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The worst reason not to vote for Bernie Sanders

When did citizens of the United States adopt a defeatist attitude?

For months now, I have read time after time that if elected president, Bernie Sanders “won’t be able to get anything done,” and that his policies will “never be passed” because of Republican opposition.

But what does it say about the United States if its citizens are afraid to vote for a candidate because they don’t believe their government will allow the leader of the free world to address the biggest domestic problems it faces? Moreover: what does it say about us?

May 5, 1970: Thousands of University of Washington students occupying and blocking Intersate Highway 5 (I-5) and facing state troopers in riot gear as they protested the killings at Kent State Universtiy and the invasion of Cambodia. Photo, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle.

May 5, 1970: Thousands of University of Washington students occupying and blocking Intersate Highway 5 (I-5) and facing state troopers in riot gear as they protested the killings at Kent State Universtiy and the invasion of Cambodia. Photo, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle.

Many Americans grew up hearing about heroic protests. Hundreds of thousands died fighting for their vision of the United States in the Revolutionary War and in the Civil War. The African-American Civil Rights Movement saw boycotts, sit-ins, marches, and other forms of protest (including Bernie Sanders’ arrest while protesting segregated schools in Chicago). And tens of thousands of citizens demonstrated their opposition to the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s.

No idea is more fundamental to Americans’ sense of ourselves—as individuals and as a nation—than freedom, and we have always been shaped by our battle for it. Millions of Americans have marched, fought, and even died for their beliefs and principles.

But based on the aforementioned argument against voting for Bernie Sanders, many people believe we shouldn’t elect him to be our next president because… his policies might be blocked by other elected officials?

…officials elected to represent the best interests of the American people?

…at a time when many of Bernie Sanders’ proposals are supported by the majority of Americans?

Really?

Nobody is asking you to pick up a musket and march onto a field and risk being shot and killed among thousands of other Americans. Nobody is asking you to take time off work or quit your job so you can go march in freezing cold weather, or walk to work for 381 days. Nobody is asking you to clash with police officers and risk being shot. Bernie Sanders is simply asking you to register to vote, and then vote. It’s not hard to fight for your beliefs in 2016.

When did Americans stop standing up for themselves to tremble in fear of a bunch of old people in business suits?

The clergyman and civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (3rd from left) and other black and white civil right leaders march 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC during the "March on Washington".

The clergyman and civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (3rd from left) and other black and white civil right leaders march 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC during the “March on Washington”.

Are you truly happy with the state of our country? Because I am not. I am not happy when millions of Americans can’t afford medical care. I am not happy when sick people can’t afford to buy medication they need to live. I am not happy about contemptible African-American male incarceration rates, or the fact that incomprehensible mandatory minimum sentencing policies are destroying lives. And as someone who would like to start a family some day, I am not happy that America has the worst paid family leave policies of any developed country.

Our government could easily pass legislation to alleviate the hardships faced by millions of Americans. To begin that process, all we must do is elect officials with the courage to do so. And as one of those officials, Bernie Sanders has shown consistently for decades that he stands for the fundamental principles of freedom and will stop at nothing to help all Americans attain a higher quality of life.

I know a lot of us are comfortable. The internet is great. Television is great. Fast food is great. We have new Star Wars films. What could be better, right?

But if you take a close look, you can see a darkness under the light of day-to-day living. And the status quo is not going to change that. Our forefathers did not stand by and say “legislators will abolish slavery some day”—they fought for it. Our parents and grandparents did not sit at home during the Vietnam War while their brothers and sisters were dying and say “eventually our politicians will get us out of there”—they protested. People like Bernie Sanders did not idly watch as his fellow countrymen were mistreated and say “maybe some day our country will be less segregated”—they stood up for what was right.

So do not tell me with a straight face “I agree with Bernie Sanders’ ideas, but I won’t vote for him because Hillary Clinton is a more ‘realistic’ candidate who can slowly enact change.” That is a surrender, and that is not the way of this great country that I’ve learned about for my entire life.

I completely understand that not everyone agrees with Bernie’s policies, and I can respect many reasons for voting for another candidate. Do you disagree with Bernie’s policies? Fine, then don’t vote for him. Do you disagree with his voting record? Fine, then don’t vote for him. But don’t you dare cast a halfhearted vote for someone else just because you’re worried he’ll lose a fight, because that’s not in the spirit of this country. At all.

And on a final note: don’t give me the argument that I’m “naive” or that I don’t understand how politics work. I’m not stupid. I get it. It will be a fight. But I’d rather fight and lose than roll over and accept failure. And I hope that you’ll confront your pessimism and mistrust of the system and take a bold step to fight with me.

