Friend: Clear racism from Bernie on the anniversary of MLK’s murder: “The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so has been a failure.. People sometimes don’t see that because there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama.” – Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders)
Me: I am sorry, that is definitely not a racist statement by Bernie. Look, people, America is filled with racists. It does no good doing microanalysis or the parsing of words to find racism. The Democratic Party Establishment as a whole has many racist elements within. Bernie is not one of them without. Bernie can be insensitive to race, gender, and much more. But his heart and economics are in the right place. You want to make a change, hit our real racists within our party, the part not giving black women their dues. I have stories from Texas to Georgia. Please, folks, stop trying to find racism in the wrong places.
Friend: Take your ass off my post, you’re complicit in the docile negro league… stop chasing snow storms and calling them your friends. One day this will not age well for you.
Me: I love you but you are simply wrong on this one. And I have not ever disrespected a difference in opinion with you so I would appreciate your respect, sir.
Friend: And your feelings matter because; what? I said what I said
Me: Because we are humans trying to get to the same place. And we all will not take the same path. Remember that.
Friend: Humans with BLACK skin… but you love them white folks more. I’m done with you, skin folk.
The discussion then continued in another thread under the post.
Friend: I am the ONLY one on this post who actively took part and planned the disruption at Netroots. The way he acted in response and going forward from that, made me have mad distrust from him. You can worship the old white man if you like. Bernhovahs Witnesses scurry up off my post.
Me: And I supported you at Netroots 100% and as an editor at Daily Kos wrote in support of what WE all did.
Friend: … there are SEVERAL reasons why I feel no need to honor your feelings.
Me: We will talk offline. I am not the enemy here nor will I allow you to go there, brother. WE WILL TALK!
Friend: If you wanna talk you know how to find me.
Me: Yes I do. And I will.
Many chose not to see the validity of what Bernie said and instead assigned their preconceived notions of what they thought he meant. Many, like my friend, described Bernie as a racist. They said he disrespected President Obama and insulted Obama’s legacy. To the contrary, that statement shows the power of President Obama’s message, intellect, and yes, charisma.
Everything Bernie said I have said, and much more. If one judges the success of a party by the number of candidates elected over a period, then the Democratic Party has been a failure in that regard. It is also true that the charisma, intellect, and organizational skills of President Obama put a facade over some dysfunction. That is not a put-down; it is an accolade.
Deeming Bernie or his comments racist cheapens the reality that there are in fact racial issues in different sects within the Democratic Party. To be clear, in no regard should one equate the Party’s dysfunction with that of the Republican Party. However, to win elections, we must supersede it to ensure everyone feels included.
The constant rehashing of the Bernie vs. Hillary debate is not productive. Giving people a reason to vote is. If you support Bernie’s policies like I do, systems where the social safety net is large enough to obliterate poverty, provide pay-it-forward-college, and single-payer Medicare-for-all, then fight for it in the primaries and help the candidate sell those ideas to the rank-and-file. If you are a moderate Democrat that believes more in a free market, do the same.
When the primaries are over, fight like heck to get the Democrat elected. And after the election, if ultimately your progressive or moderate candidate did not win, don’t bash the other one ad nauseam. Continue educating and promoting the values you stand for with passion.
I will continue to be a part of the movement to move the country left, as it is the only solution to mitigate an extracting economy that has no regard for humanity. In the process, I refuse to make Hillary supporters my enemy, and I will urge those in my faction of the Democratic Party to do the same. Most times, leading by example and not responding in kind is much more effective. If one thinks movement over your person, not responding in kind is easier.
I called up my friend to hammer things out, and am waiting for his call back. And even if there’s no phone call, I’m sure to see him at either the radio station, KPFT 90.1 FM, or at or Netroots Nation in New Orleans.