“I cannot tell you how many times in the last three decades I have heard the Democrats (myself included) lament the absence of the 18-30 year olds. Over and over we said, if they would just show up, we could effect real change. Maybe that was true most of the time back in the day, but there is no denying the fact that you are here now, in formidable numbers, and the Democratic Party has dismissed you entirely.” ~Scout Gerain
I have been considering reaching out to the young people involved in the Bernie campaign for some time. In light of Hillary’s repeated dismissals of Bernie supporters, combined with President Obama’s impatient demand that BLM activists should “stop yelling and compromise,” I cannot put it off any longer.
I won’t sit idly by without, at the very least, publicly stating how thrilled I am to see you here, on the political stage, making such a tremendous impact, despite the scolding coming from some in my generation.
I am a 50-something white woman and lifelong Democrat, and the condescension from my demographic has been infuriating to me.
I want you to hear a different perspective from an older woman who is not afraid of change and welcomes it with open arms.
I would invite every single one of you over for dinner if I could and listen to your stories and tell you a few of my own.
Over the last few months, I have been so impressed by your presence, your passion and your commitment.
I have been in tears countless times listening to your stories and watching how and why you are so supportive of Senator Sanders and the ideals – indeed, revolution – he represents.
I am not so old and set in my ways that I cannot see, and KNOW, the unique challenges you face coming of age in this country at this time.
I cringe when I consider the crushing debt you are incurring by simply trying to better yourself, the lack of opportunity after you graduate (particularly for people of color), and the lower wages and lack of benefits.
Not to mention the vanishing of any type of real pension, something commonplace to your grandparents.
The difference is so blatantly obvious that it incenses me that anyone would dare blame you for your justified anger. It is far from the same playing field that my peers and I faced, and to belittle you for rising up in protest against it smacks of supreme entitlement.
I cannot tell you how many times in the last three decades I have heard the Democrats (myself included) lament the absence of the 18-30 year olds. Over and over we said, if they would just show up, we could effect real change.
Maybe that was true most of the time back in the day, but there is no denying the fact that you are here now, in formidable numbers, and the Democratic Party has dismissed you entirely.
Well, speaking for those of us Berners who are entering our golden years, I could not be happier to welcome you. I personally have been so very inspired by your energy and passion.
And you know what? I am learning from you.
I am learning every day of alternative news sources, of how social networking can defeat the bought and sold mainstream media, of how that networking can be done for very little money and of how effective it is.
In that sense, you are the leaders of this movement and I welcome the schooling you offer.
I am sick to death of putting out this fire and then that one, constantly responding to some ridiculous right wing nonsense instead of getting down to the business of unstacking the deck for all of us and targeting the 1%, together with our disenchanted friends across the aisle.
I had mostly given up to the business of politics as usual. After being forced to settle for the lesser of two evils time after time, I grew weary and cynical; a feeling that no matter what you do, nothing will change.
You have given me hope and brought back to life the desire and commitment I once had to fight tooth and nail for social justice. I am politically alive again and much of it is due to you.
This election is unlike anything I have ever seen. Both entrenched parties are on the ropes and never in my lifetime has there been such a push to overthrow the established political machine.
That, my friends, is the power that you bring to the table. Don’t let ANYONE tell you different.
You are the swing vote, the push, the mechanism by which we can change. You have the power to hold elected officials on every level accountable.
You have changed the platforms and the talking points of this election and forced Hillary to respond, whether she acknowledges it or not.
Anytime you have put a candidate in the defensive position of responding to your agenda instead of pushing their own, you are winning. Whether you are talking sports or politics, all you have to do to win is keep going.
I am in this with all of you to the end. I am so grateful for your participation. I cannot truly express how thrilling it is to see you all here.
So no matter what happens today or next week or in July, I am with you. I know full well how much a defeat or setback can hurt but I also know where to go for the inspiration to keep fighting…right back to each other.
And then, together with Bernie, we are going to go to that convention in Philidelphia, just as our forefathers did over 200 years ago, to declare our independence from tyranny and oligarchy!
By Scout Gerain
About the writer: Scout Gerain is a boomer with a masters degree in Environmental Science currently working in a blue collar industry and is a long time member of her union. An avid angler, foodie, and tinkerer, she believes wholeheartedly in the Bernie Sanders movement. She currently lives with her partner in Syracuse, New York.
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