In the wake of the catastrophe that was the Nevada State Democratic Primary, a lot of my Bernie Sanders brothers and sisters, particularly at a group called Bernie or Bust, are talking about violence. They say that peaceful methods are not working, it’s time to up the ante, force people to listen.
I understand the rage, I feel it, too, and I have occasionally made comments involving pitchforks and guillotines. But, talking about violence is not the way to go. Here are my reasons:
- It’s not what Bernie would do. When he was protesting segregation in the ’60s, he chained himself to a black woman and when the police came to arrest him, he went limp (I’m going by the photo), but he did not punch the policeman. He did not throw a rock through a window. When Bernie marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. – that’s like marching with Gandhi. A riot is the last thing he wants.
- This ‘revolution’ rhetoric makes us sound like the teabaggers of the left. Texas is not going to secede and neither are we. The last time an armed rebellion was attempted in the United States was in 1861. It did not end well.
- When there is violence, people can get hurt, and chances are real good they won’t be the people you want to get hurt.
- While most of this talk is probably just people venting their rage, and some certain percentage are serious, it’s also very possible that some of the people trying to stir up shit are Hillary trolls. I’m not actually making an accusation, I don’t have inside information or anything, but we know she does hire trolls and we know that’s the kind of thing trolls do. So, do not give them the satisfaction. Do not be drawn in.
- It would be great if huge numbers of people turned up in Philadelphia in favor of Sanders. I’ve heard 1 million bandied about as the magic number. That would certainly be hard for the Superdelegates to ignore. But talk of violence will not add numbers to the crowd. It will chase them away. You may get some gangs of angry youth, but mothers with small children, middle aged people with jobs and reputations, and old folks who are just fine at marching but not quite fit enough for a running street battle with the police will stay home in droves. It needs to be clear, crystal clear, that this will be a peaceful demonstration.
- We’ve still got 9 primaries to go. Let’s win this thing.