Opinion | Sanders’ campaign has ended — and with it, my faith in America

By Genna Edwards, Staff Columnist

I used to believe in politics. Crazy, right? From grade school we’re taught that the American political system is a good, solid system.

I’d sit in the back of my social studies class in terrible pigtails and eat the history up — our two-party system looks out for the interests of the people with leaders that are capable, honest and ethical. America is the best country to live in. Uncle Sam loves you, and so did FDR, and so did Washington and Jefferson and all the other old, white men. Then high school hit and slowly but surely I came to realize everything I was taught was a lie. 

My disillusionment with American politics has hit its peak ever since Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced he would suspend his 2020 campaign for the Democratic nomination. If, come November, I have to vote between Trump and Joe Biden, I am going to dig my own grave afterwards and lie in it until the earth takes me.

Bernie announced he is suspending his campaign. Now, first off, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still vote for him in the primaries — I plan to. There’s a slim chance that, if he receives enough delegates from the primary vote, he could become the Democratic nominee. But over the past week my pessimism has led me to believe that, given the Democratic party’s ridiculous, harmful obsession with not shaking things up, Biden is the presumptive nominee.

I thought the 2016 primaries and election were bad enough. Although I’m no hardcore Hilary Clinton fan, she, an educated leader with a strong political background, lost to a racist alleged-rapist who can’t speak in full sentences. I was too young to vote in that election, but it broke high school me just the same. The message was clear — half of America, its people and its government, don’t care about you or anyone but themselves.

The past four years of Trump’s presidency have angered me like nothing before. The television host and his cabinet have tried everything from attempting — and sometimes suceeding — to strip away abortion rights to cutting needed social services for the marginalized and disenfranchised. He is a misogynist, racist, ableist, transphobic man whose rhetoric has caused a rise in hate crimes across the nation. Don’t even get me started on his current handling of the COVID-19 crisis, but based on the numbers, most of America agree that he’s botching the situation for his own personal gain.

Bernie Sanders has been my light throughout all of this. Here is a man who has spent his entire life unwaveringly fighting for what’s right. He has marched for and supported laws that would improve the lives of people of all races, sexes, genders and socioeconomic classes. His platform is one for helping the common people, not the billionaires who don’t need help. His plans to cut student loans, provide health care for all regardless of employment status and lift marginalized groups out of poverty are steadfastly progressive. In my opinion, plans like these are the only way to get this country back on track. 

But now in November, we will likely be choosing between Trump and Biden. I don’t need to go into everything that Trump has done wrong — I guarantee you’ve heard it. My issue here is with Biden being the presumptive Democratic nominee over Sanders. Sanders — with the perfect record of sticking on the right side of history, fighting for the people — versus Biden.

Biden, like Trump, has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault by multiple women. And like Trump, he and his campaign deny these claims. Biden’s history as a “Democratic” politician is littered with choices that are incredibly un-Democratic. He’s more of a centrist than anything, going wherever the money and power want him to go. He wavers on abortion, having supported the Hyde Ammendment. He is not an LGBTQ+ ally. He voted for the Iraq war. He is anti-Social Security and anti-Medicare. Tara Reade, a former staff assistant to Biden, has accused him of sexual assault — I believe her. I’ve seen the videos of Biden inappropriately touching and sniffing young girls.

So. As both a leftist and a queer woman, I am appalled. Losing Sanders robs us of any dignity the American people may have had left. If I have to choose between two unfit men in the fall to lead my country out of a historic pandemic that neither are fit to fix given their policies, well — I’m moving to an underground bunker.

If I thought myself naive for believing in politics before this, boy, is that smacking me in the face now. I try to have hope, stupid white woman hope, and I’ve tried to have hope again and again. I thought Sanders was it this time, that we could escape this Trump hell and feel at least marginally better about living in this country.

If Trump versus Biden is what we have left, I’ll have to vote for Biden, and only because he’s not Trump. Imagine voting for someone whose biggest plus is that they’re not Trump. I need a drink. I understand that yes, I could vote for someone outside the two party system, but let’s be real — the two party system rules us. And it has ruined us. Unless we plan a full-scale revolution, we’re stuck with a worse version of 2016 all over again.

If you see me crying at the polls, drunk and disheveled and wearing SpongeBob pajama shorts in my first ever chance to vote for president in November, you’ll know why. My favorite activity in the world is choosing between two alleged rapists for the “highest office in the land” when there once was a man from Vermont who could have changed our world for the best. God bless America.

Genna Edwards writes about culture, gender and media for The Pitt News. You can contact her at [email protected].