OPINION by Ed McKeon
(This is the opinion of the author, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Middletown Eye editorial staff, or any of its contributors). The Democratic and Republican primaries in Connecticut are tomorrow, Tuesday April 26, and for once, Connecticut voters will have the opportunity to make a difference.
Until I became the old crank. And I say that with some pride. The way I look at it, if you don't abandon your ideals, you're bound to become a crank because, year after year, you will find the things that make most sense - peace, justice, equality, dignity, kindness - are ground into the dirt by every wave of leader thrown up (pun intended) as our best shot for stepping through this wicked world. With those kinds of leaders, inevitably, we step in something we've got to wipe from our shoes.
In all my years of voting, I've backed a lot of losers with high ideals.
And now I have the opportunity to vote for another old crank, and I intend to take that opportunity. I refuse to vote for the safe bet. I refuse to vote for the status quo. I refuse to vote (at this point at least), to prevent the worst guy on the other side from winning.
As an old crank, I hope I'm voting for a winner.
I refuse to let practicality get in my way when it comes to voting, particularly in a primary.
I will be voting for another old crank, Bernie Sanders.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because, he isn't perfect, but he's held onto, and stood up for, worthwhile ideals for his entire political career, and he's been consistent in doing so.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders, because, although I don't normally like career politicians, I see him as a career politician of a different stripe. He's learned how to make compromises to get things done without abandoning what he really believes in.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he says what's on his mind, even if it's unpopular, and because he's saying a lot of unpopular things that have suddenly resonated with a lot of people as making sense. Can you believe he's running as a Democratic Socialist when for sixty years in this country the word "socialist" has been a curse that every politician has run from as if it were a rabid dog. Finally, he's saying these unpopular things not to pander to some base hatred or bigotry, as Donald Trump is, but because as unpopular as peace, love and understanding is, he believes in them.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he understands the need to get big money out of politics, and he's demonstrated that it's possible.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he understands the two-party system is unrepresentative and broken, and needs to be fixed to let outsiders in.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he understands climate change is proven science, and that we cannot conveniently ignore science because it means we'll get a campaign contribution from big oil, or get a few dollars knocked off our home heating bill.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he didn't support the misadventure in Iraq, and because he's less likely to want to send my sons, and your daughters to run off and fight a dirty war for Halliburton. And because, if it's necessary to fight, that he will work to care for those who sacrifice life, limb and sanity for this country.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he believes we need to spend less on the war machine, and favors for big corporations, and more on schools, mental health and healthcare for all.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because he believes in, and has demonstrably fought for equality no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation or financial status.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because when he talks, I find myself agreeing, point after point after point.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders because I stood with 14,000 other like-minded people on the New Haven Green, Sunday, and sensed a common bond and a sense that everyone in that crowd would be willing to sacrifice to help the person standing next to him or her. I stood in a line that was at least a quarter mile long, and did not see one person try to cut in line, or take advantage of someone else.
I will vote for Bernie Sanders, because he is an old crank. And like all old cranks, he says "enough is enough," because, frankly, enough is enough.