Life got in the way of my blogging a bit, but, though I’m more than a little rusty, I’m also filled with a boatload of emotional reactions to Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president – and the spillover has to go somewhere. So bear with me.
Unlike a lot of Dem bloggers, pundits and media types, I’m still and will always be #NeverHillary – even to stop Trump. My solution to that dilemma is still unclear; it’s either Jill Stein and going Green (which is most likely what I’ll do), writing in Bernie, or skipping the top ticket altogether and trying to turn the down ballot races into progressive (real progressive) victories. I have a few months to make up my mind on that, but the one thing I’m crystal clear on is that I will never vote for Hillary Clinton. And I reject the cries of “party unity” – the Party will have no one but itself to blame if Donald Trump wins in November. Its disdain for Bernie and his supporters, and arrogance now that we are required to fall in line, steels my resolve to steer clear of the DNC and its gang of hacks. My only obligation is to vote my conscience, and I’m offended by those who tell me that I’m a traitor to progressives if I don’t vote Blue. Truth is, I don’t consider Clinton “blue” – some random shade of purple, maybe, but who even knows that? Transparency and honesty aren’t her trademarks, so it’s anyone’s guess how she’ll govern if elected. The bad news is that Bernie Sanders and his lovely wife Jane were up against a system that, in the end, revealed itself to be impenetrable. They poured their hearts and souls into us and our causes – and the fact that he ultimately fell on the sword and endorsed Clinton is punishment enough. He doesn’t need us to turn against him and make accusations of “sell out” (which does, incidentally, apply to Elizabeth Warren, angling for a boost to her political career). Bernie is a man of integrity, fairness, intelligence and wisdom. I have faith that the decision he made was thrashed out thoroughly beforehand, and that his motives were pure.
Having said that, it tore my heart out watching Bernie endorse Hillary Clinton, because I know, in my gut, how much that hurt him. It was evident in every gesture, every word, and even his autonomic nervous system was screaming, “Noooooo!” It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t love her to death and isn’t tinkled pink to add his support. As body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass noted,
Bernie then says he wants to make it as clear as possible as to why he is endorsing Hillary Clinton. While she begins to smile, Bernie is definitely not smiling. Instead, he licks his lips and then purses his lips, as you see in the photo above. In essence, the lip licking and swallowing reflects that his autonomic nervous system has taken over and he is clearly doing something that he does not want to do. The lip pursing is the body’s way of saying ‘I really don’t want to say this.’ His lack of smiling when standing next to Hillary also reveals his true negative feelings towards her. It indicates that he is not enthused to be endorsing her. Hillary clearly knows how he feels as she exhibits a teeth-clenched, forced smile with her eyes not crinkling . . .
. . . When Hillary began to speak, Bernie’s autonomic nervous system was working overtime as you can tell in the photos above. He was perspiring profusely, which appeared to be an indication of his emotional state. He wiped his forehead, both sides of his cheeks, and did it two different times. Apparently, giving this speech appeared to be one of the most difficult things he had to do as part of the campaign . . . He literally had to catch his breath. He took a very deep breath whereby you could see his shoulders raising as he then deeply exhaled that breath. He was oxygenating himself to stay composed . . . He maintained that pursed lip appearance as his jaw jutted forth, which indicated that he was feeling anger at the situation of having to endorse Hillary. As we have observed, his body language, while remaining in the background while she spoke, spoke volumes about what he was really feeling . . .
I don’t think this is the look of a man who is “selling out,” or angling for an appointment in the Clinton cabinet. This is a man in agony. This is a man who feels torn and tormented and who made this decision for what he deems the good of the country: To stop Trump. I’m certain he feels he’s let his supporters down, and I’m even more certain that the last thing he wants is to endorse a person who epitomizes everything he fights against, and has fought for decades. I get, though, the confusion, anxiety, sadness and, yes, anger, of Bernie supporters. The pledge to take his fight to the convention appears to be off the table, although as some have noted, he hasn’t suspended his campaign. Those planning a Philly trip are now second-guessing the usefulness of it. I’m not a fan of the “fart-in” that Bernie supporters are staging (seems a little too frat-party’ish for my tastes). But again, I understand – and share – the anger, feeling that Clinton has now gotten everything she wanted and none of what she richly deserved. I console myself with the thought that there’s one thing she doesn’t have now, and (I’m hoping) won’t have when it counts: Bernie supporters, in droves, campaigning for her, supporting her, re-tweeting her – and voting for her.
We can continue to vote based on our own sense of integrity, and continue to stand behind Bernie Sanders and appreciate what he brought to the table during this election cycle. What he actually did – and it’s something she can’t erode – is let us know that there is nothing too great to strive for, that integrity matters, that standing up for what we believe in matters, and can change things. What he taught us was how to think and not just what to think. We followed him because he made it simple for us: His message was clear, unequivocal, and built to last.
I can’t be mad at Bernie; I’m too sad for him. The ones I’m angry at are the “party unity” mouthpieces who derided Bernie and his supporters, who mocked his vision, and who now are going to pat him on the head, praise him for falling in line, and consign him to the dustbin of history.
Bernie’s still out there, doing what he’s always done, and no endorsement of Clinton can take that away from him. His pain was palpable. And I share it.