An ode to Bernie Sanders: The dream America wasn’t ready for

A reflection on how we felt the Bern


After a long, and well-fought struggle, Bernie Sanders conceded to his defeat by Hillary Clinton by endorsing her in NH today. He got further than anyone expected, especially against one of the most widely-known American politicians in the world, but alas it was not far enough.

He was an icon for students and young people in America, and even across the world. He sparked an interest in politics for many who had given up or never paid attention. He fired up people to become vocal about the issues that matter. He mobilized an almost unprecedented amount of support in young people the US has not seen since Obama.

As a Bernie supporter, it’s been amazing to see how he practically came out of nowhere and became one of the most prominent politicians in United States politics. I was one of those people who he mobilized into caring about our country’s issues. I’m an international affairs major, so I have always been interested in history and human rights, but I never really paid much attention to much besides human rights before him. He opened the eyes of millions of Americans, including me, to the atrocities that our government, corporations, and wealthy commit that I never knew anything about.

The Sanders' camp would have loved the extra attention a debate with Trump would bring.

The Sanders’ camp would have loved the extra attention a debate with Trump would bring.

And to see many around me to also have their eyes opened around me was so amazing. I remember one day which my Mom called telling me she had never been more passionate about a Presidential candidate in her entire life, and this is someone who has always voted Republican. I, personally, do not think I can go back to the apathetic person I once was after listening to him; for he has helped shaped who I aspire to be.

He brought a powerful message of taking back our country to work for all of us, instead of giving it to corporations, millionaires, billionaires, and foreign entities. He brought a message of unity, whether you were gay, straight, Black, Native American, a student, or a retired veteran, we all belong and we are all important and our voices mattered. He advocated for tuition-free public college, a $15 minimum wage, making sure everyone pays their fair share, seeing that everyone is guaranteed their human rights, and seeing Citizens United is toppled over. His message inspired many, and has left a legacy.

But unfortunately, this dream of his (and his followers) was not ready to be embraced by our entire country. Not yet.

It is upsetting that he did just about everything right, but did not take home the nomination. But as I’ve said many times, he has changed millions, and I truly believe his legacy will one day be seen through. That in itself, is a victory.

In memory of his unforgettable bid for Presidency, let’s reflect on what he has achieved throughout his political career thus far:

April 6, 1981

Bernie Sanders narrowly becomes the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont

January 3, 1991

Sanders is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Vermont’s At-Large district

January 3, 2007

Sanders is elected to the U.S. Senate

2011

Becomes the longest-serving independent in Congress in U.S history

April 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders declares his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President

September 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders becomes the first Presidential candidate to receive a million donor donations in this election season, 5 months before Obama ever did, all with no SuperPac

February 9, 2016

Sanders wins first contest of the primaries in New Hampshire, winning 60.4% of the vote; also becoming the first Jewish candidate to win a state

February 15, 2016

First poll puts Sanders ahead of Clinton nationally, by over three percent

March 8, 2016

Sanders makes a political upset by winning Michigan, when he was thought to lose by around 20 percent

March 8 – April 9, 2016

Sanders wins seven states in a row, more consecutive wins in the Democratic Primary than any other Presidential candidate (until Trump became the only candidate left in the Republican Primary)

June 7, 2016

Vows to take the competition all the way to the convention, fighting for every last vote

July 12, 2016

Sanders concedes and endorses Hillary Clinton for President