Why do I support Bernie Sanders? My Millennial Daughter Made Me Do It

Hi there. Probably a few of you know something about me, but if you don’t, I’ve been posting at this site [refers to TOP] a long time, since 2005. Written a hell of a lot of diaries or stories or posts. You want to know my real name? Go to my profile page. It’s right there. Or read this post I wrote when I stopped being anonymous here at Daily Kos. You want to know the issues I care about? Here a few as shown by some prior posts:

War and War Crimes: US Army Admits Use of White Phosphorus as Weapon

Voter Suppression: Why I Woke Up to the Reality Of Stolen Elections

Race and Racism: What Do Conservatives Want When They Say "I Want My Country Back?"

Climate Change: The Megadrought is Coming: Climate Scientists Predict Decade Long Droughts For Much of America

Health Care Reform: Why the GOP's Plan to Kill Medicare Will Also Kill Me, My Family and You

Supporting More and Better Democrats: A True Story I Heard at My Aunt & Uncle's 50th Wedding Anniversary (& a lesson learned)

So yeah, I’m a well known quantity. And I’m old — I’m 59 though my 20 year old daughter mistakenly thought I was 69 on my last birthday. Gee thanks, dear.

Which brings me back to the subject of this post — why I support Bernie Sanders.

Well, when he first announced his candidacy I admit I was happy to see him enter the race, because I hoped he would pull Hillary Clinton more to the left. Other than that, I didn’t give him much of a thought. he was the ‘fringe’ candidate on the left. I was hoping Joe Biden might get in, to be honest so we could have a real debate on the issues, and because I thought he might prove to be a better candidate than Clinton. But that never happened, and so I resigned myself to having no choice in the matter.

You see, like almost everyone else back in early 2015, I was convinced she would be the nominee of the Democratic Party. She had all the support from other Democratic politicians. She’d been through the rigors of the 2008 campaign, and I assumed she would be better for having gone through that. She already had a ton of money backing her even before she announced. And she had Bill Clinton, former President and a man still beloved by many in the Democratic Party, as her biggest advocate and surrogate on the campaign trail.

But let me digress for a moment and tell you about my daughter, since she is the person most responsible, after all, for my change of heart.

She attends a top-flight college in Massachusetts studying to be a biomedical engineer. She's smart (Honor role every year so far). And she’s a good egg, to use an old-timey expression that people from the Dinosaur Generation (such as myself) like to use now and then. She believes in justice, equality and fairness for all people, even for those that so many in this country love to hate. What she cares about, she cares about deeply. At the age of six she became a vegetarian and stopped eating meat because I showed her an anti-veal ad of a baby calf in a crate. At the age of nine, she and I canvassed for John Kerry in west Cincinnati in some of the poorest slums I’ve seen, not only in America, but anywhere (and I’ve been to Jamaica and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico). That was an eye-opening experience for both of us.

Here’s some more information about her:

She's half Japanese American and half German/Irish/Scotch/Welsh/French/Who knows what else American. The beauty and brain she got from her mother (I like to think I'm responsible for some of her other good qualities. I'm just not sure which ones).

She's in her own words "the straightest lesbian" in America (don't ask me what that means, I didn't say it).

She love cows, and I don't mean she loves to eat them. And she'll tell anyone who asks, and anyone who won't.

Her Grandmother survived the fire-bombing of Tokyo.

Her friends include artists, actors, writers, teachers, bullied kids, people with mental disorders, theater kids, jocks, goth kids, LGBT kids, kids who cut themselves, and (sadly) cute boys.

Others include fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and (I know, how ghastly!) atheists.

She always smiles at everyone she meets.

She's a talented painter.

She is a talented pianist.

She aced her AP exams. And I mean the math, science, history - everything.

She did all this despite suffering from ADHD (no, it wasn't a misdiagnosis and she hates that people don't take her disorder seriously) and a moderately severe anxiety disorder, both of which were first diagnosed at the age of seven.

She loves her relatives who belong to the Tea Party even when they try to tell her everything she believes about justice and equality is wrong and that I brainwashed her into being a "liberal socialist Democrat" (as if she ever listened to anything I had to say!).

She's a fighter. Tough as nails. Doesn't take shit from anyone. Never backs down from a fight. Stands up for her beliefs no matter who challenges her. Terrified of the dark, sure, but the bravest person I know. A helluva lot braver than yours truly.

She believes the life of every human being has value and deserves society's support, especially after he or she is born.

She feels we should be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable in our country, not by how how many wars we fight, or millionaires we create at the expense of fairness and justice for all.

