My journey from being apolitical to now being very invested in the political discourse of the United States isn't unique. If Trump has done anything good for this country, it's galvanize countless people like me to get involved and give a shit about something that's bigger than ourselves. My story isn't altogether unique, but I felt like sharing regardless.
Prior to 2016, I had never registered to vote. That's a dishonest way of characterizing it, because I still didn't register to vote during the 2016 election. It was partly because I was living in a different state than my driver's license had and wasn't very familiar with the voter registration process, but mostly it was because I didn't give a shit. From what little I had digested of the primary and general election news, I didn't think there was any way that we would have ended up with Donald Trump in the White House anyway.
Damn, was I wrong.
After Hillary lost, like many others, I was horrified by what was happening. It was depressing. I felt like I was spending most of my time being angry, being outraged by one thing and then the next. I was angry at Trump, I was angry with the system that allowed him to get elected in the first place, but most of all I was angry at myself. Perhaps if I'd done more and actually cared about something other than marijuana and video games things could have been different.
So, I started my descent down the rabbit hole. I familiarized myself with the terms, tropes, and the processes involved with the political machine. Turns out, high school civics class was a fairytale. I perused political news, podcasts, and just tried to follow the discourse. I also started watching an inordinate amount of MSNBC, which probably contributed to a non-trivial amount of brain rot. The podcasts were my preferred method of consuming content though.
Pod Save America was the first podcast I remember downloading, and I just remember feeling like I wasn't crazy for being so outraged at what was happening. They provided me with a sense of belonging in a way, some comfort, and assurances that we weren't heading for the apocalypse. I eventually branched out into other podcasts that didn't go nearly as hard on the Hillary/Democratic Party leg humping. Shout out to Slate's Political Gabfest, and KCRW's Left, Right, and Center for exposing me to slightly different views than the mainstream establishment.
Enter The Trap
At some point I started seeing references to Chapo Trap House on Twitter and reddit, and I decided to check them out. I still was very much not a Sanders Sibling. I was, after all, still a hysterical liberal who watched too much MSNBC. But the more I listened to Chapo Trap House, the more and more my eyes opened to the realities of our political machinations. The "both sides" arguments started to make more sense, or at least there wasn't as big of a difference between the parties they'd want you to believe.
I started to look at things in terms of the working class and the bourgeoise, the evils of capitalism, and the other horrors we inflict upon the rest of the world, including our own citizens. I had arrived at The Dirtbag Left, and they welcomed me with open arms.
But even by the time the 2018 midterm elections rolled around I was still firmly in the "vote blue no matter who" camp. I went into the voting booth and voted straight down the line for Democrats. Looking back, that was a fucking mistake because my congressional representative is Collin Peterson (MN-07) who's a geriatric bootlicker with the unique distinction of being 1 of 3 Democratic house reps who didn't vote to impeach Trump. Not that I think impeachment was necessarily a useful exercise at this point, but if you're gonna do something, do it whole-ass, not half-ass. But I digress.
Bernie or Bust
I can't place my finger on when exactly I went Bernie or Bust. It was a slower roll that took place over the course of 2019. Now, I'd be amiss if I didn't give Joshua Collins and his community of supporters some credit as well. I found him via the Chapo Trap House subreddit, and started interacting with him and his followers over Twitter, eventually culminating in my first political donation ever to him, and joining their Discord. I've met a lot of very cool people in that group and it's been a pleasure seeing Joshua grind his way through this process. (send him some money)
The biggest reason for my personal support of Bernie Sanders though, probably came down to the fact that I have a preexisting condition, and absolutely cannot go without healthcare. I'm a type one diabetic and take daily insulin shots, in addition to checking my blood sugars several times a day. I've been on 3 different insurance plans over the last year, and navigating through the hellscape that is privatized insurance is beyond unacceptable.
Immersing myself in the politics of Bernie Sanders opened my eyes to just how insane this whole system is. Seeing other people's stories, not dissimilar from my own, compelled me to join the movement. Medicare For All is the issue I care about most, and Bernie is the only one who has the guts to even try to enact something this ambitious. (Ambitious is a loaded word, the rest of the world can provide for their own citizens, it's just spooky in the US because we care about the profits of private healthcare.)
There's a million other reasons to support his campaign. We all have our own. I just wanted to share mine, as well as a little anecdote about how I personally went from not voting in 2016, to Bernie or Bust.
I believe. I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that Bernie Sanders wants the best for all of us. Whether you support him or not, whether you're privileged, poor, disabled, trans, or any other label you can think of, Bernie wants the best for us. You can try to create controversy, to smear him, but it's not going to work. He's a real one, and this is our last chance at hitting the exit, because we are on the road to apocalypse right now. It's ride or die, all the way.
I leave you with a quote from an absolutely breathtaking video featuring Killer Mike talking about Bernie Sanders. Please watch the video if you haven't seen it yet. And donate to Bernie.
“There are more of us. We are stronger. We will wait no longer. The time is now.”