By Michael-Leonard Creditor
Last Saturday, I joined more then 40 other San Diegans on a 350.org-sponsored trip to the Break Free From Fossil Fuels demonstration in Los Angeles. It was a good day of activism, but that’s not what this is about; this is just the set-up
On the way back, I realized that with this demonstration, being mirrored all over the world, climate action was taking a bold new step. It used to be, the mainstream environmental movement had the moderate goal of phasing out the use of fossil fuels as we further developed wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources. We seemed to know that we still needed some oil-based energy while those other forms are being developed.
No more. In the last few (or perhaps several) months, since the KXL pipeline was defeated, the drumbeat has grown more radical. Don’t defeat pipelines, and oil trains, and fracking separately; go right to the source. The movement’s mantra has become “Keep It In The Ground.” In the spirit of the great old saying, “One’s reach should always exceed one’s grasp,” even mainstream environmental organizations are now calling for a complete withdrawal from fossil-derived energy. Not when renewable sources have (finally!) been developed; now. ASAP. Last weekend’s world-wide activism was, in my mind, the official tipping-point. The challenge is met; the movement moves forward.
When I read the Thursday U-T’s front-page story, “Sanders looks to leverage support”, I also realized that Bernie Sanders’ candidacy offers a similar challenge to the Democratic Party establishment: embrace the candidate who truly speaks for the traditional values of the Democratic Party; eschew the moderate, the in-hand-with-the-devil, party hack political insider that we fear Hillary to be.
Go all the way; be totally liberal, leftist and progressive, not just partly.
The Democratic Party establishment has always seen Bernie as a spoiler. After Obama’s time in office it was finally gonna be Hillary’s time to be the standard-bearer. It was so pervasive as to be almost a belief, almost a conspiracy.
When Bernie announced he was campaigning for the Democratic nomination, as an Independent… well, the Party apparatchiks just about fell over. Every party-leaning establishment entity, from the DNC to most mainstream media, did everything they could to undermine and minimize the Sanders candidacy. But Bernie has plowed on persistently.
Remember that old adage, often said by Republican businessmen: hire the persistent.
Lately, since Hillary has bested Bernie in primaries and caucuses, the call has been for Sanders to concede. That makes sense only on the superficial level of simple math. For, what is the Democratic Party without its core values? Those are the values Sanders referred to when he mentioned “real economic and social change.”
Isn’t it Bernie who lives and breathes Democratic Party principles? For Sanders to quit now would be “a graceful exit;” an expedient solution for The Party. “Too bad, old man; it just wasn’t [your time] [meant to be] [insert your favorite cliché].”
Polls are showing Sanders beating Trump by larger margins than Clinton would. In states that could mean the presidency. Some are right-leaning polls, too. Why then, mount the riskier candidate? Go with the guy who advances your ideals and has a better chance of winning!
Some supposed Sanders supporters who hope to “switch support to Clinton once she becomes the actual nominee” should go and openly work for Hillary, because that’s what they’re already doing. They do not meet the challenge; they are not moving forward.
There’s also the concurrent issue about superdelegates. Without the party establishment-leaning superdelegates, Sanders would be a lot closer to Clinton in delegate count. Like the Electoral College, the superdelegate system is basically un-democratic and should be abolished.
But when Bernie’s supporters proposed this at the Nevada state party convention, the party refused and the situation turned chaotic. Okay, perhaps those folks didn’t handle it as well as they should have. But, their passion can be excused. However, should Sanders step aside now, the question will never come up at the National Convention. Philosophy versus expediency.
I support what Bernie Sanders is doing and I urge all Democrats, as well as independent voters, to do the same. He is being true to his core philosophy rather than bow to the expediency of politics. Like a cross between a wild-haired radical and a medieval knight, Sir Sanders vows that he will continue the fight. For who knows what changes the Politics of Fate might have in store. Keep true to the Philosophy of Possible that guided the Democratic Party in days of yore.
Should Bernie choose to fall upon his sword now, many issues will likely never be addressed either at the party convention or in the campaign for November. And that is exactly what the entrenched party leadership would like. That would be the expedient effect.
Yes, that is the bottom line of what the current choice is for the Democratic Party. Meet the challenge. Move forward.
Michael- Leonard Creditor was born in Tucson AZ; reared in Brooklyn NY; lived in Portland OR; currently resides in Clairemont. Three main professions: photographer, folklorist, radio program host. Philosopher, and life-long Liberal.