In the wake of Bernie Sanders relinquishing his bid for the democratic nominee for POTUS, I know his supporters are hurting and angry. I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there. After Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the race, I did the psychological equivalent of crawling under my bed and drinking boxed wine for a week. I was despondent. I intermittently cried. And I’m still burned about it.
The thing that’s helping me make sense of her loss is a recognition that those of us in the so-called progressive camp have been given a mandate by voters who in many cases have much more at stake in this upcoming election. And that mandate is about the failures of liberal whiteness.
So if you’re mad that Bernie’s not it, consider this: If you are not an immigrant, Native American, person of color, poor, disabled, or trans, your job is to vote like you are. Our current administration is systematically dismantling any and all protections for these groups. Ditto for women. Ditto for the environment, which disenfranchises all of us, but disproportionately impacts the poor.
My candidate isn’t the nominee, and I am super pissed about it. I’m super sick of the misogyny that consistently keeps the most qualified female contenders from the Oval Office. But I recognize that feeling like I could just ignore this upcoming election means that I would be operating from a position of callous privilege and blatant disregard for those who don’t have the benefit of such privilege.
As I said I’m pissed. I don’t think that Joe Biden is the best candidate. But in many ways, this election isn’t about me; it’s about people who have a lot less than I do, who have had to deal with decades — centuries — of systematic institutionalized racism, who are being held in cages on our southern border, who have had their children taken from them and, in my cases, may never see them again.
And it’s about Roe v. Wade, FFS, which is hanging by a thread with two SCOTUS justices appointed by Trump for the sole purpose of overturning it and taking women back to a time when women regularly died because they had to appeal to back alley abortion providers.
If you’re a pissed off white person, angry that your candidate isn’t the nominee, get over yourself. Listen to black voters. Listen to Elie Mystal, whose March 2, 2020 article in the Nation explains why they handed this country a mandate by voting for Joe Biden:
“What explains the fact that the oldest black voters, the elders in our community who have a living memory of oppression and violence that I’ve only read about, voted in overwhelming numbers for a rickety white guy who occasionally thinks he’s in a John Wayne movie?
Some people on Twitter, including people who weirdly think of themselves as part of Bernie Sanders’s coalition, chalked up Biden’s win to ‘low information voters’ in South Carolina. The argument would be offensive if it weren’t also so dumb. Older black voters in South Carolina have a lifetime of education and experience dealing with the most persistent threat to their safety and rights in this country: white people.
[B]lack people know exactly what they’re doing, and why. Joe Biden is the indictment older black folks have issued against white America. His support is buttressed by chunks of the black community who have determined that most white people are selfish and cannot be trusted to do the right thing.”
They are right, you know: we white folks seldom do the right thing. We do the self-interested things, and we sidestep the carnage that we leave in our wake. This time around, set your privilege aside and vote for the people in our country whose lives may very well depend upon getting rid of Trump in November.