I’ve never been one to put out lawn signs for political candidates, partly because declaring who you’re voting for tends to end any meaningful discussion before it even begins. Once people make up their minds, they generally don’t want to be confused by facts, let alone someone else’s opinions. So while I’m willing to engage in civil discussion about the concerns that are pushing me toward one candidate or another, I’ve never put out a lawn sign for my neighbors to see.
This year, I’ve noticed that most of the signs on display in my neighborhood were planted during the primary, when Bernie Sanders was running for the Democratic Party’s nomination. They’re pretty faded by now – rather like my faith in the Democratic Party’s nomination process.
During the primary season, I was angry with the Democrats’ apparent determination to secure the nomination for Hilary Clinton at the expense of fairness to Bernie. And I’ve been furious with the media for giving Donald Trump enormous, free, publicity even while treating his candidacy as a joke, but ignoring Sanders’ more serious and thoughtful campaign.
But anger and bitterness aren’t healthy for me – or democracy.
In the forty-plus years I’ve been voting, my candidates haven’t always won. In 2008, I supported Clinton in the primary; in 2012, I supported Sanders. And while I was surprised that Sanders ran as a Democrat rather than as an Independent – I wish he and his supporters would now offer additional support to the political party he’s already improved with his candidacy.
I’d really like to see Sanders’ supporters out stumping for down-ticket progressives - which is where fundamental change can be planted and nurtured.
American voters pay a lot of attention to who will be president - and who’s elected president does matter, especially internationally, which includes just about everything in our global age.
And I think any civic engagement is good. But domestic and state politics can affect us more personally, and even foster national change, as in the right to marry.
So I wish Sanders and his supporters were still actively promoting the causes Bernie championed in the primary and moved on to the national stage - like economic and social justice.
This election is no longer about Bernie Sanders being president, but it’s still about our collective future.
I’d hate to see Bernie’s legacy wilt along with his faded lawn signs.