We are the citizens of the United States of America, and this is our country. We are blessed with the privilege of being able to write our own history. And the time to do it is now.

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About Cody Gough

Cody Gough is a producer and host at WGN Radio in Chicago. In addition to producing the Brian Noonan Show since 2008, Cody co-hosts both Brian's web-exclusive podcasts and his own lifestyle podcast, Game/Life Balance U.S. Cody also moonlights as a commercial actor, video game enthusiast, and professional social media manager for a global firm.

24 responses to “The worst reason not to vote for Bernie Sanders”

  1. kellyaddison says :

    Thank you so much for sharing this. This is exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time and I can’t believe more people don’t see what you’re saying. I agree with you one hundred percent

  2. Kelly says :

    Well put. I imagine Trump supporters feel the same, although I have not managed to find a single one articulate enough to express it. 😊

    • Cody Gough says :

      I think actually that supporters of any candidate could relate to this post, but Trump or O’Malley supporters would definitely be chief among them. Rand Paul and Chris Christie supporters undoubtedly have some things in common with this mindset as well.

  3. dj says :

    “When did citizens of the United States adopt a defeatist attitude?”

    Late 70’s – early 80’s.

    It seems, the “republicans” were quite upset @ our progress with equality, environment protection, that whole Nixon thing & prepared by buying media conduits & building infrastructure. They were ready to pounce with a large megaphone & “democrats” were arrogant & blindsided. Once the ball started to roll, it has been difficult to stop.

    I don’t think we can underestimate the impact of a repeated loud message has on the populace who may be naive, trusting or less experienced/knowledgeable. I feel hopeful when I hear that young people are wiser and have a relatively good BS meter.

    Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rule – Lies Are the New Truth

    I’ve wanted to know the answer too. These two items seemed to make sense:

    Transcript of Al Gore’s 2005 Speech @ We Media Conference: Marketplace of ideas
    Originally read on commondreams.org, but repeat find,so
    http://www.legitgov.org/transcript_gore_media_conference_071005.html
    https://archive.org/details/AlGoreKeynote2005WeMediaConference (audio)

    Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, By Matt Bai
    https://web.archive.org/web/20100727122538/http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/25/magazine/25DEMOCRATS.html?pagewanted=all

  4. LindaMeisiinger says :

    Thank you so much for putting into words what those of us supporting Bernie also feel. I don’t understand anyone who can’t see through the forced rhetoric of Clinton. Bernie Sanders’s integrity has led him throughout his political career. If given half a chance he will make the difference others have failed to do. He needs the swell of the people to fight against the establishment that shun and ignore him. He is real.

  5. Michael Vendl says :

    Thank you for posting this – I believe that it’s the best definition of a Political Revolution I’ve ever read!

  6. contentvirga says :

    This is happening. This is a tidal wave gaining power, hidden from view until it lands on shore. Americans are becoming aware that electing lawyers and wealthy sycophants who do not care about them will only continue the wars, continue the exploitation, continue the funneling of wealth to those who do not need it. The GOP and the baby boomers created Bernie Sanders by selling this country out to the highest bidder. What did they expect was going to happen? http://www.contentvirga.com

  7. Aaron Smith says :

    Well said, I been saying the same for months and months. I mean where would we be if we didn’t have a political revolution when FDR ran, or Teddy Roosevelt. What is sad is that a lot of what we are fighting for now, people established before us to prevent what is happening to us right now, we let laws like Glass-Steagall, anti-trust laws, federally funded colleges, infrastructure spending, rights to form unions etc etc.

  8. Carmel Taglia says :

    Wow, Cody. What pertinent, poignant, well-presented, well-expressed, well thought out verbiage!! I am proud to be an American now that I have read this, and a little ashamed that I espoused some of the defeatist, “roll-over and accept it” attitude. Bravo and thank you, for your words, heart, thoughts, passion and attitude. We are better served with these words than many of those blotivated on the campaign trail. You now have my attention, & I will be taking a closer look at my vote.

    • Cody Gough says :

      Wow thank you so much for the kind words Carmel, it means a lot to me! Im glad my post resonated with you and I hope it serves you in helping select a leader who will fight for you and not for corporate interests or money from super PACs.

