The Gloves Are Off: An Open Letter to the #BernieBros on Behalf of Hillary Clinton

Dear #BernieBros,

The truth hurts.  

For the past five days, this seems to be the message I've gotten from you via the world wide web.  I know that you've earned quite the reputation for your "unique" ways of showing support for Senator Bernie Sanders.  In order to convince the online community that Senator Sanders is the most qualified candidate, you have decided to attack anyone who has the nerve to speak ill of your Chosen One.  Rather than simply acknowledge the author and his or her opinion and move on, you all seem perfectly content to go to great lengths to insult not only the person who wrote the article but you then will go on a rant against whomever the author has the gall to support, and most times that person is Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Despite calls from Bernie himself, your behavior has not improved and, if anything, has gotten worse.  

To be honest, the insults you hurled against me for my article on Bernie's candidacy were quite ineffective and well, frankly juvenile.  I've been called a lot worse in my day than "fake progressive," "entitled," "idiot," and "Hillary plant."  It was quite humorous actually to see how many wrong assumptions people made about me having read my work for the first time.  I don't know my history (I majored in secondary social studies education and taught high school history).  I am some Hillary fanboy (I twice voted for Barack Obama and initially considered supporting Bernie Sanders this past summer).  I don't understand how politics work (I contribute to four separate progressive blogs and have been doing so for the past three years).  And, my personal favorite, I am some rich kid with an axe to grind (I am lower-middle class and have long been a Bernie Sanders supporter for his work in the Senate).  

But that's just me.  When you choose to attack me for my views you do so in a way to try and discredit me because you disagree with my personal opinion.  You're a lot like Donald Trump in that way; when somebody chooses to endorse someone else you immediately attack that person.  Not a good look, to be honest.  But if I can handle being cussed out by disgruntled high school students, I  can most certainly take your puerile jabs in stride.  However, when you choose to insult Hillary Clinton and call her names that would make you want to deck someone if they ever referred to your sister in that way, well that's where I take issue.  When you degrade and debase someone who has been the most admired woman in the world a record twenty times in order to score cheap political points, well that's when I get more than a little bit angry.

And you're not going to like me when I'm angry.  

Because that's when I drop truth bombs that make you and your other little keyboard warriors squirm.  That's when I systematically tear apart your candidate while simultaneously elevating mine.  That's when I go to town on every bit of hypocrisy that your candidate has said or done over his thirty-year political career.  Yes, I'm going to get personal because you made it personal.  When you attack a candidate on your own team with sexist and misogynistic comments, then the gloves have to come off.  Hillary Clinton has too much pride and will never sink to your level.  I, on the other hand, am perfectly content to show you #BernieBros what happens when you leave your parents' basement and enter the real world.  

Game on.  

Let's start by talking labels.  Your savior Bernie Sanders prides himself on being a progressive and insists that Hillary Clinton is not.  Let us then take a look to see if maybe, perhaps, Clinton's background tells a different story.  She started her professional career by doing a postgraduate study in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she worked for the Children's Defense Fund as a staff attorney.  Once this was done she then had to consider her options.   Last time I checked, not everyone out of law school chooses to work for an organization like The Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families rather than immediately jump into a private law firm but that is exactly what Hillary Clinton chose to do.  After her husband was elected Arkansas Attorney General, Clinton worked for the prestigious Rose Law Firm where she engaged in pro bono work in child advocacy.  She later became the first woman to be named full partner at the firm.  

Don't worry, I'm just getting started.  

Just two years later she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a nonprofit organization geared toward encouraging public policy in Arkansas that would benefit children and their families.  She then was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to be on the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit that provide legal assistance to those who could not afford it.  Clinton later became the first woman to chair the board.  Later, after her husband was elected governor, Clinton was named chair of the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee where she fought to establish mandatory teacher testing and state standards for curriculum and classroom size.  She also served on the board of directors of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Legal Services and the Children's Defense Fund during her time in Little Rock.

All this led up to her time as First Lady where she became the most influential woman to hold the position since Eleanor Roosevelt.  She was a huge advocate for health care reform and was a driving force behind the State Children's Health Insurance Program which provided state support for children whose parents could not provide them with health insurance.  She surpassed Nancy Reagan as the most-traveled First Lady, having traveled to 79 countries.  She spoke out against the mistreatment of women around the globe and made international headlines in Beijing where, despite internal pressure not to speak out, she uttered the now-famous phrase, "If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all."

