Heart With Bernie, Head With Hillary

As this Tuesday of the New York presidential primary dawns, I continue to be conflicted in my support of the Democratic candidates. The fact that “my heart’s with Bernie, but my head’s with Hillary” is demonstrated by the fact that I continue to support him with a monthly donation (more than his average $27 supporters, but fully aligning with them) while not giving her a cent (because she doesn’t need it) even though I was a delegate for her at our Democratic District Convention here in eastern Iowa.

As a catholic Christian (though not a Roman Catholic one) how could I not love a politician who, according to the National Catholic Reporter, has “embraced decades of Catholic social teaching in a brief visit to the Vatican Friday, lambasting some particularly American aspects of the global market system in a bid to match his voice to Pope Francis’ cry against the ‘new idols’ of money and wealth.”

How could one who has preached and taught and tried to live such social teachings for over four decades not agree with Bernie Sanders when he said, “I am told time and time again by the rich and powerful, and the mainstream media that represent them, that we should be ‘practical’, that we should accept the status quo; that a truly moral economy is beyond our reach”

“Yet Pope Francis himself is surely the world’s greatest demonstration against such a surrender to despair and cynicism,” Sanders continued, “He has opened the eyes of the world once again to the claims of mercy, justice and the possibilities of a better world. He is inspiring the world to find a new global consensus for our common home.”

Wow, preach it, Bernie!

While I continue to believe that Hillary Clinton, should she be elected, is more likely to be able to lead in taking incremental steps toward some of these same goals, I am mightily impressed by Senator Sanders’ integrity and decades-long consistency in his advocacy of economic justice and equality for all. I have said before that I will support him enthusiastically should he win the nomination.

But, as the Supreme Court seems poised to overturn Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment on immigration and as the Congress continues to block any and all progressive moves by the Administration, my fear is that four years of Bernie Sanders will, once again, lead to more gridlock and disillusionment as a Republican legislature will unite in trying to sabotage anything such a liberal President will try to accomplish.

Then again, those same “Hillary haters” may well frustrate her attempts to work across the aisle just as they have President Obama’s. The only real hope is for the Democratic nominee to bring along, on his or her coat-tails, more “down the line” candidates for the Senate and House, actually pulling off the “political revolution” Sanders is calling for. I wish Bernie was working as hard at this as Hillary is (the real purpose of those embarrassing George Clooney fund raisers!)

It’s a quandary.

But I am proud to support a political party which has put forth two candidates — a democratic socialist and a woman with a long history of working for women’s rights and children’s issues along with vast experience in international relations. It goes without saying that either one of these dedicated public servants will serve us better than any of the clowns on the GOP side.

One Response to “Heart With Bernie, Head With Hillary”

  1. Bob Fitzpatrck Says:

    Aloha Chris, I agree with what you have written. I also note that since Senator Sanders is truly an independent, his organization is also not connected to Congressional Democrats. If the GOP continues to control both Houses, there will certainly be gridlock. However, even Democratic control of one side or even both does not ensure support — especially if the margin is small and the swing votes come from purple states. My family financial support has been split — Hillary does share her clout and donors down ticket. Knowing the limitations of the Office, I struggle with who can break the impass with Congress and who can get judges/justices confirmed. As my son says to me daily, if only Elizabeth Warren had run.

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