As a progressive in a few Bernie Sanders Facebook groups, I realize some people in those groups really need to chill out! Not about Bernie, but about other progressives. Yeah I know I joined the group back in March when it was hard to take the media blackout, the gaslighting attacks, and the aggressive supporters, so it was good to find a community of like-minded Berners to help buoy me through the tough primaries. But now it seems like we’re becoming the bots that we all hate (you know of whom I speak).

We are progressives. Whether we are Berniecrats or democratic socialists or Greens or old school hippies, we are progressive in our politics. We are mature enough to be able to talk about our politics openly with everyone here and without fear. The Green Party has been an option for Bernie as well as fellow progressives in the fight against the oligarchy. In a revolution like this with who we are up against, we need all hands on deck. As such we should never try to shut down conversations about the Green Party just because Bernie is not specifically mentioned. As Bernie himself said at a rally in North Dakota, “The truth is you, not me. If there is any person here, any person here that thinks I’m coming to you as some kind of savior, that I’m going to do it all — all myself, you’re wrong. No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do it alone. We don’t need a savior. We need a political movement.”

As a movement we need to stand together, not blindly but as the big tent party that the DNC elites don’t want us to be. The Greens are natural allies, and they’ve offered Bernie the top of the ticket if he wants it, but they also need help getting on all the state ballots. As I’ve said in many other posts and comments in this group, we are able to walk and chew gum at the same time. You can donate to Bernie and travel to Philadelphia to help him out, but before you go sign a petition to get the Green Party on the ballots if you live in one of the 29 states they still need to get on to. Bernie told a packed town hall that “when we say that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that than when we say ‘hey this whole world is me, I need more and more. I don’t care about anybody else.’ That’s my religion, that’s what I believe in.” He talking the Golden Rule of do unto others as you would have done unto you. We should be treating debates AMONG progressives of different stripes the same way, not reporting any post that doesn’t explicitly say “Bernie or Bust.”

We can and should be able to talk about progressive politics. All of it—Berniecrat, Green or straight independent. If we can’t do this here, we are no better than the shills and trolls we struggle against. I say this not as one who has given up on Bernie and pushing people to unite the party—the party is dead and needs to be replaced; but as someone who wants to see the next steps of the revolution happen now. This can be a lasting revolution if we are able to keep unity among us; but unity doesn’t mean lockstep. We need room to differ and present options. Options and differing opinions aren’t bad, they just are a different perspective for a solution. If we have to offer fealty to Bernie in every discussion we have, we won’t get anywhere. The reason Bernie has such a high favorable rating among fellow Senators is because he knows how to build bridges without betraying his values. We can and should do the same in this group.

If part of what is said among us Berners is true—what would Bernie do—he wouldn’t stifle different opinions or debates; he welcomes it. We should too.

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Human Kindness

June 16, 2016

Today, out of the blue, my daughter asks what I write on my blog. I give her the rundown of stuff, and she says she has something for it. So without much of a major intro, my daughter’s online debut as a writer and guest blogger. It’s pretty good. 🙂 

So I was on the subway coming back home after-school. To clarify, I take the train to and from school. Getting to school is like this: Airport Station (blue line) to State Street for the Orange line. The Orange Line to Ruggles, then I take a bus by the school, and from school is this order reversed.

The event was on the Orange Line towards State Street. The train was at Tufts Medical Station when a man got on the train. From looking at him- the way he was dressed and the way his hair was unkempt- I could tell he wasn’t in the best condition. It turned out I was right.

This man started talking about his situation and what was happening to him. He felt bad for begging people for help, and that was the first thing he said.

“I don’t mean to be annoying on the train, and I feel bad for begging you all for stuff.”

The man said he’d been homeless for 26 months (over two years). He then told the people on the train that someone had offered him a place to live, but he needed an ID to get the offer. An ID costs $30, and that’s why the man needed money. He needed all the help he could get.

“I’ve been waiting over two years for this opportunity, and I need help. I hate begging like this and looking like a moron, but please, can somebody help? Anything will help”. Nobody helped him.

I was looking around the car, and some people weren’t even listening to his story. And the people who were listening just looked at him with a blank expression. I wanted to help him, but at the time, I had no money on me.

The man looked desperately around the car, hoping someone would help him. But as the train stopped at Chinatown, the man walked past me to the door, muttering angrily and disappointed.“Not one person. Not even one person.”

I felt crushed. I wanted to help him, I really did, but I had nothing to help him. Also, only one 13.5-year-old girl couldn’t possibly give this man all the help he obviously needed. I kept glancing at the poor man sadly, then looked over to everyone else in my car. They looked like they didn’t even care.

This made me really mad, even though I didn’t show it. What’s worse, the man had an infection in his right leg, so he was LIMPING  around the car, looking pleadingly for help he never got.

“And I have this infection in my leg”, he pulled his jeans cuff up to show a huge, rotten, black scab on his caff. “It won’t go away because I have to keep walking around everywhere.”

This type of stuff isn’t new to me. My dad and I take the train everywhere (except for certain occasions, where we use Zipcar), so we see homeless people asking for money all the time. This isn’t a good thing. We always try to give them change if we have it while we see other people walk right past them like the homeless are invisible.

Those people always made me sick. Why? Why don’t you guys care? There’s someone in need right beside you. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel. The worst part is that I can tell they can see them. But those people will look straight ahead like there isn’t a poor injured old man begging for money right there. It takes less than five seconds to give a homeless person- or any person in need- care and attention. I know they might need the money for something incredibly important, but homelessness rates are high because we don’t give them the necessary help and attention- what they need most of all.

In some scenarios, a valid excuse is that they have nothing on them- which was why I couldn’t help even when I wanted to. But the majority of the people in the car were adults, and I could TELL by the way they looked at him- the way their hands kept moving like they were trying to keep a secret- that they had money. They COULD’VE helped. But the chose not to. And I bet the man could tell too- the reason he was muttering when he got off the train with nothing.

Homelessness is a serious problem in our country, especially today. It’s a terrible problem. In my opinion, it’s one of the worst world problems. Why? It could be prevented. It could be made right if we give the necessities. If everyone could show some kindness to these poor folk who need our help and affection, our country- our world- could be a happier and better place.