Now, I know what you're thinking.  That's all well and good, but what has Hillary done for us lately?

After leaving the White House, Clinton served as a senator from the state of New York and then served one term as Secretary of State.  According to your favorite Bernie fanboy website Daily Kos, Hillary Clinton was the 11th most liberal member of the Senate during her time there and she and Bernie voted together 93% of the time.  Funny that their views are so closely aligned, isn't it?  Yet, despite this nearly-identical voting record, I know what you're going to say:  Hillary voted for the Iraq War.  Yes, she did.  So too did John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Chuck Schumer, all progressive Democrats who were misled and misinformed by faulty intelligence reports by the Bush Administration.  However, like a true professional, Hillary Clinton admitted her Iraq War vote was a mistake and vowed to learn from the experience.  

Which brings me to point #2:  Professional growth.

You #BernBros like to insist that Hillary isn't a true progressive because she changes her views over time.  That in itself, is remarkably idiotic.  The term progressive comes from the word "progress" meaning a gradual, positive change over time.  We all evolve, myself included, on topics like marriage equality.  Like Barack Obama before her, Hillary Clinton also gradually changed her views in regard to marriage equality.  And, believe it or not, The Great Bernie has also evolved on the topic.  Despite claiming he has been a long-time champion of marriage equality, it was as late as 2006 where Bernie Sanders opposed marriage equality, saying it was a state's rights issue and it wasn't until 2009 that Sanders came out in public support of full marriage equality.  So yes, if you're going to somehow claim that changing one's views to reflect the time means that someone isn't a progressive then you should take a long, hard look at your candidate's own evolution on the topic before rushing to judgment.  

Ain't hypocrisy a bitch?  

And it is this notion of hypocrisy that you #BernieBros don't get.  For instance, Saint Bernie is proud to say that he doesn't have super PACs supporting him.  However, groups and organizations have set up super PACs to support Sanders who legally cannot stop them.  In fact Sanders received financial support from National Nurses United in Iowa, a Super PAC that raised over $1 million in the state in support of Sanders' candidacy.  Sanders can hoot and howl about how he personally won't approve a super PAC of millionaires and billionaires, but he is completely powerless to stop them.  Plus, let's be honest:  Sanders wants to win.  So he will swallow his pride and "begrudgingly" accept the money from groups who feel compelled to support him because the more money he has coming in, the better his chances are to extend this into a nationally competitive race.

Which is exactly why Hillary Clinton has super PACs.  However, unlike Bernie, she has not had the luxury of running her first national campaign in a post-Citizen's United world.  Clinton learned from Barack Obama, who rejected super PACs in 2008 but found them necessary to compete against Republicans in 2012.  Clinton's long-term strategy is to win both the democratic nomination as well as the presidency and she knows that whoever emerges from a crowded Republican field will be receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelsons, and other shady and borderline-illegal super PACs that Republicans will throw their way.  Sanders can continue to rant and rave against super PACs and their influence but the truth is that they are a necessary evil to mount a serious national campaign in the year 2016.  Just like in Iowa, I'm sure Sanders will "turn a blind eye" to future super PACs should they emerge to support him in places like New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.  So when you call her #Schillary and claim she is someone who has sold out, just remember that the Democratic candidate who spent the most outside money in Iowa in 2016 was a candidate with the last name Sanders, not Clinton. 

Now, I know what you're thinking:  Despite Sanders' little flip-flop he at least has remained a character guy through all these years.  Well, here's something that might shock you:  Hillary Clinton has remained a person of upstanding moral character her entire life.  Let that sink in.  Because what you #BernieBros don't realize is that every time you insult her character and call her untrustworthy and a whole other slew of adjectives I won't repeat in this family-friendly article, you are rewarding 25 years of Republican smears.  Think about it:  What has Hillary Clinton even been convicted of?  As in, a crime.  Go on, I'll give you a second.  Feel free to Google Hillary Clinton and mug shot.  I'll wait.  Are you back?  What did you find?  


