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Bernie April 30, 2015

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Early on during my life in Vermont (the mid-90s or so), on a trip north to Burlington to do some shopping, Tim and I were in a department store looking for ties. There was another man there doing the same. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I thought he resembled some of the wealthy gentlemen I’d been meeting farther south, the stuff of boards of directors and golfers. (Perhaps he was wearing a suit.) I nearly approached him to ask how I knew him, if we’d met somewhere (some museum function, perhaps), just like I’d nearly done with Dom DeLuise in a general store before I figured that one out. (When one is the new person in town, and everyone is new to her, she is certain she has recently met you and that she should remember who you are is embarrassed that she doesn’t.)

Just before we paid for Tim’s ties, it dawned on me that it might be Bernie Sanders, our lone congressman. I hadn’t seen that many photos of him, but my brain had finally settled on who this man might be. I asked the cashier. She looked at the credit card slip he’d just signed and confirmed it. She was a recent immigrant and did not know who he—or even what a congressman—was. I can’t say I did a good job of explaining. I was sorry I hadn’t figured it out in time to say hello to him.

That was the only time we crossed paths.

When rumors began swirling that Bernie might run for president, I wasn’t thrilled. Anyone left of seriously conservative in this country seems to be the target of ridicule, and I wasn’t sure I could stand watching it. I was, frankly, worried when he ran for Senate in 2006. I didn’t fully believe that Vermont* would promote him from congressman to senator as an Independent, and I didn’t want to lose his voice in Washington because he’d aimed too high. I was so relieved to be wrong.

But apparently something within me has shifted. It would appear that I’ve been harboring a secret hope—one so secret that I’ve been keeping it from myself—that Bernie would run, as long as he did so as a Democrat. In the wee hours of the morning, he announced he was doing just that. Do I think he can win? No. (Have you figured out that I can’t claim to be an optimist?) But I’ve come to believe that someone not tied to big money, someone who isn’t being outright bought, someone who in many ways has nothing to lose needs to speak up for the middle class in a way that’s not just lip service.

So I’m a little bit gleeful, at least briefly, at least now. Speak truth to power.

 

 

*People think of Vermont as a liberal state, but that’s not my experience, at least not in this corner. I live around a near 50-50 split. Vermont didn’t elect a Democratic governor until 1962, and the mantle has been passed back and forth between parties ever since.

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Comments»

1. Craig R. Smith - April 30, 2015

I only met him once, at a play performed in Burlington that two Middletowners had written. An odd combination of brusque (even gruff) and openness. Nothing false in him; I’m frankly shocked he’s gotten anywhere in politics, since he’s not good at glad-handing and it’s clear he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But I’m happy. I hope he doesn’t get his ass handed to him.

2. Jan - April 30, 2015

Oh, me too! I’m happy he’s in. I just saw a sound bite of him saying “We’re in this to win” and that would be wonderful – but I’m thrilled that he’s changing the conversation. (I’m in Oregon. Also a blue state that doesn’t feel very blue, at least not in my county.)

indigobunting - May 3, 2015

Hi Jan! Thanks for commenting. (And interesting blue comment—we’re in the same boat!)

3. Mali - May 4, 2015

I’m going to follow this with interest. We do not look at the US form of democracy – with all the influence of big money and religion – with any envy.


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