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Civil Rights Protester Bernie Sanders 1963
I have never been political here.  At least not really I-support-this-candidate kind of political but now, in this  democratic  primary, I feel I have to be.

I used to believe that presidential primaries were the process that told us which candidate was most likely to win. But thanks to a couple of aha moments during this primary, I've realized that isn't what primaries are meant for at all.

My first aha concerned the media.  

To me the mainstream media has always seemed skewed.  I couldn't help noticing, for example, how hard the media tried to rally war support after 9/11 or how they've failed to expose the atrocities of the meat and dairy industry or cover key freedom of speech issues like Net Neutrality or Ag-Gag, but I didn't pay a whole lot of attention really to what they were (or weren't) saying until this presidential primary.

The media has been telling us that Bernie Sanders can't win since day one. We have been told that over and over.  We have been told it overtly.  We have been told it subtly, through back-handed complements and innuendo.  We were told it before anyone had any idea what Bernie was capable of and we are told it now in the face of gathering momentum and repeated victories.

My aha moment came when I realized that this is full-out propaganda.  If you listen carefully you will realize it too. You'll realize it when you notice how the media is spinning things, minimizing every win and telling us over and over again that Bernie can't win.  If we buy in to this we are participating in, as Sarah Silverman says, in her surprisingly lovely youtube on Bernie, "what my shrink would call a self-fulfilling prophecy."

My second aha was about the Democratic party and our political structure as a whole.

I have been a vote-the-party-line Democrat since the day I turned 18 and I expected to always be that. But when I saw how hard the party was working to push Hillary through, I knew that I would not and could not vote for a candidate chosen by the Democratic powers that be.

I simply do not accept a super-delegate system that takes the power to choose out of the hands of Democratic voters and puts it firmly under the control of what is essentially the party itself.

This isn't democracy.  And this is something that should concern you no matter who you support.

But why does it matter which candidate our party provides as long as that candidate is a Democrat?
  • It matters because Bernie Sanders isn't, as you probably already know, aligned with big business. But, while everyone has heard this, not everyone realizes just how important it is.  Bernie doesn't owe big business because he does not have a Super PAC.  His money comes from people like me who contribute 15 or 27 dollars out every check whether they can afford it or not.
  • It matters because if ordinary people put Bernie into the white house, ordinary people are the people he owes.  Not frackers or Monsanto or Wall Street or the people who apparently control the media or make billions of dollars on ill-conceived wars.  
  • It matters because Bernie has years (and years) in congress introducing important bills and being on the right side of almost every major decision.  Even when those decisions were very unpopular.
  • It matters because Bernie is a humanist who opposes a system that makes life easier and easier for the rich by taking more and more away from ordinary people like you and me. 
  • It matters because Bernie Sanders is the real deal.  A person who wants to be president because he wants to make this world a better place. And his record highlights this every step of the way.
The differences between Hillary and Bernie are not coincidental.  And, to me, these differences mean that our party and maybe even our country isn't really what the people who are running things want us to perceive it to be.  

As a result, I am no longer a tow the party line Democrat.  But I did learn something from the days when I was.  

I canvassed for Barack Obama in the rain and the snow and the dark in 2008 and I was our local canvas coordinator in 2012. Working with the party in 2012 taught me a lot but it was 2008 that taught me the most.

I remember sitting on the floor of the hallway of our local Democratic Headquarters in the final minutes of the 2008 presidential election.  I was working from my list of supporters, making as many phone calls as I could before the polls closed. Telling people that they did not need ID. And that if they were in line they could not be turned away. 

I remember sitting there in that hallway and suddenly knowing that this was a moment I would never forget.  I remember the energy and the feeling and the idea that WE could change the world.  I remember doing that.  And I know that it is possible.

So let's make it happen.

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