You found nothing.  The reason is you're part of a group of faux liberals who have bought the quarter-century smear campaign against Hillary Clinton.  That's what happens when you're a strong-willed, determined woman;  People feel threatened by you and they will do everything in their power to bring you down.  Let me help clear it up for you:  Hillary Clinton is not a criminal.  Whitewater.  Vince Foster.  Benghazi.  Emailgate.  Your own candidate said he doesn't care about those damn emails.  None of those events have yielded one shred of evidence of wrongdoing.  Yet you continue to insist that she did something wrong because you want to believe she's a bad person because that makes it easier for you to dislike and attack her.  

And that's why you little insufferable #BernBros are on the business end of my tongue lashing.  Because you don't respect the political process.  It's not a My-Guy-Versus-Everyone battle, it's a battle of Us.  Versus.  Them.  Each and every time you engage in juvenile attacks against Hillary Clinton a Republican candidate goes on record against marriage equality.  Or climate change.  Or environmental regulations.  Or access to women's health.  Or he votes to repeal Obamacare.  Or he votes against common sense gun legislation.  Or he proposes to appoint Supreme Court justices that will make decisions that will set back this nation for generations.  While all this is going on, you're choosing to degrade the first woman to ever win the Iowa Caucus.  Because you'd rather do that than actually engage in the political process.  While your candidate is out there on the road fighting for you, your attacks against your own party are actually helping Republicans.  By attacking a fellow Democrat you're actually being a #Republicanshill.  Oh, the irony!

I support Secretary Clinton because of her record and because she is one of the most qualified candidates we've ever had run for president in this country.  Hillary Clinton's record of being a pragmatic progressive is exactly what is needed to carry on the legacy of President Barack Obama.  Through decades on Republican-led attacks as well as an 11-hour marathon grilling by the House Select Committee, Hillary Clinton has shown nothing but dignity and grace.  Her vision for this country is promising and realistic and it is the vision that best resonates with the American people.  Bernie Sanders has helped bring a lot of issues to the table during this election, but when all is said and done it is Hillary Clinton who is uniquely positioned at this time and place to truly welcome America to the 21st century by becoming our first female president.  

That is my endorsement.  And if you #BernieBros want to disagree have at it.  God knows you'll end up commenting on this article in record numbers.  But if you want to throw offensive and grotesque comments at Hillary Clinton know this:  She can take it.  She's been taking it for a quarter-century.  She thrives on it.  If you want to echo Republican talking points and continue to be the left's version of Donald Trump supporters, be my guest.  It only shows your ignorance and your inability to engage in intellectual conversation.  If you were a true Bernie supporter instead of putting others down you'd become engaged:  You'd phone bank or volunteer for the campaign.  But that means you'd have to leave the privacy of your own home and face the real world where you'd have to defend your candidate to real, live people and not simply respond to screens of text.  That terrifies you because you know that real people out there will disagree with you and put you on the spot.  They'll bring up your holy candidate's record on things like having voted against the Brady Bill five times.  And when they do, you won't know how to respond.  

So little #Bernbots, that's my challenge to you:  Put up or shut up.  Leave the friendly confines of your own home and actually do some good for once.  Maybe then you'll see that calling a former Secretary of State by derogatory terms isn't the best way to get your point across.  Maybe you'll see that people who disagree with your candidate aren't all part of some mythical "establishment."  Maybe you'll see that people have legitimate concerns about your candidate's single-payer health plan.  Maybe you'll see that people are concerned that your candidate tried to primary a sitting president in 2011.  And, maybe, just maybe, you'll see that people can disagree with your candidate's views but do it in a respectful way that benefits all parties involved.

And should your candidate not win, accept it.  Move on.  Realize that the progressive moment has too much to lose by your sitting home because "your guy" didn't get the nomination and support Hillary Clinton's nomination.  Not because this year was a coronation.  But because she fought for it, just like she's been doing her entire life.  This election will not have been given to her, she will have earned it.  If you can respect that, if you can't deep down in your heart of hearts give credit to a woman who has done so much for her country and still has more left to give, if you can realize that this woman has been brutally attacked for a quarter-century simply for having the last name Clinton, if you can do all that then you can swallow your pride in November and cast a vote for someone who will be leaps and bounds ahead of whoever the Republican Party nominates after his months-long three-ringed circus.  If you truly care about this country the way that you proclaim to do, then you will vote for the Democratic Party nominee for president, regardless of whether it's "your guy" or not.

Will you accept this challenge?


Trevor LaFauci

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