It’s not that I hate politics. I don’t care enough about them to hate them. Am I really lazy and self-centered? Finances: handled. Family: close. Friends: cherished. Art (and writing): nourished. Health: decent. Love life: abundant. Party life: probably too abundant. I’ve got a lot going on, and while I certainly could shift my priorities to make time for becoming worldly and political, I always have just hoped things like global news and government would become naturally more appealing as I aged.
Enter Bernie. My friends seem nuts about him. I watch some videos. This guy is consistent. I read some articles. Really consistent. I get invited to a rally. I say yes and then hundreds of people say yes.
Everything about this candidate and the movement surrounding him makes me feel like now is the time to enter this conversation I’d been so long avoiding — been plugging my ears saying lalala (or really, just turning down the volume). Admittedly, I don’t know a lot. I know he uses the phrase, “enough is enough,” he speaks candidly about 1% of the population owning 90% of the wealth, he’s been pro marriage equality for decades, and he’s pretty serious about global climate change.
I’m not worried about not knowing so much, this time. In previous years, I procrastinated filing out my write-in ballot because the task of deciphering so much duplicitous political information daunted me into missing my deadline. I’d have to fill it out on voting day and drive to the ballot box to drop it off anyway. This campaign, I am finding it easy to start early. I’m finding it easy to learn a little bit about Bernie between nights of revelry and nights of Burning Man preparations.
I’m finding it easy to say yes to political events. The rally was enormous. I have been to the North Park Observatory before and never seen it so full. Luckily, my date beat me there and saved me a seat. My friends were everywhere. Aaron Truax started what he thought would be a bustling shindig for his friends, registered it on the official campaign website, and watched it overtake the original venue. His roommate stood behind a table, selling T-shirts. Our friend Maia Tagami introduced the livecast.
I am so used to overly-coached, well trained (& well paid) politicians that I wasn’t sure if Sanders speaks simply on purpose. His speech reminded me of an assignment I might have been tasked to write in my advanced Poli-Sci class in high school, senior year — an organized, straightforward, no-frills essay. It’s clear he has savvy, that he knows which talking points need to be made. He’s a smart man. But he’s a smart man who cares most about his ideals, cares more about them, I think, than winning.
I care about this too. I care about how his presence in the election will start change. I care about about other politicians adjusting their platforms due to his positive influence. I care about the possibility of his winning, which I really do think is real. Above all, I care about how participating in his campaign will make me a better person.
So yes, I played along with being a part of history by voting for Obama two seasons ago. Yes, I have always half-ass encouraged my friends to register and vote. This time, however, will be the first time I really get involved. Maybe it could be your first time too.
I’ll be at West Coast Tavern to watch the GOP debate with friends, join us!