Yesterday was unbelievable.
It was certainly a watershed moment in the history of #BernieBro rage.
(Once again, before I start, a disclaimer: I have nothing against Bernie Sanders. In fact, there is a great possibility I will vote for him in the primary and, if he wins the nomination, I will happily vote for him in November.)
See, it all happened because the Honorable Rep. John Lewis had the unmitigated GALL to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. The result was white liberals all over the place losing their collective shit. And it once again proved why black people aren’t crazy about white liberals, and probably only think of them slightly more highly than white right wingnuts.
I had been buried in a library for a few hours yesterday, doing some actual research for a column on campaign finance reality, when I decided to visit my Twitter feed, only to find that some Bernie supporters, including a few that I have followed for years, had lost their damn minds over the fact that John Lewis had not only endorsed Hillary, but had “dissed Bernie.” I mean, after all, Bernie had marched with Dr. King; of course, Bernie is a civil rights icon. I mean, when you think of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, you think of Bernie Sanders, right? There’s Dr. King, Julian Bond, Joseph Lowery and Bernie Sanders, am I wrong?
That was sarcasm, of course, but apparently, to the hardcore #Berniebots, that’s what we’re supposed to think. How many times has your Twitter feed been filled with reminders that “Bernie marched with MLK!”? And it’s usually followed by “Where was Hillary?” Apparently, for the hardest-core Bernie supporters, it’s like Woodstock. There were apparently a million white liberals at the March on Washington and none of them just happened by; they all marched, goddammit. Essentially, if you were white, liberal and older than 12 on August 28, 1963, you either marched with Dr. King or you were nothing. And apparently, there were no black people; it was all white liberals, and Bernie Sanders was right there. Again, for the folks who can’t detect sarcasm, that was it. There were actually 200,000 people at that March and it is entirely plausible that Bernie Sanders was there. In fact, if he says he was, I have no reason to doubt him. I also have no reason to doubt his commitment, on some level, to civil rights.
The point is, it doesn’t matter.
Yes, I said it. It doesn’t matter if Bernie was there in 1963. It doesn’t matter that Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl in 1964. It doesn’t even matter that Elizabeth Warren was a card-carrying Republican well into the Clinton Administration or that sexy liberal talk show host Stephanie Miller once voted for Reagan.
What I saw yesterday was wrong on every level. My Facebook and Twitter feeds were burning up with condemnations of Rep. John Lewis, with a level of insult that would make Donald Trump blush. And it came from WHITE LIBERALS. Many of these people were people I have followed and respected for years. All because Rep. Lewis endorsed Hillary Clinton and said he never met Bernie Sanders during his civil rights activities. This is what Lewis said:
“I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis said. “I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved with the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed (the) voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President (Bill) Clinton.” (Source)
That’s it. He didn’t call Bernie a bad man. He didn’t say he was a commie, or a racist or anything negative at all. He just said that, when he was active in the civil rights movement, he didn’t meet Bernie. The horrors! For that, #Berniebros pulled out the missive above about Bernie marching with Dr. King, which was bad enough, especially considering that John Lewis not only marched with King, but he also shared jail cells with King and was beaten with King. Maybe they just forgot that John Lewis survived a broken skull from police beatings in the name of civil rights and is an ICON in the civil rights movement. From there, he was able to rise up to become a major player in Georgia politics.
This man has earned everyone’s undying respect. If he got up and endorsed Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, the most he should have received from white liberals is a raised eyebrow. He is entitled to that much respect. He is an American who fought hard to make this country great and he is entitled to everyone’s undying respect and loyalty.
And yet, the disrespect I saw was incredible. Many times, my Twitter feed was filled with people claiming that Rep. Lewis “betrayed” them. Really. Because he doesn’t prefer your candidate, you’ve been betrayed? I hate to break it to you, but so far, Bernie has tied in Iowa and won in New Hampshire, two of the whitest states in the union. He’s not exactly rocking the black vote. John Lewis isn’t the first prominent black leader to endorse Hillary Clinton and he won’t be the last.
Lewis was also repeatedly called a “sell out,” which makes no sense and is pretty insulting on any level. Apparently, to this strain of white liberals, if you’re black, you have to think a certain way about everything and everyone who varies from that has “sold out.” Lewis prefers Hillary. That’s his right; one of the rights he put his life on the line for. They also referred to him as “corrupt,” which is puzzling, given that no one has ever even suggested ay sort of corruption on his part. If they have evidence of this corruption, I’d like to see it.
But the most puzzling dig I saw more than once, was white liberals referring to Rep. John Lewis, of all people – the embodiment of an actual hero if there ever was one – as an “Uncle Tom.” Seriously. I saw this more than once and many others have commented on it, so it wasn’t a hallucination.
First of all, white liberals, stop acting like you have some sort of insight on what black people have to deal with on a daily basis. Leave terms like “Uncle Tom” to them. You and I have no reason to use the term. But when you use terms like that and refer to an endorsement of Hillary Clinton as a “betrayal,” you are suggesting that someone owes you something, so let me be the one to disabuse you of that.
No one owes you shit. You love Bernie as a candidate and that’s fine. I think he’s great. He got into the race to shake up the debate and he’s doing that. That does not entitle you to be racist. Pretending to care about black people because you’re in favor of free stuff doesn’t give you license to say and do shit that would qualify anyone else as racist. If it’s racist for Trump to say it, it’s no less racist for you to do so. If Trump called Lewis an “Uncle Tom,” I guarantee you’d be shitting bricks to condemn him for it. Well, guess what? You’re white, too.
Also, it should not be seen as a personal affront when someone else thinks Hillary is better. If you are even slightly butthurt over Rep. Lewis’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton, you are too emotional to be into politics and you should take up another hobby. Politics is not personal, it’s tactical. If you take it so personally that you have to insult Black people, especially someone who deserves your undying respect, you are not cut out for it; give it up.
I’m embarrassed enough by white right wingers; I don’t need white liberals adding to that shame with their shenanigans.