Open letter to Bernie Sanders

Mr. Sanders you just pushed me to far and even so if you are the presidential candidate for the democrats I will support you but I don’t think it will ever be the same now. I supported Hillary in 2008. I wanted the first female President then. I wanted this insanely qualified woman then but when it was clear that Hillary wasn’t going to win and she turned her support to now President Obama I was proud and did the same. My  mum phone banked for him and I donated and we both did everything that we could. When Hillary went onto that stage to nominate Barrack Obama I was incredibly proud. I expected no less and I was proud to be a woman. My mum and I were on the phone all night. We were enjoying it so much. One thing you might be surprised at – we were independents.

I’m not sure why at this point. I’ve never supported other than a democrat. Their stand on social issues especially the right to choose was everything to me. I want the government to stay out of my private life and everyone around me. I want people to be able to love, to be equal, to be free. I want to end the hate and I strongly believe that the government should be strengthened and that we should support people and help them out of poverty. I don’t see a single democratic candidate who isn’t going to do that. Full Stop.

I knew you Bernie, you may say that you didn’t have a platform before you ran, but that isn’t true. I knew you, I liked you, even though you were over the top angry at some times. There were times when I wasn’t so happy with though. For those of us who were engaged we were aware of the questions on whether you would come onboard for the ACA. We followed the fight. We knew who was doing what.

I’ve seen you rail about things but what I’m not aware of is what you have done. Yes, you’ve supported democrats, and you vote with them but what have you done. When did you build a coalition of supporters and build something, push it. I looked back at your congressional record and I don’t see it. I’ve watched your colleagues who explain why they are supporting Hillary and why they aren’t you. They are careful and circumspect but they say that you don’t play well with others.

I’ve seen it now for months. You have a stump speech. Everything you say is a stump speech. You are the angry white man who reminds one young person in my life of grandpa. You are making a lot of promises but you won’t be able to keep them just with anger and enthusiasm. You need an infrastructure behind you. You need democrats elected and you can’t assume it will happen because of you. You can’t assume that this revolution you speak of will happen just because.

The anger, the revolution, the Washington is bought and paid for and bad and they have done all these things and you weren’t for them and without that everything would have been just fine. You are willing to say that the President is being questioned for the color of his skin but you don’t acknowledge that the GOP obstruction has been the major cause of the stagnation of wages. That it’s been their policies that are keeping so many people in poverty. The cuts to SNAP have  been catastrophic as just one example.

Manufacturing jobs have left the country, but they’ve also been decreased by automation. You don’t talk about that. You rail against Wall Street, and “big business” but mostly Wall Street. What is breaking up the banks going to do for us? Trade deals are bad, ok, what are you going to do differently. What is the right size for the banks. You got asked some questions and the answers were not so great to my eyes. I’m an engaged voter and I follow politics closely and I’ve been getting more worried about the details because your stump speech doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter where you are – a speech, an interview, a debate – I can do the lines with you and if I drank every time you said billionaire I would be in trouble – but you haven’t gone deeper, until now.

I read the whole transcript of you interview with the New York Daily News and I was surprised – not Hillary Clinton but me. You didn’t show the knowledge that I expected. I’ve heard excuses now – the interviewers were confusing and maybe didn’t know their stuff as well as they should have. I honestly don’t care. I want my President to sit back and explain things. I want to see the cool, calm analytical side of you. I want to see you explain the facts without reverting back to the stump speech or saying you don’t really know. It’s what I love about President Obama and I want more and if you don’t know I want to see you artfully turn it aside. When you talked about the Sandy Hook lawsuit I saw your real feelings. I don’t care about your ratings with the NRA I care about what you say and what you will do.

I’m not Hillary so I get to say that I don’t like your tone, that I think you are being sexist. saw it when some of your colleagues in the congressional black caucus came out and endorsed Hillary. When the civil rights icon John Lewis said that he had not felt your presence supporting them in the struggle for civil rights. You got very angry because you had marched with MLK and you had been involved with housing in the 60s. I was watching during that endorsement and what I felt was that they were saying that you hadn’t been a forceful presence from that march, from those sit-ins, from that arrest till now. When you spoke about the ghetto I felt like they were right. You didn’t get it. These aren’t your issues. You’ve tied them in because you need to and because you do care but everything comes back to the billionaires.

What I have seen over the last months is that you don’t like it when people don’t choose you. You don’t like if people question you and you really don’t like when people are choosing HER over you. So Planned Parenthood endorsed her. It doesn’t impinge on your record it just says that THEY think that she is the person best able to serve the country and their causes. They have felt her presence more. It doesn’t diminish your voting record. You get so angry. I’m going to ask you to take a step back and look at yourself and examine if you are angry because Hillary is a woman and that SHE is a strong candidate. You admitted early on that Hillary had more experience in foreign policy. That was the truth. You can question her judgment but you can’t dismiss her. She questioned whether you had done your homework after that interview, whether you could deliver on your promises that isn’t saying that you aren’t qualified.

Bernie PLEASE don’t become Donald Trump. “She hit me so I’m going to hit her.” That isn’t the way to do things. You were supposed to focus on issues. I had the same questions after that interview. Don’t respond with a school yard attack. Come out and give a speech on the banks and your plans for them. Show us that you know have done your homework. We don’t want attacks. We want a statesperson who will see beyond a headline. We want someone who doesn’t take a request for an apology from one person and turn it into an attack on your opponent.

You are angry. You want people to take back anything that they say that may question you or your intent or your ability. The way it comes across to me is that you don’t like a woman standing on your platform as your equal. You don’t like that people say that she is the most qualified candidate in the field and one of the most qualified ever. Bernie, please celebrate that and tell us how not just your issues, not just your talking points, but your plans, your skills and your experience are going to make you the better President. Don’t buy into the media headlines, don’t go for the one liners, tell us the differences. Give us a speech on the banks that isn’t your stump speech. And please, please, be the statesman that we deserve. Show some grace, show that you are the person who is focused on the issues. When you started this campaign you said that you would not run a negative campaign and now you are saying that you don’t want to go negative but you will.

Stick to the issues Bernie, please, don’t let the media hype make you less than you have told us you are. Answer the questions that were raised in that interview not by attacking her but by showing us that you know your stuff. Don’t tell us where you were in 1960 or what election you lost in 1980 tell us what you did, show us what you know, and tell us what you will do and how you will do it. More than a revolution, more than a stump speech, tell and show those of us who don’t think that just a President Sanders is going to solve everything because he is President. Tell us how congress is going to be changed, how long that will take, tell us how you will get Republican governors to chip in money. Your stump speech hasn’t done it for me. I believe that Hillary Clinton has a better chance of getting things done. Her promises may not be quite as high but they recognize the world that we live in and I know she can work with others. Show me that you can.


Elizabeth Lessard

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