None of these issues will come up, not national health care, not trade, not income inequality, not poverty, not free college, not breaking up the banks, not those connected to Black Lives Matter; all of these and more will be dumped in the memory hole, forgotten, ignored, dismissed except for the occasional passing reference intended to show some candidate's deep, deep concern without making any binding commitment to anything that would make a real difference; all will ignored by the candidates, forgotten by the parties, dismissed by the media.
Unless we make it impossible for them to get away with it. Unless we make it impossible for them to ignore, to forget, to dismiss the millions, the tens of millions, to who these are not just "issues," they are their passions, even their lives. Unless we simply refuse to give up.
There is hope that may be the case, at least to some degree. A few days ago the New York Times ran a story about "life after Bernie," asking various Sanders supporters what they intended to do now that he had failed to secure the nomination.
What struck me most was the fact that most of them echoed what I have been saying all along: This was not about Bernie Sanders. It was about the causes his candidacy represented; it was about the issues, not the person. It was about political revolution. Which means my question "What now?" was answered in different ways but they all came down to "Carry it on." Keep fighting. Don't give up.
For one example, The People's Summit, set for Chicago the week before the Democratic convention in Philadelphia (which is to be held, interestingly, at the Wells Fargo Center - apparently optics was not one of their concerns) has 51 left and labor organizations as partners. It's title is "building the political revolution" and intends to directly focus on the question of "What now?"
But still we face a burden, still we face, in Martin Luther King's notable phrase from his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, still we face "the fierce urgency of Now." Still we face the fact that - as I said earlier - the same sort of forces that crushed the Occupy movement by force seek to crush this resurgence of passion for justice by wrapping it in a thick cloud of silence covered over with vague promises of vaguer improvements in the condition of our fellow citizens, crushing the resurgence of passion by feeding us, again quoting Dr. King, "the tranquilizing drug of gradualism."
So we must keep on, loudly, insistently, defiantly, even rudely. Because the issue is not Bernie Sanders. It's even not, in the broadest sense, about the election. It's about, to paraphrase Dr. King, making real the promises of justice. It's about revolution.
To Bernie Sanders himself, I would commend to him the closing words of Ted Kennedy's address to the 1980 Democratic Convention after his failed bid for the party's nomination:
For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.To the rest of us, I would commend the words of the man in the movie: "Never give up, never surrender."
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