  9. alan cory says :

    well, i won’t get into some kind of ‘face-off’ here. all i can say comes down to two things. first, as a conservative who believes first and foremost in our constitution which guarantees each of us freedom to be and believe as we are, etc. i am, and have been for some time, disappointed with how our nation has moved along over my lifetime. i’m 66 years old. however, second, i also have an education and have additionaly served quite a number of years in the army. i have also worked another 30 + years in our own economy, driving big trucks and doing a number of other things as well. i say all that to say this. socialism is a noose which is around the necks of any and all who embrace it even just a little bit. it chokes economies and therefore the people who have to live and survive in those economies. capitalism is not perfect, but it is not a death sentence for the nations which embrace it. socialism has failed many times, from the u.s.s.r. to venezuela, from cuba to n. korea. it is turning countries which embrace it in europe into failures like greece. yes, it appears to be doing okay in sweden, etc., but the truth is coming to the surface nowadays. i can only hope that those younger people today who are looking at bernie sanders, at socialism, as some sort of good thing, will go back and truly study some real history. the nazis were socialists, for example. they weren’t ‘right wing’ conservatives, but instead full-blown socialists. and socialism continually tightens the noose on our necks, just as nazism did in germany and then all over europe. socialism…all things controlled by and given by those in control…government. it does not recognize your right to think or say or go where you want. it does not recognize your right to have what is yours. etc. think about it, folks.

    • contentvirga says :

      Alan Cory–you are conflating democratic socialism with communism and fascism. Hate to put it to you—but you were a socialists in the army, in fact you were paid by the public to carry a gun and kill people – an extreme form of socialism. And if you are 66 yo then it is your generation that whored this country out to the highest bidder and allowed the US dollar to decline- losing over 60% since 1980 alone. This is not about Nazis or Russia its about picking up the pieces left over from the Baby Boomers.

      • alcory11 says :

        oh, i would be the first to admit that my generation is the origin of all that ails the u.s. we came in riding the wave of the greatest generation the world ever knew, of course, and somehow got it all twisted up while we also had to face a lot of difficulties in the world which arose following WWII. all that, of course, could take up encyclopedic tomes to deal with and i won’t try to do such here. as for socialism, i will state that all forms of government are expressions of socialism in the very fact that they rest on the unified thrust of the people governed. that unity, of course, is where governments differ. a willing and supportive people who wish to rule themselves and have certain rights will have a government significantly different from one which is totalitarian in its essence, for example. so yes, our government here in the u.s. is certain socialist by definition, but i would point out that its duty as a government is to stay out of people’s lives, to honor their individual rights…rights which are not ordained nor given by government, but instead are ours simply because we live and the government has not power over our rights whatsoever. this means i can say whatever i wish to say regardless of whether it is offensive or in some way disagreeable with anyone else. i know we’ve gotten around to things like ‘hate speech’, but actually, the government is not supposed to have any ‘say’ in such things. of course, our government now does have a ‘say’ in what we can say or think, etc. it is the encroachment of socialism which brings this on, puts the noose more firmly around our necks. sooner or later, the noose will be made up of enough ‘fibers’ that the rope will be enough, and government will start to strangle us. i have no need or desire to use ‘the n-word’, but my right to do so is mine alone without any law to be in place to ‘say’ anything about such usage. of course, we are now doing exactly that, making such terms not just offensive but actually unlawful when used in certain kinds of ways. the point is simple. our government is supposed to be ours. we are not supposed to be somehow the possession of the government. socialism is certainly a valid concept in life in this world, but to allow it to gain power over the individual is to make government bigger than it should be. yes, i was a soldier. i went to viet nam, to europe, etc. i realize the dangers of a standing army, something our founders didn’t want and fought against. of course, in the end, i have no better idea than having a standing army since the world is what it is and weapons are what they are. what i do know is that having a public, standing army is infinitely better than having some kind of private forces which would not be under government rule but instead corporate, etc. the same goes for police forces and other things. we must, as individuals, stand vigil on all these things, never allow any government force…military or otherwise…begin to dominate us. there are no easy answers, but most certainly, having more widespread socialism is not the answer. in the end that would bring upon us all exactly what we are beginning to fear now…more government intrusion and control of our lives.

      • contentvirga says :

        Alan—I mean no disrespect, but was there a point there? We all benefit from and draw the lines of socialism differently. From public libraries to police departments. I am not for free education but I am for a single payer system. I am not for more wars but for homeland protection. —-This ‘noose’ is GOP propaganda to slow people in sticking up for themselves and their future.

      • alcory11 says :

        my point is simple. while we must have government…our founders understood that…and all government is some expression of socialism, we must also see what our founders saw. government must be under the control of the people, not the other way around. if we allow ‘the people’ to make government into something which controls us then we have failed. we are not intended to be a democracy, sir, but instead to be a republic. that is to say, we are a representative republic in which each of us has the right to choose all things about our lives and how we conduct ourselves. mandating that all people, for example, participate in a ‘single payer system’ of healthcare is saying that we cannot opt for some other form of healthcare…total personal responsibility or buying our own health insurance, etc….is simply beyond the power granted to government by our constitution. i know it sounds good up front, but in the end it puts government in charge of our money, our care, and our lives. it is tantamount to lynchmob rule. democracy says the majority rules. a representative democracy says that we each, as individuals, rule our own lives. it isn’t perfect because some of us will choose poorly in some ways. healthcare is not a right, sir. our right to choose our healthcare and how we fund it is our right.

