By Ernie McCray
For not supporting Hillary Clinton, people like me, including millions of young people, millenials, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, have been described as naive-unrealistic-shallow-
I didn’t see it coming, at all, as the insults have come from the kinds of people with whom I’ve been associated politically my entire voting life: 57 years.
I’m talking people who supported JFK, as did I. We waited patiently as he hemmed and hawed and finally got around, before his life was taken, to jotting down a few ideas that gave rise to the Civil Rights Act.
And then we joyously backed LBJ who got the act passed and then down the line we supported politicos who seemed most likely, at the time, to have our backs: Hubert Humphrey; George McGovern; Jimmy Carter; Walter Mondale; Michael Dukakis…
We were all on the same page in our political battles as the alternatives for us were folks like Tricky Dicky Nixon and Gerald Ford and Papa Bush and Ronald Reagan, people who meant no one any good other than the fat cats we now call the 1%.
When Bill Clinton came along I’ll admit I kept my support in check a bit. He had too much of a “used car salesman” aura about him for my liking.
But I’m a team player and one day he looked me in the eye through my TV and said “I feel your pain” and I sheepishly gave in. But I still had a feeling that he would ditch me and my people’s struggles in a heart beat if it meant giving up something he really wanted.
I’ve got to say, though, he did some rather nice things: kept the economy relatively stable; appointed women and minorities to high positions; had a hand, with his wife, in trying to reform our country’s health care system. I had to give him his props for that.
But something still didn’t quite resonate with me and the second time he ran I voted for Ralph Nader. Before now, that was the only time I can remember being blasted for my views, or for how I voted – by folks other than republicans and dixiecrats. An old friend of mine, Gloria Johnson, a political and social activist, extraordinaire, called me all kinds of names for not giving my allegiance to Bill.
At the end of that shaming I found myself soul searching, coming to decide that maybe I should be more open minded about this guy – and then the next thing I knew some of his actions knocked me for a loop.
As a school principal I saw people suffer from trying to feed their families and find care for their children, working in places life fast food cafes, for very minimal wages, after they had lost their welfare benefits because of his “reforms.”
I saw the kids of a couple of friends of mine ending up in prison, doing serious time, as a result of the man’s “tough on crime” stance – because they had already been in trouble two times. Three strikes and you’re out, no matter what the third crime.
And now his wife is running for the highest office in the land and I don’t know really if she thinks like him on these issues but I do know that she’s to the right of him when it comes to putting our armed forces in harm’s way. Her hawkish-ness became loud and clear through her aggressive stances regarding the use of military force in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
So I don’t think my hesitancy in getting excited about Hillary and all her “experience,” is a reason for my judgement and intelligence to be attacked. A person can be only so many idiots.
Truth is: I mistakenly thought that we “liberals” had been waiting forever for someone like Bernie Sanders (and Elizabeth Warren) to come around, somebody who “keeps it real,” somebody who has put it on the line for justice and equality for a long time, somebody who could rally “those young people who don’t seem to care” that we’ve been talking about for years.
And now supporters of Bernie are being told to stop being violent and vow to support Hillary so the party can be unified and if we don’t we’ll be responsible for Trump winning the election.
Hey, you can call us names, but the bullshit has got to go: if Trump becomes president it would be due to much deeper social and political reasons than Hillary not being supported by people like me.
But do we really think Bernie would not be fully committed to seeing that Trump never sets up residence in the White House?
I’d say that, instead of calling him, among many things, a sore loser who’s desperate and mean, we should praise him for leading Hillary way to the left of the meek moderate political positions she’s held over time.
Have we not noticed that she’s now thinking that $15.00 an hour is a better minimum wage than $12.00 for the same amount of work; that she’s trying to take on a tougher tone regarding toning down Wall Street; that she’s speaking more loudly about income inequality and walking picket lines? That’s Bernie’s influence to a large degree.
I would hope that we come to agree that any unifying of the party of the donkey, if it is to be be unified, should happen when the time is right: at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.
By the time that gathering convenes, in late July, we should hope that Hillary will be up to working with Bernie to develop a platform that’s truly progressive and fully about helping the millions of our fellow citizens who see the American Dream as a mere fantasy that’s out of their reach.
And when the convention is over our candidate has to resist the urge to play “Yo Mama” verbal games with Trump, as he, with no discernible logical reasoning powers, will win such a spitting contest with some talk about how big his hands are and how great he is in all things – with many of his flock hooting and hollering their approval in the background.
The candidate that emerges from this gathering should bypass this clown and go straight to the heart and soul of Americans and help us dedicate ourselves to “of the people, by the people, and for the people” kind of thinking – stressing as Bernie has, all along, that no one person can do this, that “We the People,” have to do it.
This old naive-unrealistic-shallow-
For our children. They’re watching.