill people, so says the lawsuit. I have written about this here. I agree with this theory 100% and hope that the families prevail.
Silver Fox Anderson Cooper asked Bernie about this at the Democratic Debate in March, as follows:
“Right now, families of Sandy Hook victims announced that they are going to sue Remington, who made the AR-15 which was used in the Newtown massacre. Now, they believe — those families believe that — that Remington, the distributors, the sellers — should be held legally responsible for how that gun — how their product is used. Now, the lawsuit may not go anywhere because of the bill you voted for — legislation that prevents gun makers from being sued. Tonight, what do you say to those families?”
To which Bernie replied:
“Well, this is what I say. If I understand it — and correct me if I’m wrong. If you go to a gun store and you legally purchase a gun, and then, three days later, if you go out and start killing people, is the point of this lawsuit to hold the gun shop owner or the manufacturer of that gun liable? If that is the point, I have to tell you I disagree. I disagree because you hold people — in terms of this liability thing, where you hold manufacturers’ liability is if they understand that they’re selling guns into an area that — it’s getting into the hands of criminals, of course they should be held liable. But if they are selling a product to a person who buys it legally, what you’re really talking about is ending gun manufacturing in America. I don’t agree with that.”
At this point, I don’t think Bernie understands, at a fundamental level, the basis of the lawsuit. That’s fine. He’s not a lawyer. Whatever. But when it was pointed out that he was wrong, he continued being wrong.
Like aggressively, egregiously wrong.
“ I would say that I think we all are aware of what happened, and Sandy Hook is a tragedy beyond comprehension. But maybe Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the families who lost their loved ones in Iraq or Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the millions of workers in this country who lost their jobs because of the disastrous trade agreements that she supported.”
Bernie. Some advice. The answer to “can the aggrieved family members of murdered women and children sue a gun manufacturer for selling a product whose only use is for murdering people?” is not “ Hillary Clinton did things I don’t agree with.”
So this is how Bernie lost my vote. That was my Peak Bernie moment. And since then, the amateur hour interview with the Daily News, the Democratic Whores comment and the throwing dollar bills at Clinton as she arrived at a fundraiser raising money FOR DEMOCRATS (among other things) have deepened my resolve to not support Bernie Sanders. Once I took off my Bernie blinders (which were nice, with bird memes and Bernie riding a unicorn), the misogyny of the Bernie Bros (which I had been mostly ignoring, hello cognitive dissonance) and Bernie’s fundamental weakness as a candidate could no longer be ignored.
I would never tell anyone to vote for Hillary Clinton. I think she is a deeply flawed person and candidate. But I cannot support Bernie Sanders any longer, as he’s not only a deeply flawed candidate, he’s also a finger wagging mansplainer whose been given the microphone long enough.
Put it down. I am tired to hearing you speak.