Berned Out

It’s been a tough election season in more ways than one. I believe I can safely say that we are all sick and tired of being trumpled on. The freak show that was the rest of the Republican slate all talked over each other trying to appeal to the baser instincts. Some folks thought it amusing. I found it indigestible.

On my side of the aisle, I was happy when Senator Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy. Without an opponent, who is a candidate to debate? The first two or three debates did what I hoped they might do – gave Secretary Clinton a solid platform from which to delineate her intentions. To my mind, she won all of them handily, showing knowledge and forethought and a common sense approach to our current political situation.

Well, that was my take anyway.

It wasn’t the take of legions of Bernie supporters, who seem to think that Hillary Clinton, far from being the heroine in sunglasses who saved Big Bird, who faced down 13 hours of congressional interrogation with intelligence and grace, who once proposed a healthcare plan for everyone, has instead been bought and sold (shouldn’t that be the other way around?) and whose every statement is suspect.

I have had long, drawn-out “conversations” on Facebook in which Bernie supporters repeat Republican talking points as if they are gospel truth, and in many of the Bernie soundbites, it seems as if he agrees with them. He doesn’t so much call her out in person as insist that anyone taking money from certain firms and superpacs cannot possibly do anything more in office than further the interests of the “millionaires and billionaires.”

People I talk to online say things like “Bernie loves you, whether you love him or not,” and when I told her she made him sound like Jesus, she replied, “I know.” Another one defended him in words that reminded me of Barry Goldwater’s “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” When I called him on it, he doubled down. When I suggested to one of these folks that we wanted similar things for our country, he said he didn’t think so. He listed several things he wanted, things I also wanted, things Hillary Clinton has said that she wanted, and when I told him that, he said he didn’t believe it. I was reminded of the time a right wing acquaintance informed me that I was not “we,” I was “they.”

When I post pieces that criticize Bernie – pieces that also claim to support his goals but point out reservations about his ability to implement them – they are called lies and their writers are called losers. It is very reminiscent of conversations about Obama with the far right. Obama is, ipso facto, a socialist liar, which trumps (oh how I wish I could use another word) actual words and deeds. In a similar vein, Hillary Clinton is a liar in the pocket of big money. Anything she says or has done to the contrary is, ipso facto, a lie. And they promise thousands of links to prove it. I'm not going there.

A friend of mine summed up my reaction to the man himself: “Bernie Sanders is exhausting.”

I agree. I have a hard time listening to him anyway. He wants good things but from the beginning he hasn't sold me on his ability to produce them. And thanks to his loyal fans, I’m now completely Berned Out.