      • contentvirga says :

        Alcory–you strike me as someone who has not read up on the current state of healthcare, how we as a society all share in the cost regardless of ability to pay, and how every other 1st world country has embraced a single payer system. As Americans we must give Israel millions of dollars everyday to support their nationalized healthcare service, while normal everyday Americans cannot afford an MRI. —–Can government get out of control? Yes. Is government always the answer? No. —– A single payer system is not a government take over of health care and will not restrict the doctor or hospital you want to visit. I am sure you will still be able to buy other insurance products if you so choose. And when this republic chooses Bernie Sanders, it will be representative of what the people want.——I suggest you spend some time researching EMTALA or spending time in the oncology ward, then try and peddle that shit of ‘some of us will choose poorly in some ways’ .

      • alcory11 says :

        wow…lol. well, i can tell you that i’ve spent some time in a couple of those 1st world countries with nationalized healthcare, and really, they aren’t quite so wonderful as you say. but i won’t bother you with all that. as for single payer not being fully in control of us, you kid yourself. make the government the responsible party for healthcare and the end result is that we’ll all be subject to government and fully at the mercy of all its shortcomings and so on. as for being in this or that ward of a hospital, i’ve spent most of this past year in the hospital, had five surgeries including a quad-bypass, a sternectomy, and some amputations, etc. i’ve had my own choice in everything…doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc. that would not have happened under obamacare, which we all know has failed in all the promises from our president when we talk about doctors, hospitals and so on. it also fails in cost to so many, both in monthly premiums and escalating deductibles which have already priced the ACA out of reach for millions. millions of others of us have completely lost coverage, as my wife has. i’m fortunate. i’m old enough for medicare and i have enough…barely…to afford the medicare premium we have all pay as well as enough to pay for part B and part D coverages. so my annual outlay for everything including prescriptions is roughly $5000 or so. that’s almost $500 per month plus another $250 a month of so for those premiums i mentioned. all that comes out of my $1100 s.s. check as my wife can no longer work due to my health conditions as she must care for me. but…BUT…if i were on obamacare we would be completely wiped out while i would have to take whatever hospital and doctor i was assigned. we all know the truth here. and making it all into a single payer plan would make it worse. i’d be dealing with lines at some doctor’s office that would likely be ten to twenty times as many people as i see there now. and you speak of mri’s and so on. well, in single payer we’d see that sort of thing dwindle in accessibility to a mere fraction of what we have now. sir, you end your response with a rather nasty comment to which i won’t respond. i thought i had found a good place to offer opinion and debate a bit, but it is apparent i’ve found another internet thug who wants only to find those who agree with him on everything or to somehow bully those who don’t. thank you for your time, but there is no need to respond.

      • contentvirga says :

        Alcory——You speak against socialism and the government but take Social Security. You speak against the cost of prescription drugs, but do not want us as a society to do something about it collectively-ie single payer. You use the socialistic systems of Medicare and Medicaid and had your choice of doctors and hospitals, all under a government run single payer system.

        Under Obamacare you do not have to take the hospital you are ‘assigned’–stop believing propaganda. Do insurances have restrictions, yes, but your are free to choose what insurance you would like. The reason your medical insurance under Obamacare would be expensive is due to the the extensive medical history you have, so in order to not let you die a socialistic single payer system has stepped in and saved your life. Your welcome. I paid for your surgery, and I am happy to do it.

        The problem is insurance companies, which is really just someone charging you to run a single payer system. You get that right? We all pay in, they decided what they want to pay out, and take a profit. There is nothing magical there.

        It also sounds like you and your wife did not plan for retirement. That Social Security check you cash, that is my money, and I am happy for you to have it. I am ok with the ‘poor choices’ you have made, and I am willing to help out. Welcome to Socialism.

        Is the ACA perfect, not even close. But everyone is agreement that people should not be dropped once they get sick and that pre-existing conditions should be covered. That costs money. Still waiting on that GOP plan to fix healthcare.

        Where do you live? Is it in one of the states where healthcare subsidies was refused based on partisan lines? Was that why your wife cannot get coverage?

        As for my nasty comment, hardly. It just becomes an excuse for you to hold onto your views. Face it, without socialism you would be living on the street.

        http://www.contentvirga.com

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