Senator Bernie Sanders is not just one man. He is a movement. What he represents is a set of ideals that will pull this nation out of the soul-sucking quicksand in which we currently find ourselves.
After the news of the senator’s recent health setbacks, many people are worried about the future of the Sanders campaign. I was one of them. I found myself thinking, “Will the voters’ confidence be shaken? Will the people vote for someone who may not be able to weather the stress of the presidency? How can we keep asking him to sacrifice his health for the good of the nation?”
I wasn’t sure. I’m still not. My father had a heart attack, stents, and more a few years back. I can’t honestly say that I would want my dad to put himself through such grueling work. I want him for myself, and I want to make each moment we have last as long as possible. These should be happy days of enjoying life’s simple pleasures and each other’s company. Can I really ask so much of someone when I’m not willing to give it up myself? So, I spent some moments in introspection, imagining the various scenarios and what ifs of a future without Bernie. They all seemed a bit lackluster. But I thought, maybe it’s time. He has already given the Democratic Party and this country so much. The issues at the forefront today, like healthcare and student debt, are so dramatically different from what they were four years ago, and we have Senator Sanders to thank for that. Without his voice, representing the millions of disenfranchised voters across this land, we would still be in that sandpit, slowly sinking to the bottom. He has thrown us a lifeline. We can’t let that go.
Is it time for him to hand the rope to someone else to struggle onward? To let the man rest and enjoy life with his family? But who could take on the struggle? Is any single person up to the task? Perhaps not. But then I realized, that isn’t really the point of Bernie’s campaign: “Not me, us.” Not one single person, but all of us pulling together. This movement is so much bigger than one person.
The movement does not begin and end with Sanders. From the first day he steps into the Oval Office, the change begins, like a pebble thrown into the water, reverberating through the depths, rippling across the surface. Every individual within his administration will be a part of the revolution. Every person who chooses to stand at his side represents the ideals of integrity, honesty, humility, transparency, and responsibility to our environment, responsibility to those who are voiceless.
The reason people support Bernie Sanders is not because of the man; it is because of the ideals that he represents. He fights for the issues that are dear to us, and people trust him to fill his administration with those who will carry on in these fights. I have no doubt that his administration will be one of moral integrity. That every person appointed and hired will truly have these ideals at heart and will have the moral fortitude to stand up to corporate interests and lobbyists. A government for the people and by the people. And while I would love for Sanders to fill the role of president for four whole years, we would be blessed to have even one day because that’s all we truly need. For just a moment, someone to put their foot in the door, so the rest of us can gather the strength to get out of this sandpit, push open that door more fully, and allow in the integrity and compassion we’ve been missing.
Ultimately, the choice is his, but knowing Bernie, I believe that he’ll be fighting with every bit of his strength until his final days (may they be many years from now!), win or lose, rain or shine, because that is simply the type of person he is.
So, as selfish as it may be, I ask that he keep fighting for us. Just a little longer. I am willing to put my faith in the movement as a whole. I am putting my faith in every person that is a part of this. Keep pulling. Not me, us.