Bernie vs. Hillary – It is, but It isn’t

Daniel House

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The Democratic Candidates

I recently read a piece that opened with “As Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have become head-to-head rivals, their denizens have begun attacking each other, the Democratic Party eating itself like a snake that loves science and Planned Parenthood. And things have gotten ugly.” I have been watching this on Facebook, and indeed it appears to be true and frankly rather disappointing.  I’ve witnessed so many people who I consider to be intelligent thinking individuals, jumping on the band wagon, quick to bash each other, as well as whichever other democratic candidate they’re opposed to during this pre-election neurosis.

Personally, I’m sick of it.

I get it. You like Hillary; You like Bernie. I like Bernie–hell, I think he’s fantastic. He speaks most directly to what I believe in, and even at age seventy four, after thirty five years in office, he is still an idealist whose commitments are as passionate now as they were when he began his political career in 1971. I genuinely hope he gets the nomination as the democratic candidate for the 45th president of the United States. It may well happen, but it also may well not, and if it ends up being Hillary, she has my vote. Will I be as excited as I would be for Bernie? No, but I refuse to engage in Hillary bashing, as I think there is more at stake between the ideologies of the two parties than between these two candidates.

The Democratic Candidates

Is Hillary more closely tied to Wall Street and the political establishment? You bet. That said, she’s ultimately still on the same team. I completely reject the assertion that she is more like a Republican than she is a Democrat. I am even more tired hearing folks who insist that Democrats and Republicans are essentially all the same. That argument is lazy and ill-informed. If anybody doubts that, they might want to spend a little time doing some research and see how each party stacks up on Reproductive Rights, Healthcare, Social Security, Equal Pay, Tax Reform, Gun Control, Gay Rights and Education. Are Hillary and Bernie entirely aligned in these areas? No, but compared to any of the candidates vying to the GOP nomination, the contrast is stark and defining.  Even more critical to consider: whoever wins the next election, they will almost certainly have control over the next one, if not two Supreme Court Justices. That—more than anything—will have the most lasting influence on legislation in the decades to come, and over many of the key issues listed above. Don’t think that the GOP is not painfully aware of this fact.

So seriously, people need to shut it with the anti-Hillary hate-speech. The GOP is most often the party who lead their attacks and manipulate their constituency using hate and fear. I thought we were the party who were supposed to be above all that.

People are just being passionate, is that it? That’s great, but being passionate is not an acceptable excuse for being antagonistic and judgmental, especially if it’s not even backed up with an informed and well-reasoned point of view. I am seeing so many Democrats engaging in Neanderthal bombast and histrionic hissy fits that are really only fitting for the throngs of Trump supporters, high on misplaced outrage and low on IQ.

Maybe that’s it: Perhaps the Trump attack methodology has actually rubbed off on so many of my friends who are engaging in rhetoric that seems seriously out of character. It’s a strange thing to watch.

The “debate” that is going on between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters is not healthy for the Democratic party as a whole, unless it really is a debate. A heated and passionate one is fine, but it should still be civil and respectful. More important in my mind however, I believe we should be more concerned with what sort of future would we be looking at if somebody like Cruz or Trump were to ascend to the highest seat of power in the land. That thought makes me wince.

Anybody should feel free to disagree, but I hope they take the time to know what they’re talking about and do their damnedest to have a civil dialogue. Nobody has to like both candidates, but everyone may have to accept that the one they prefer may not be the one who’ll be running in the end. I may well have to accept that as well.

I just hope that it’s Bernie.

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