One of the defining moments of last night's Democratic National Convention was Sarah Silverman's calling out the Bernie Sanders delegates and telling them they were being ridiculous. With all due respect to the gracious and talented Ms. Silverman, Bernie's Backers weren't being ridiculous, they were acting like a bunch of political amateurs, which is exactly what they are. I'm not trying to insult anyone with that remark, it just happens to be the truth. True political professionals learn how to roll with the punches. They discover very early in the game that you can't allow yourself to take overheated rhetoric seriously.
What you see on the convention floor are the true believers. A lot of them have never been involved in politics before. Hell, a whole LOT of them have never been Democrats before, much like the mentor and guru, Bernie Sanders. They don't play by the rules of the game because they don't even know that politics HAS any rules. The political pros will tell you that it's not unusual to see political rivals almost literally throw the kitchen sink at each other at a joint appearance or a debate, and then go out for a drink after it was all over. But a political amateur takes all the harsh words and hard rhetoric to heart. It's hard to forgive and forget after a long, tough, mean campaign.
Sure, a LOT of the Sanders' delegates acted like prime, grade A boobs last night. That's why Bernie Sanders' speech last night was so important. It was his job to lead his followers back to the world of real time politics. Andrew Jackson probably described politics in its most relevant and fundamental form, "To the victor belong the spoils!". Over the years this phrase has been associated with graft and corruption, and doubtless the spoils system created a lot of the dishonesty that we've come to abhor in politics. But at the same time, it reveals the kernel of our democratic system, namely that elections have consequences.
The most important thing Bernie did last night is to remind his followers of what they actually accomplished with all the hard work they put in during the primary season. Hillary Clinton was nowhere NEAR advocating for free college tuition, expanding Medicare, significantly reducing the role of super delegates in the nomination process, opposing TPP, or getting rid of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, issues near and dear to the hearts of all Sanders' delegates. It took Bernie himself to impress on his supporters that they had achieved a significant victory even though they did not win the ultimate prize.
Did the booing on the floor of the convention demonstrate that the Democratic Party is fundamentally divided? Not really. Yes, on some issues the party is divided. But division is inherent within ANY political organization. The media have consistently misunderstood the way political parties function. Their idea of unity isn't unity at all. It's uniformity. Political parties are not made up of functional clones, each one punched out by cookie cutters. The members of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party all have their own individual take on how the system can best operate. Sometimes those differences can be quite strong. And when one point of view triumphs over another, it produces emotions, emotions like bitterness and resentment.
What Bernie Sanders did last night is remind his supporters what competition is all about. When individuals, organizations, corporations or anything or anyone engages in competition, there will be winners and losers. Bernie said, in so many words, that NOW is the time for his people to dust themselves off and keep their eye on the ball, which is the election in November. He stated in no uncertain terms that Donald Trump MUST be defeated because if he isn't, not only will the Sanders plan for America fall through, all the progress of the past seven and a half years will be reversed.
I have been hard on Bernie Sanders in the past. But I have to give him a tremendous amount of credit now. It's never easy to lose. It's especially frustrating when you discover that there were forces you had assumed were neutral which turned out to be arrayed against you. It would have been easy for Bernie to go out and sulk, pout, and refuse to have anything to do with the Democratic Party, a party which he has only just recently joined. But he didn't. If the Democrats win this election in November, they will owe Bernie Sanders a LOT!! Take a bow Bernie, you deserve it!!!
Filed under: Politics