Sanders is already campaigning against Trump (as well he should be). True to form, it’s effective—and beautiful. Here’s why that matters.
With this new ad, I was thrilled to see that Bernie is taking it upon himself to campaign against Trump. It’s perfectly practical. Darn right he should start acting like he’ll be opposing Trump in the general. Clinton already is putting that forth—and she has no more reason to do so, in reality, than he does.
The mainstream media are still presuming, of course—maybe more intensely (and nervously) than ever. They present this conviction in spite of Sanders’ wins in Indiana and West Virginia and his continued YUGE rallies in California, Oregon, and Montana. And his decisive double digit polling against Trump. And the fact that Clinton numerically hasn’t a hope of securing the nomination with pledged delegates alone, setting us up for a complex, historical and interesting (to say the least) contested convention.
Regardless, Sanders moves forward with two excellent wins this month and some good-looking momentum in upcoming states. He moves forward in his trademark pragmatic, strong, and unswerving manner, as if slicing powerfully through a snowstorm, allowing the flakes to fall, smiling. Exuding both joy and determination. Letting us know that all the senseless noise around us is in fact no more than strange snow in summertime. Soft, swirling, melting as it hits the ground. He pays attention to what matters; he focuses surely and steadily on the original intentions; he never veers off distractedly.
So the media is escalating the charade of ignorance it began a year ago, but anyone with a computer and a critically-thinking mind of their own knows we’re headed for a contested convention with some compelling arguments in hand.
Therefore, campaigning as if he is in fact the presumptive nominee is more than reasonable and fair game. And smart.
But the way he did it in this ad was also so very telling.
WATCH. Note how different this is than any campaign ad you’ve probably ever seen related to a general Presidential election.
What is he doing?
He tells us what he believes the American people will not tolerate. He tells us why hate, divisiveness, racism, and fear will not work. He tells us we are better than that and that we will not go for it, that it will never happen.
And he does it in such a characteristically heartfelt, hopeful, beautiful fashion.
He does it the way a really good parent lovingly tells their child, “I trust you to do the right thing,” rather than chastising “You better not do that bad thing!”
He says, “I believe in you. I believe in us.”
Sanders is (among so many other things) a role model for opposing hatred with love, compassion, and truth—rather than the conventional “an eye for an eye” animosity and deception.
Moreover, he is unabashed about bringing such messages into the political universe—a space normally kept sterilized of such seemingly “soft” and apolitical notions.
Again and again he insists that morality, ethics, integrity and principle be integrated into every political topic, woven into the fabric of discussion regarding every issue. Rather than consent that these are spiritual matters to be parsed in some other entirely segregated arena, he blithely marries them in his every consistent articulation of problems and solutions.
Most of all, he does this in a way that is so authentic, so far beyond canned campaign rhetoric, that you can feel your own heart respond, reaching toward this genuineness as a blooming flower leans toward the sun.
At least, those who are resonating with his messages feel this. That’s part of what it is, I would contend, to “feel the Bern.”
Perhaps yes, too, the burning we feel is the licking flames of anger, of indignation at injustice and inequality. We feel hot grief for our country’s crumbling democracy and the suffering that this dissolution has wrought for so many. We feel rage at the corporate interests hijacking the health of our people and our planet.
But we also feel compassion, care, generosity, connection, a sense of unity…and love.
This ad offers the gentlest of rebukes you may ever see in a Presidential race. Rather than directly criticize or tear down the opponent in question, he instead builds up those who would not accept that opponent’s ugliest decrees. I hate to be cliché, but it’s true: rather than strike at the darkness, he affirms the light. And it’s different.
He speaks his vision for the best that we can be, taking a stand for the goodness he knows is within us. He makes a choice. He shows us our choice. He champions our choice.
He literally generates and embodies—in his method of delivering the message—the message itself.
To say this ad is a creative act is literal in more ways than one.
What he says may be wishful in some ways. It may be that what he speaks here is not true for everyone. Certainly, the cynical among us will focus on those for whom it is not true—those who would in fact cast their votes into darkness. If we did not fear that such people exist, we would not fear Trumps at all.
But Sanders is strengthening and bolstering those for whom his words are true. It is as if he—and our movement—are intending this truth into existence.
And there is something to that, something that is not mere fluff or “woo-woo.” Something that every great change instigator in history has done: to bring faith, belief, and profound concentrated attention and focus to that which is good and true, thus coalescing tremendous energy.
Eventually, all the money and lies in the world cannot shatter that.
If that doesn’t give you goosebumps all over, doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, doesn’t make you proud to be part of this campaign, this movement, this revolution, and this moment in history—and damn it all, hopeful about humanity—and about the very real, awesome and timely potential for this Presidency? I don’t know what will.
This ad is why it is not over, no matter what diversionary flares get thrown, no matter the distractions that our fearful, shifty, dull and brutish mainstream media scatter everywhere like little rabbit turds. Their lies, I dare to believe, are becoming ineffectual. Because when the truth hits its zeitgeist, when its time comes and people rise up, nothing can stop it—or us.
Our President Sanders is a President who would not only fight with us till the end to right injustices, and to implement common-sense policies that uphold our highest values—he is the only person who could and would make this political ad.
And if you think that doesn’t translate to something pragmatic that can be applied to make this country great and whole, and to heal and help real people in real ways, you’re missing something.