A Millennial Speaks: Thank You, Bernie Sanders

This blogger has mentioned his contentious discussions with the millennial generation. So he reached out to one, R. Sharp, to see where he stood on moving forward in a post-Bernie election. This is what he wrote. It's optimistic in a way that younger people need to be, but it's realistic in that it's tempered with an understanding of the work that still needs to be done. Check it out:

Thank You, Bernie Sanders

In this year's election cycle we have seen many different views of what America should look like according to a few handpicked, privileged individuals. Like many others, I didn't really give a shit what these corporate puppets had to say. In my mind this country was set in its ways and nothing would ever change. It wasn't until the junior senator from Vermont changed that perception. Bernie Sanders showed me that there was at least one person in Washington who truly cared about the rest of us. His call for economic, racial, and political justice was new and refreshing to me. His so-called "radical" ideas for breaking up the big banks and providing free college tuition and healthcare struck a chord with me. Bernie Sanders made me want to learn more about politics and how our government works.

For months I did my research, constantly watching CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. I read online articles from opposing sides of each issue and watched countless documentaries that forced me to question my convictions or my lack of them. Never in my life had I cared this much about politics. Bernie was a saint to me, always calling out the injustices in our society and laying out coherent plans to fix them. He spoke of the greed of the 1% and how they managed to make billions for themselves while countless starving children spent their nights on the streets with no hope for a better life. I asked myself: What could I do to change this? I found the rather obvious answer quickly: I could vote.

The voting process was always sort of a scam to me. It was just the government trying to convince the common people they had a voice that could change things, when, in reality, they already had everything predetermined, bought and paid for. It wasn't until my searching opened my eyes and made me realize the true power of the vote. I immediately registered and took every opportunity I had to spread the word among my friends, co-workers, and peers. The message was simple, maybe even naive: you can have an impact on our society if you vote.

So now here we are, five months from another election that will shape the future of our nation. Sadly, Bernie has been defeated in his bid for the White House. However, his ideals and proposals have shaken the foundation of the Democratic Party, if not all of American politics. His words have resonated with millions in every state, and he has gathered a dedicated following of young people.

My message to those who are disappointed with Sanders' primary loss is this: Stay with it. Use that fire you have burning within and put it in action. Stand up for the change you want to see, stand up for what's right, and please, for the love of God, stand up and vote in November. If you are a Bernie supporter who doesn't care anymore because he is out of the race, reevaluate yourself. Remember how Bernie inspired you to give a damn.  Vote for what Bernie stands for, but more importantly vote for what you stand for. Vote so that Bernie’s beliefs can at least have a chance to become real with the next president. If you don't, we could end up with an orange-skinned super villain in office come January.

I've had to face that the American dream as we thought we knew it is dead and gone. So many people in this country are doomed to failure the second after they are born. Whether it's because of where they live, how much money their parents make, or the color of their skin, there are millions of us who will never have the opportunity to better themselves.

When I was in grade school my teacher asked the class a simple question: What is the American dream? My friend's hand shot up immediately. "The American dream is when you make a lot of money and don't have to work," he said.

My teacher was in shock, he shook his head and rubbed his eyes. "That's what's wrong with your generation," he said. "The American dream is about being self sufficient and supporting those you love, it's about having opportunities open for you regardless of class and social status. Everyone gets a shot at success." You can imagine how a room full of adolescents reacted to this. No one cared. We thought Teach had lost his grip with reality. It wasn't until now that I realize what he meant and what’s been lost and how we might get it back.

Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for inspiring me to care about the future of this country. For opening my eyes and allowing me to see the world through a different lens. Thank you for your spirit, and, most of all, thank you for making me wake up and join the fight.