This wasn’t my first battle with insomnia by any means. I always forget how it works. Most of all, I always forget what happens to my eyes: how they hurt and develop a glue-like substance throughout my too-long-for-my-gender eyelashes. That glue hardens and gets in my eyes. My thinking and my vision are both impaired and hurt.
In the last seven days I’ve slept 16 hours. According to the internet, “anxiety and depression are two of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Other common emotional and psychological causes include chronic or significant stress, anger, fear, worry grief, and trauma.”
I’m chronically worried about the country I live in and love. I’m anxious and depressed about how the Democratic primaries were rigged and stolen. I am so very fearful for humanity’s future under the thumb of either a Clinton or Trump Presidency. I’m plenty angry too.
If you’ve ever been angry with someone you know is a genuinely good person, you’re familiar with how that anger makes you feel like a jerk. I feel like a jerk because I’ve been angry with Bernie Sanders. Each time he says something kind about or hints at a future endorsement of Hillary Clinton, I tinge with anger.
I’m sort of a lone wolf. Years of serving with non-profit organizations has made me suspicious of putting process before progress. I’m a liberal who believes in the power of American individualism. As a leader, I believe in delegating and supporting an individual’s work, not stealing time they could be productive through endless committees and group think. My years as a reporter led me to believe that the journalist and editor relationship is the most productive form of leadership. Let the individual do their work with passion, explain why you can use or not use their work. Hone it in together before going public. Whenever I have found myself in leadership positions, I try to follow that code. There is no leash until I have to go out and look for you and drag you back home. Run free. Be yourself. Find your own way. I’ll be there when you need me. I’ll always offer support, training and any available resource when you ask for it. I will check in, but you have to ask. For the most part, it’s been a very successful model.
I’ve written previously about how I was skeptical about going all in for a national candidate before, but I didn’t brush on my aforementioned anxiety over group thought and group play. One of the things that drove me away from politics and campaigns is that there’s always so much wasted time trying to get everyone to agree on things that aren’t relevant yet. Build a support system. Put rules in place. Let people do their jobs. I’m vehemently opposed to the hive-mind. I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t unique. I’ve never known time to stop to fit any predetermined schedule.
The Clinton campaign has embraced the hive-mind. “I’m with Her” sums it up. No discussion. Issues be damned. They’re with her. They’re so with her they’re against democracy even. They play on identity politics and shame people as sexist or racist for not embracing their right-wing agenda. The Trump campaign takes it a step further with an “us against them” fear mongering that draws many a comparison to Hitler or Mussolini. Either one is destined to lead us down a very dangerous path.
I’m angry that the media cartels who installed Trump and Clinton as presumptive nominees have successfully pushed that narrative to the point that Bernie himself is acting like we’ve only two choices. He is our alternative, still, and frankly, I need him to start acting like it. I’m sick of this fear Trump tactic that says we have to rally behind possibly worse Hillary. I’m mad that Bernie, a kinder, smarter, more compassionate man than I am, isn’t being more of a rabble-rouser.
There’s the key. I haven’t been respecting Bernie’s individuality. I’m not following my own code and trusting him to do his work as he best sees fit. I should be concentrating on my own work and looking forward , while looking forward to seeing his as it presents itself. We don’t have to think alike or work alike to be on the same team. We just have to care about the same stuff. And we do.
Bernie, and many others, have been right in reminding us that #OurRevolution is bigger than just one office or one election. However, that’s sort of a no-brainer. Of course Progressives and regular people need to take back their government from the school board to the Senate floor. Of course we need to take back the media by making the corporate structure obsolete. Yet, of course we need a Progressive President too. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that humanity may not survive a Clinton or Trump Presidency. The President of the United States wields such power that life or death of our species is jeopardized by ego. Both Clinton and Trump suffer from unhealthy ego, a desire to crush their opponents, and a lack of moral character. I don’t feel safe with these options. If either is elected, I will spend every night sleepless worried that it is my last before the dragon fire is unleashed and burns us all in spite.
I’m a stubborn fellow and often have to remind myself to be more forgiving. It’s so much worse when it comes to politics. I was Run Warren Run two years ago. When Elizabeth Warren refused to even acknowledge our group, it soured me on her. She wouldn’t show courage of conviction. When she didn’t stand with Progressives and endorse Sanders before the Massachusetts primary, it became evident to me that her convictions are not the same as the Progressive movement’s. She’s a party player. When she endorsed Hillary Clinton, I changed my vernacular from, “they’re dead to me,” to “they’re Elizabeth Warren to me.”
