It seems like I can’t go on Facebook without being bombarded with a flood of posts, links, photos, and memes of 2016 Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. I’m not complaining – it’s definitely better than logging on and finding out that I have friends who support the other guy. The orange one.
No, I have a deep found respect for those who support Sanders. He has ideals and pros that I can definitely get on board with. He’s an honest, consistent guy who has genuinely fought for everything that he’s believed in. We know he marched in 1963 during the civil rights movement. We’ve all seen the black and white photos of a young Bernie surrounded by fellow young activists, fighting on the front lines during a pivotal time of social change. Bernie is an excellent example of a man who is committed to what he believes in.
So… why don’t I think he should be President of the Unites States?
I ask myself this question often. How often? Pretty much every time I log on Facebook. Or every time I turn on the TV. Or every time an older person trying to sound hip makes a Bernie/college tuition joke at a graduation party.
Here’s my short answer: Bernie Sanders works as a symbol, but he is not as qualified for the position as, say, Hillary Clinton.
My long answer: One of the first things that a Bernie supporter will bring up when citing what makes the Democratic candidate so revolutionary is his stance on Wall Street, education, and the state of the economy/shrinking middle class. He has some great ideas. But it’s all a beautiful dream. An inspirational one, but a dream nonetheless. How is he going to make all of these things actually happen? I once heard him answer this very question during a debate. His answer was somehow both mumbly (yes, I made that word up) and crystal-clear at the same time: Raise taxes!!!
Raising taxes sounds somewhat plausible, but I hope you can take off the rose-colored glasses and come to terms with this fact: Raising taxes will not change the state of the country. Now, it may do a little of what Bernie is promising, but it will hardly create the revolution that my 19-year-old cousin and her friends think it will. And don’t get me started on Bernie’s plans (or lack-thereof) for foreign policy.
Hillary Clinton is not perfect. She is contradictory, has made mistakes, and is a total try-hard (Hot sauce? C’mon, Hil). She is a politician, which in itself is a character flaw. But that’s what presidents are – politicians. And she’s currently the most qualified one of the bunch – see here for a list of some general accomplishments during her career.
Will she bring about the revolution that extremely progressive millennials
so desperately crave? Most likely not. However, she will keep us moving forward. I believe that while Bernie could make a decent leader (I will certainly vote for him if he clinches the Democratic nomination), he is a symbol more than anything else. Meanwhile, Hillary’s plans are actually tangible.
What’s funny is that I sat down and began writing this with the intention of writing a post about how torn I am as to who I will vote for come June 7, the California Democratic primary. But as I wrote on, I knew immediately that I had made my decision a long time ago. I decided on Hillary Clinton the moment my mom explained to me who she was and what she stood for when I was just a snot-nosed, Pokemon-obsessed little kid. Thanks to some initiatives largely spearheaded by Hillary, my mom – a Chicana single mother with no high school diploma – was able to put me in after school care so she could work at her full-time job without turning me into a latchkey kid.
I get the Bernie appeal, and I welcome others to share with me their opinions. But this isn’t a decision I made lightly. I stand with Hillary because she has the experience, has the plans, and has the brains. She also will be a source of hope for so many young girls and women out there – and my little sister won’t have to ask me why we haven’t had a woman in the White House anymore. Also, keep in mind that the only thing keeping Hillary from being the clear front runner here is the fact that she is not a man. Don’t believe me on that one? Let it marinate a bit. You’ll see what I mean.
Fellow Millennials, at the end of the day, the only thing I’ll actually ask is this: if Bernie doesn’t get the Democratic nomination next week, please don’t boycott the election. It won’t do us any good. Vote. Vote against the racist one with the fake tan and fake hair.