She cannot fathom why people want to hurt other people, but she'd like to find a way to make them stop.

She’s Po-Choice and a self declared feminist.

Most importantly , she helped save the mind and soul of her mother, a pancreatic cancer survivor who suffered brain damage from chemotherapy, and has been brought back from the brink of despair in no small part part because of the tireless efforts of my daughter, who was always there with a smile, a calm word, a gentle touch, a funny joke - whatever it took to make her beloved mother know that she was still needed, still loved, still had something to offer the world despite her cognitive disabilities. Without my daughter's maturity, support, love and kindness my wife might have been lost to us, not because of her cancer, but because she no longer felt she was worthwhile. My daughter taught her mother that she still has much to offer this world, and returned her to the love of her family, a debt I can never repay.

At her college she belongs to the only co-ed service fraternity, and made many friends among its members, even though the majority are devout conservative Christians and she is most definitely an atheist. She joined Alpha Phi Omega to help the local community through donating her time and raising money for groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Harvest Project, Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen, Wachusett Greenways, Audubon Society, Tower Hill Botanical Garden, and Relay for Life. And anyone who works to help others is okay in her book, even of they disagree about a lot of other stuff.

In short, she doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. I freely admit she’s a far better, far more moral person than I am.

So with that all that extended context out of the way, let me tall you the story of how she convinced me to support Bernie Sanders for President.

Last summer she didn’t come home after her sophomore year because she had a job working as a paid intern for one of her professors. Her hours were at all times of the day or night, so we didn’t talk much, but when we did she kept asking me about this guy Bernie Sanders. And I gave her my standard response, that he was a good man, but he didn’t stand a chance in hell of winning the nomination because Hillary was so well known, so well organized, and he was a person that few if any people had heard about, even though he’d been serving in Congress for decades. I told her Hillary was going to win the nomination. That was my honest opinion.

She said something along the lines of that seemed like a poor reason to not to check Bernie out and see if he might be a better candidate, someone more in line with my own values. Frankly, I was a little dismissive of her when she said that. I replied along the lines of ‘well that would be nice if we lived in a different world, one where money and name recognition and the political support of powerful people in the Democratic party didn’t matter so much to winning the nomination. But we don't.’ I could tell I was putting a damper on her natural desire to support people who share her values. But facts are facts, right?

But she kept asking me questions about Sanders. So I’d look up info for her, and email her what I found. And as I did that, I learned more about Mr. Sanders' record. And I began to check out Hillary Clinton’s record, too, because she would ask me stuff like “Didn’t Hillary support the Iraq War?” Or “I heard she worked for Walmart. Isn’t Walmart a really a bad company for workers? How could she do that?” And the more research I did, the more I kept finding out that I liked this Bernie Sanders guy. Yeah, maybe he had no shot to win the nomination, but he had integrity out the wazoo, and I agreed with him on most issues.

My daughter and I finally got to see each other that summer when we both attended my Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary in August last year. And it was very clear by then that she was more and more certain that Sanders was the right candidate, the only candidate she could support for the Democratic nomination. We talked about how many people she knew, both online and off, who supported him. We spoke about the large numbers of people, especially young people, that Bernie was drawing to his campaign events, crowds no one else came close to matching, not even the media’s darling reality TV show candidate, the ubiquitous Donald Trump. We talked about what was most important to us. Her core values and mine. She worked me over real good.

Still, I held out committing to his candidacy. He was still far behind in the polls, in name recognition, and in money (though that was starting to change). But we kept in touch even after she went back to school. And when we did talk on the phone, and the subject came around to the Democratic race, she kept talking about how important Sander’s campaign was to her. She hadn’t been old enough in 2012 to vote for Obama, and she told me she was so excited because her first vote would be voting for someone she truly believed in. Someone whose values and principles aligned with her own.

In October, my wife and I went back to Colorado to attend our 30th year Law School reunion. My daughter joined us after it was over, because she had a break and wanted to bring her boyfriend out to meet her relatives. At some point, she got into a heated argument with my younger brother about Bernie Sanders. He's an independent that leans to the right, mostly, and to be honest he was egging her on a little, teasing her really, but she was dead serious.

I was just watching their exchange, because between the two of them there was no way I was going to get a word in anyway, when out of the blue, she asked me (or maybe I should call it a statement to be fair), “Dad you support Bernie, right? Tell Uncle ______ why he’s wrong about [now here I can’t really recall the precise issue they were debating, but it had something to do with Sanders being a socialist and how socialism is bad, and blah, blah, blah]. Tell him, Daddy,” she said. “You know.”

