Post #3 has been swirling in my head for a week; three times I’ve started and three times I’ve failed to get my thoughts together.
It’s been a rough week. I will not comment on HRC’s emails, or the two black men killed by police, or the 5 police officers killed by a sniper. My heart is broken and the words from Hamilton are singing in my head. The World Turned Upside Down, The World Turned Upside Down…what have we come to?
When I was elected a delegate for Bernie I really did not comprehend what an incredible honor this charge is. All week, as the world turned upside down, I kept telling myself that there are good people in the world, that good will triumph over evil, and that Bernie’s campaign MATTERS. Whether he wins the nomination or not (and I’m still praying that he will!), what we have accomplished over the last year MATTERS, and the ripple effects of this movement will carry on long after I exhaust my Bernie t-shirts and buttons. We have campaigned for a man who advocates peace and justice and love and respect for all living beings as well as our precious mother Earth–and that MATTERS. Issues that wouldn’t have seen the light of day and voices that wouldn’t have been given a platform, became part of our national dialogue and consciousness because of Bernie–and that MATTERS.
This week I received a telephone call from a fellow delegate from Michigan’s 11th Congressional District. She is pledged to HRC and was calling to encourage me to attend a “unity” event. She was warm and friendly and delightful to speak with, and I appreciated her outreach.
But then she asked me, “What do you think of the Bernie supporters who say they won’t support Hillary?”
Danger, Patty Mullen!. As a pledged delegate I can be de-credentialed if I speak out against the Democratic Party or appear to support another candidate. There are rumors–I repeat, rumors–that the HRC camp is trying to flip Bernie delegates. I proceeded with caution.
“I don’t speak for other Bernie supporters, only for myself and, at the convention, for the people who elected me. My job is to vote for Bernie and that is what I am going to do. I am not projecting beyond July and will not comment on November. I can tell you, however, that no matter what happens in Philadelphia, I will be coming home to work with other Democrats to get rid of our terrible governor and win the state legislature.”
“Oh my God! I am so tired of losing! I’ve been fighting for so long and we HAVE to win to fix Michigan.” She almost wept. Wow.
Three things happened there. First, I responded to a charged question with an answer that is truthful and true to my position as a Bernie supporter and delegate. Second, I realized that my HRC delegate counterpart is NOT the enemy.
See what I did there? I grew up a little. Good for me.
This woman and all of her friends who have been part of the Democratic Party for years and years have been in the trenches fighting for good schools, for women’s rights, for civil rights, for sane gun legislation, for the environment and for a host of other issues that I support–and they’ve been doing it all this time WITHOUT ME. I will have a lot to learn from her.
The official invitation for a Unity cocktail party came from the Michigan Democratic Party later in the week and, but for a wedding that we have to attend, I would be there. I’m ready to make some new friends and allies–there is work to be done back home in Michigan after Philadelphia.
The third thing that happened is more profound: the full weight of my election hit me. I was ELECTED to represent Bernie’s supporters at the convention. I am CHARGED to make their voices heard. It is not MY vote that will be cast–it is THEIRS, and I cannot, I will not, betray that trust. Asked if I would support HRC down the road, I felt a physical sensation as if the 45, 054 people of Michigan’s 11th Congressional District who voted for Bernie were holding me and I them. We are standing strong for Bernie and voting for him in Philadelphia.
I have no doubt that I will be asked the “who are you going to support in November” question again, and delegates need to be prepared to answer it truthfully and smartly. I’m ready to answer AND I’m ready to vote.