Every morning I wake up to an email from Bernie Sanders. With some daily variation it talks of a broken economy, of a corrupt political system and of Hillary Clinton being in the pocket of Wall Street. 

Yet, despite the corporate media, the corporate politicians and the corporate corporations all being against him, if I just make an express donation of $35 it will give Bernie the boost he needs to win the fight against the billionaire class.

I wish that he would fire whoever writes those emails.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders sharing images from a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders sharing images from a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa.

Flickr.com/Phil Roeder

Simple sound bytes don’t fix complex problems. I don’t think that corruption is the root of our political gridlock. I don’t think that Sander’s Medicare-for-all plan is the best route towards universal health care. I don’t think that breaking up the banks is a good idea. I don’t think a federally mandated $15 minimum wage would help reduce inequality. And I don’t think that any of his policies have a chance of becoming law given the likelihood of a GOP-controlled Congress. 

But, I do think that Sanders is the best person to be the next president of the United States. 


Because I’m a millennial.

Remember When? We Don’t

We’re the generation you love to patronize that’s stuck between those who currently spend their weekends playing Minecraft and those who grew up blowing the dust out of their Nintendo cartridges. While our older members still remember the sound of a dial-up modem, most of us have only foggy memories of a life before Google. 

And, by a YUGE margin, we support Sanders. 

It’s OK that you don’t understand, because maybe you come from a time when elected officials used to be able to work together in pursuit of a common good. Maybe you grew up when wages were rising, and through hard work and perseverance you were guaranteed a better income than your parents. And, maybe you haven’t spent a lifetime under the looming threat of catastrophic climate change. 

So you tell us that we are naive. That idealism in politics is a handicap. How you learned your lesson when you voted for George McGovern in 1972 and that we’ll understand when we’re older.

We’re used to condescension. Because remember, we’re the lazy generation. All we’re looking for is a government handout. Right?

No. It’s you who doesn’t understand. All we’re looking for is the same opportunities that were available to your generation.  

What We Inherit

We started our careers during the middle of the Great Recession. Every month of our lives has had higher-than-average global temperatures. In our lifetimes, 60 percent of the growth in national income has gone to the richest 1 percent. For most of us, home ownership is a distant possibility. The cost of college has gone up 1,120 percent since 1978 (no, that’s not a typo), and the United States now has some of the lowest social mobility of any developed country in the world. 

These aren’t some immutable laws of the market. This isn’t how it has to be.

Yet we watch as the government does nothing because of the ruinous obstructionism of the Republican Party. While you might be ready to give in, to lower your expectations, to accept the status quo — we are not.

So, you can tell us how flawed Sanders’ policies are. How they are impossible to achieve. How Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate since Thomas Jefferson. And you know what? 

I agree with you. 

But, while Clinton is the best choice for the government that we have, Sanders is the best choice for the government that we need.

What We Need

It wasn’t incremental thinking that wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, or the New Deal.

We need a leader who can admit that the global economy is rigged, that mounting inequality is a threat to American democracy, that wage stagnation is the result of failed economic policy and that climate change is the greatest threat that we have ever faced. We need a president who can renew our collective vision for what is possible.

And we have to stop pretending that Clinton’s centrist concessions are more likely to succeed against a hostile Congress than Sanders’ ambitious goals. President Obama can’t even get a vote on his Supreme Court justice nominee. Because it’s not policy or even ideology that they oppose. It’s the Democratic Party.

By arguing over what is achievable in the face of legislative gridlock, we’ve lost sight of where we need to go.

I’m not an idealist or a revolutionary, but maybe I am naive. Maybe there is no hope to reverse inequality or combat climate change. And maybe Clinton’s cautious pragmatism really is our best option for muddling through.

But I am a millennial. And I have no choice but to believe that there’s a better way.

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