And that’s when it hit me. I did know. I was a Bernie supporter.

I’d done all the research on the differences between Hillary and Bernie on the issues, their respective records and their relative strengths and weaknesses as candidates. I could no longer stand on the sideline. I could no longer just assume that Hillary would be the nominee, and use that as an excuse not to commit to Bernie, a person who I actually liked and respected as a human being, much less a politician. I just needed that nudge (i.e., sharp poke with a stick) from my daughter. So I told my brother why he was wrong about Bernie. And I’ve been telling people ever since why they should support him, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or those unaffiliated with either party (a better term than independent in my opinion for such folks).

So thanks, Punkin Poo (sorry, but that’s been my nickname for her since she was two), I needed that.

(Cross-posted at TOP)

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Lady Libertine's picture

wow.

My daughter age 19 I bet can translate for me, lol. I think she'd say this too. Or maybe she's the gayest straight girl, I dunno:

She's in her own words "the straightest lesbian" in America (don't ask me what that means, I didn't say it).

and this,

and she told me she was so excited because her first vote would be voting for someone she truly believed in. Someone whose values and principles aligned with her own.

is when my eyes filled with tears. I can't bear the thought of these kids being crushed and jaded at such a ripe young age, though it's something I do fear.

thank you and thank your daughter for me too.

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riverlover's picture

to have such a bright daughter. And a pro-Bernie one, at that. I wish her well in her schooling and career.

I have two slightly older Millennials who I did my best to groom as Democrats and to vote. Better success with #1 than #2, but they are both busy in living. I pushed my son to vote D in FL, in TX, in CO, and in this TX primary. I had been talking up Bernie to him, not pushing--unless pushing a bug in his ear. As the primary neared he asked me "Can he win?". I said I did not know, but he seemed like the best choice. So he did. He travels for work, all over the world. He has seen some things, enough to compare and contrast.

In the end, I will stay with the movement for my kids, who I fear will have a hard time, harder than I did.

No snide comments OT, last I looked.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

ZimInSeattle's picture

for a long long time. My first diary over at TOS was trying to get a write-in campaign going for Bernie in 2011 I was so pissed at Obama for selling out. Almost got banned. The way things are there now, I could care less. Cheers to you and your daughter. Smile

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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK | "The more I see of the moneyed peoples, the more I understand the guillotine." - G. B. Shaw Bernie/Tulsi 2020

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alexa100's picture

Steven... Every time I read your posts I am impressed. I'm glad I found you here at the caucus website.

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Go Bernie !!
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

Borkrom's picture

I am work and was getting a little teary eyed. Thank you for sharing this great and heart warming story. My son who is 20 years old turned me onto Bernie Sanders as well- so I guess it struck a little close to home.

To me, and not to offend anyone here. If this country and world has any chance to address and correct all the issues before it is too late then it will be the younger generation that will do it. I know they sometimes get a rap for being slackers, but damn they are smart, can do anything with technology, informed, care, and overall they know the truth that we need to take care of our problems before it is too late.

That is why is why I am involved so we can help our future generations.

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gulfgal98's picture

I do not have children myself, but the millennials I met at my local Occupy were a very impressive bunch of kids. Very smart and they know exactly what they are up against. It is their future and I feel compelled to do everything I can to ensure they have one.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Borkrom's picture

It is nice to hear and see you care and understand like many others here. I truly believe they can help us save ourselves.

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When I first heard about his running for President. I knew about him, having followed politics and seen a few of his speeches but I assumed he'd be a fringe voice at best. Perhaps slightly louder than Jill Stein but regulated to 'also-ran' status before the first vote was even cast...

In fact it wasn't really until a few days before Iowa voted that I really started to realize that he actually had a shot. Well not too late to get my act together I suppose - I'm now one of the (alternate) delegates for Bernie in WA!

I must say I've never been happier to be wrong.

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Steven D's picture

Me too.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

larryrant's picture

Thank you.
My kids are over twice your daughter's age; but I'm not twice your age Smile
And they are all 4 Berniacs. I'm so pleased.

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Lookout's picture

They are our hope. I've been asking the few Hillary supporters I know, "What would your twenty year old self tell you now?"

I'm mid 60's and remember the sixties. Many people did not like hippies...especially here in Alabama. This moment in time has many similarities. Time to listen to the young folks and carry the movement to the next level.

Thanks for your personal story. Glad your daughter led you to the light.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

FreakFlagFly's picture

Let's elect a president who respects young women who want real answers to real issues.

Let's elect Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Meets Young Activists

Three examples of Hillary talking to young women who have challenged her on her record.

