To the editor:
We, the visionary progressives of America, do not feel defeat. Unlike many of my colleagues, friends, and family members, I have not felt an ounce of despair in facing the reality of Bernie Sanders’ suspended campaign.
In learning the fight for delegates had officially come to an end, I was met with an overwhelming blend of strong emotions. Defeat was nowhere to be found. Among these, gratitude, hope, and most importantly, service, overtook any sense of mourning I may have felt that day.
In this moment of realization, I was overcome with gratitude. Gratitude for the senator from Vermont for unifying young people, people of color, students, and a nationwide coalition of diverse Americans toward a common goal of a transformed America.
I felt gratitude for the dozens of young activists I had been lucky enough to meet and work with on local progressive campaigns, initiatives, and community projects to fulfill our vision of an economy and political system of compassion and selflessness under a President Bernie Sanders.
Most importantly, I’m grateful that we’re not done fighting for what’s right, and that we have no intention of abandoning our political revolution.
Next, I’m more hopeful now than during any moment on the campaign trail with my fellow activists fighting for real change. I stand optimistic that the United States will have Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, economic justice, criminal justice reform, and the structural transformation required to build an economy and a political system that works for all, not just a few.
I stand hopeful because American progressives have been aware of and angry at social and economic injustices perpetuated by a corrupt political establishment for decades – we had just failed to answer two conundrums that would define our 21st-century political revolution. What exactly is the “political establishment?” Also, what would a compassionate America realistically resemble? Sen. Sanders answered both of these questions and re-energized our progressive movement for justice, equality, and American democracy. It is because of this I stand hopeful.
Next, I was met with a renewed sense of service. I had realized that our movement was not just about Bernie Sanders, nor merely the senator’s presidential campaign. Our political revolution is a mass cultural push toward social and economic equality that operates through people-funded, progressive political campaigns as a means to renewing and expanding the American dream.
Our movement chose Bernie Sanders because the senator realized this very fact, and was grounded by the same roots of compassion and selflessness that our movement continues to grow from. Unwaveringly fighting for the principles of “not me, us,” the senator had invigorated our movement to realize our obligation to the American people.
This election season, I’ve come to realize a sense of service to young people, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community like myself, working people, and the marginalized communities of America as a result of Sen. Sanders’ revolutionary campaign.
Finally, this past April, in collaboration with various other young, diverse progressives throughout southern Maine, I’ve founded Maine Youth for Economic Reform: a youth-led, policy-focused advocacy group working within the State Legislature to fight for our vision of a compassionate and humane political system and economy for all. Our organization is working to push historic state legislation through to signature by Maine’s governor, such as L.D. 1611, establishing universal health care in the state of Maine.
Maine Youth for Economic Reform is also currently working to support local progressive campaigns for public office, such as Chloe Maxmin for Maine Senate District 13; Betsy Sweet for U.S. Senate, a fearless champion of Medicare for All; and dozens of other progressive leaders.
Our central policy platform lists five economic human rights critical to a humane and just small-business economy: a human right to affordable health care; a secure retirement income for all; workplace democracy and accountability; a human right to clean water, food, and air; and affordable access to higher education and trade schools for all. This is our plan to fulfill Bernie Sanders’ vision of America, and we are energized.
To the former mayor of Burlington, fearless political visionary, and most importantly compassionate human being, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I offer a sincere “thank you” for inspiring the American people to ask for more, because we’re not done fighting.