When you Instagram your dinner or tweet the cute thing your kid said in her sleep or post the thousands of emails you hacked from the Democratic National Committee, you are participating in what makes the internet the most transformative technological development since the printing press: The ability to share information rapidly.
But not only is the speed of the information dynamic, it’s who has access to it. Just as the printing press took power away from the few (the church, mainly) and put it in the hands of many, so too did the internet but on a massively larger scale, speeding human progress in previously unimaginable ways.
With this still-incredibly-new groundbreaker, we’ve become empowered. This glut of information and the speed it can change hands has become a normal a way of life. So much so that many of us expect change can and should happen overnight.
This is where I start looking at you, Hardline Bernie Supporters (HBS) and the willingness to torch everything because you didn’t get everything you wanted.
I mean, Bernie’s not even a Bernie supporter anymore. It’s like the chicken cut its own head off, instructing a trusted adult to keep it someplace safe. Meanwhile, the HBS are running around headless, overturning tables and knocking into walls.
I get it. The system is broken and Hillary Clinton is far from the ideal candidate. There was collusion and a somewhat concerted effort to encourage Bernie’s defeat and to increase the likelihood that the more establishment candidate would win.
The collusion and meddling is unfortunate, though this particular occurrence is probably on a smaller (or similar) scale than has existed in the past, before wiki leaks, when things were simpler only because we didn’t know half of the extent of what went on behind the scenes because a relative few decided which information the rest of us got.
But now (most of) the information belongs to all of us, and we share it freely with little interference compared with the past, you know, when America was great.
In part, the anger, contempt and distrust coming from HBS (and others) are from a frustration over the fact that change can, and sometimes should, occur rapidly. And when it doesn’t, we adopt a Veruca Salt-like attitude of “I want it NOW!” You want it now because if not now, when? If not you, who? Mm-hmm. Patience, friend.
This is a historical moment for our country, and historical moments require responsibility and maturity and a little more sanity. Sanity in this case is to set aside what you’re not getting with Clinton. It is looking at what you will get to keep, or at least not lose. Think about health care, the Supreme Court, women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, environmental protection, minimum wage, college tuition and debt. In short, we’d get to keep and build upon the momentum and progress that has made life better for many and not just the few (looking at you, WASPy white man).
A bridge-burning, all-or-nothing approach disregards just how progressive the Democratic platform is in 2016, something Bernie and his millions of supporters are responsible for, in part. It should be seen as a victory, not a defeat.
Most importantly, we must not take our eyes off the bloodthirsty demagogue and his bleating followers readying for war. Think of that man’s scowl, his venom, his anger, his fraud, his hoodwinking, hate and bigotry, his disregard for compassion and decency, his desire for spectacle, his open(!) adoration of dictators and strongmen, his sickening narcissism. Look at it long and hard and think about the next 10 and 60 and 100 years.
Do not throw away decades of progress, both past and future, because the desired change didn’t happen overnight. Let’s build on the revolution without the hysterics, which make it so easy for rational people to dismiss important ideas, issues and noble battles being fought.