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That is the equivalent of "get off my lawn". She really is tone deaf.

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Scrappadoo's picture

Steven, I loved your story. Thank you for sharing your daughter with us. She sounds like a lovely human being.

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SnappleBC's picture

She said something along the lines of that seemed like a poor reason...

The whole line of reasoning that says, "Sure, one candidate is infinitely superior to another on pretty much every issue but doesn't have the support" misses the entire point of Democracy. It is a de-facto oligarchy mindset. Hillary has the Clinton machine, eg: the oligarchy. If you want something different than that you have to support it yourself.

I got behind Bernie pretty much from the beginning and it didn't really matter to me what his chances were. My job was to improve those chances if I wanted to see the sorts of changes I believe this nation and the world needs. As I said about a zillion times on TOP, "Sure Bernie is a dark horse. But he's the only game in town." In truth that's not really true. Jill Stein, an even darker horse, also has the right policy positions and history.

In the end, we either make the change we desire or else we let someone else do it. And the folks who have been doing it so far have been doing a pretty piss-poor job of it.

----
edited to note: shared on facebook

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

flowerfarmer's picture

This is exactly how i felt.....

I got behind Bernie pretty much from the beginning and it didn't really matter to me what his chances were.

I knew i was never voting for HRC and it did not occur to me to assume that Bernie would or wouldn't succeed- i just had to get involved and spread the word as well as i could.
I have a better feeling now that he just might run the primary gauntlet to the win.
One day at a time.

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I have 2 daughters and yours sounds just lovely!

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O.k. When is the next meeting for the revolution?
-FuturePassed on Sunday, November 25, 2018 10:22 p.m.

Your daughter is amazing! I was first on board for Bernie in my family, just because he was saying the things that needed saying, so my little ActBlue account got steady action in donations. I would have loved to see Elizabeth Warren run, but have had respect for Bernie for a long time. My near-17 year old son is not really political(he is an only child, adopted from China, and while I am certain his grandparents were in the Cultural Revolution, he does not like conflict) but on social issues, he is a total progressive. The GOP backward social views just are like dinosaurs to he and his peers. They have, in their smallish county high school, a Hispanic boy who, in middle school, declared transgender and the KIDS started a "Gay-Straight-Trans Alliance." It was opposed by the principal so much that in the end, the PRINCIPAL was forced out. ALL of his buddies are for Bernie, but he asked me what I thought. I told him that Bernie has stood for the right things for a long, long time, and he could be trusted. My son heard only about Clinton dishonesty - the Bosnia landing under fire story. I told him - forget that stuff. Look at what she has done, what her policies do for your life. Look at the honesty in that, not the side stuff(because that will always be mixed with Republican hate, just what I teach my son) My husband surprised me, too. He went to vote early and just told me, "I finally get to vote for someone I have respected for so, so long." My husband is completely of that "professional class" that Tom Frank discusses in his book on the problems with Dems - ivy League Ph.D. - but we both pretty much have socialist hearts. It is the kids who are going to transform this country, though.

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dugjxn's picture

some mean paid blogger on another site that turned you off Clinton and towards Sanders. I am shocked to hear of this thing sounding like cognitive thinking.

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mimi's picture

dads need daughters to "get" it sometimes ... my dad needed me too for that matter... Smile
Let's hope Sanders will not disappoint her and not betray her trust in him.

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mimi

...that you have a family with whom you have anchor relationships. It's a well-earned reward to a good life.

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******************************

Muerte al fascismo. Muerte a la tiranía. colapso total de los que promueven tampoco. A la pared con el unico porciento%

My nineteen year old daughter has been gently pushing me back into the mystical, magical land of idealism. Thank the Gods there are these fresh sets of eyes out there, helping us to see.

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I believe in sky faeries.

Forward and it did not matter that no one agreed with him. He charged ahead because he knew what was right. He is a great example to the young about standing up for a principle versus bowing to consensus or conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is often wrong.

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I have known about Bernie for years, and was so happy when he decided to run. I was able to get my daughter to look at Bernie and then vote for him.

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Damnit Janet's picture

oxoxo StevenD oxoxox

Our daughters would be dear friends if they ever met.

As you know, my daughter changed me politically as well. "What did you do once you knew?"

She's had an FBI file since she was 8 we later learned. All because she wrote a letter. One of the diaries I need to move from TOP.

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"Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

Steven D's picture

I'd love to read it.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Damnit Janet's picture

at Orange and Booman Smile It's from when she wrote a letter to the pols asking how killing little "Iraqi Kids" had anything to do with security.

She got me marching.

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"Love One Another" ~ George Harrison