I’m trying very hard to be more forgiving of Bernie should he make similar endorsement. However, I’m going to stay true to myself and my resolve.
Early in the primaries, I signed on as #BernieOrBust for tactical reasons more than anything. I felt we needed a power-play against the Democratic National Committee establishment. However, our candidate negated our power-play by not endorsing it. By not saying he’d find a way to run in November no matter what, he diminished what his supporters were willing to fight for. Bernie is an individual himself, like all of us, and unlike Warren, I believe Sanders has the courage of his convictions. He answered the call to run for the highest office in the land when no other Progressive would. I have to move past my wishes that he would have done some things differently.
I will not move past my conviction of #BernieOrBust, however. It is no longer a tactic. It’s the only thing I have to keep my moral center. I am so very sick and tired of pragmatic defeatists trying to convince me with fear of Trump mumbo jumbo that I don’t get to have convictions. We’re not allowed fair primaries. We’re not allowed fair, transparent, untampered with elections, and now we’re not allowed to vote however we feel necessary? No. You’ve taken too much. I get to vote my moral center, and that means sticking with the only vote that doesn’t scare the living crap out of me. I am #BernieOrBust. My party, the Democrats may have moved center-right without me, but I will #SeeYouInPhilly demanding a Progressive agenda and am #BernieOrBust through November. It’s the only chance I have at sleeping at night.
With all of that said, now for some housekeeping. I am done writing variations of the same theme each week. We are at a stand-still politically. Right-wing scary people have taken over the Democratic Party. Empathetic people are fighting back. We will march peacefully in Philly. Democracy has been burned to the ground by the DNC and Clinton machine. Corporate media alliances have failed us in reporting on what’s really happening. At this point, you either get it or you don’t. We are under attack by the corporations. They’ve stolen democracy itself. And Hillary Clinton is their steward. I can’t say it any more plainly than that. If you don’t agree, you’re blind to the facts and my weekly missive isn’t going to shake you from slumber.
And so, this will no longer be a weekly column. It will become a column without time frame or theme. The site that encouraged this old newspaper man to start a weekly column again, theElizabethian.com is closing up shop. I enjoy being a part of ProgressiveArmy.com and will still write columns. When they are political in nature, I will post with them if they will still have me. I’ll continue to post everything at Medium.com and my own website as there is no set genre on either, and I seem to get the most readers on those two platforms anyhow. I may have more to say on being #BernieOrBust or just smack-talking the corporate sell-outs of the Democratic Party. I may want to rant about all of the comic book shows on television or my psoriasis. I’m an individual who craves a little more freedom of expression and am giving it to myself. I’m pretty easy to find on the interwebs if you want to keep up with me or my writing, but I’m switching gears.
Frankly, I’m tired of arguing with so-called-fellow-liberals about voting convictions and I sense it’s just going to get worse. Honestly, I feel stagnation setting in writing the same sort of stuff over and over. My resolve is clear. My positions are not changing just because the races are. I’m on record. Truthfully, I never intended for my weekly missive in these columns or even on my podcast for that matter to be anything more than a personal rant or conversation of interest to me and I want to explore that beyond politics. As nobody pays me for either, I feel free to do as I please. I offer apology to anyone that disagrees with my decision, but am not apologetic enough to change course from following my heart.
I’ll follow my heart and vote for Bernie Sanders no matter what, be it write-in or any other opportunity I’m given in November. I’ll follow my heart and work to build PodcastRevolution.org into a platform that raises new voices in broadcasting while marketing and creating revenue for established hosts. I’ll follow my heart and try to identify the right office for me to personally run for and try to affect political change from. I’ll follow my heart to Philadelphia and possibly Cleveland to try to offer non-corporate narrative coverage of what’s really happening. I’ll follow my heart and write about, blog about or podcast about whatever is of interest to me in each moment. I hope you’ll find it interesting too. Though we’re likely strangers, I’ll hope that you’re following your heart as well, as I believe each of us has callings in this life that our souls are trying to whisper in our ears constantly so that the brain learns to follow the heart.
Until next time, I’m Michael Salamone. You be you. Let’s please be good to each other. Cheers.