First, he taught me to not underestimate him. I had followed his FB page for a couple of years, but I NEVER imagined he would run for President!
Next, as the Primaries ramped up, he taught me that my cynicism about our political system, while not unwarranted, was holding me back. His wins, ties, and campaign crowds showed me that at least some some of my cynicism was wasted energy.
Then, as the primaries continued, through close attention to internet/radio/TV information (both sources from within the U.S., and, necessarily, from without), relating to the campaign, it became abundantly clear that all that 'wooly-footed conspiracy crap' about media bias and propaganda...began to become a reality for me and not just a 'shrugged-shoulders' issue.
Once I made the leap to realizing the agenda the media was supporting, watching the Primaries themselves unfold revealed more of the sketchy connections between the DNC, Mainstream Media, and Corporate America. While I realize that we, 'the People,' allowed most of the rules, policies, procedures, and laws that make the system what it is, that WE allowed this to happen, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the heavy finger of the DNC WAS on the scale, and the bias of reporting DID favor certain candidates over others, and Corporate America funneled the $ where it was needed to favor their Corporate-minded candidate. I would have known these things in the back of my head, but never felt the rage and frustration of their influence on my life, without the Bernie Sanders campaign, and his supporters.
Even with the 'Forces of Evil' arrayed against us, another lesson from the Sanders campaign showed me I was not alone. Watching the crowds at Sanders rallies showed me that there were hundreds of thousands of Americans that felt the same way, in the most general and simple and important ways, as I did!!! This alone I would be eternally grateful to Bernie Sanders for. Before, I was increasingly becoming estranged from many fellow Americans, mostly because I didn't like who we were becoming. Now I know there are many of us who will fight to insure America really does become the Land of the Free, the Land it hasn't been so far.
Despite all of these lessons, I was distraught after the California primaries. Unsure of where the political whirlwind would whisk us to, I began to despair. Then, yesterday, I was aghast as Bernie Sanders endorsed...her.
Today, Bernie has taught me another lesson. Even when you've been treated unfairly...even when the majority of people seem to be with you...even when you KNOW you're right...even when millions shower you with with love and praise...even when so many plead with you to do as they wish....WALK WITH HUMILITY. While I was wringing my hands because he wasn't going to be President, Bernie made sure young people throughout America could go to college tuition-free.
While I was fuming that the media had built Trump and denied MY candidate, Bernie Sanders was making sure healthcare coverage would be available to millions more.
While I was stamping my feet that my fellow Americans were supporting a probable-crook and a Fascist, Bernie Sanders was making sure that true Liberal policies were being considered for the Democratic Convention platform.
Now that the rigged-system has beaten our candidate,
I will watch the Convention to see if there are any 1932-ish surprises,
I will leave the DNC the day after the Convention is over,
I will vote on Nov. 8th with a heavy heart no matter WHO I end up voting for (probably Jill Stein, or write-in Bernie in protest),
I will watch the careers of Tulsi Gabbard and Nina Turner and cheer them on if they continue in public service....
...and I will look to the future of America with hope and confidence for the first time in decades, because all of those millions of Millennial Bernie Sanders supporters mean we have a bright future in America, not just a rehashed past.
Bernie Sanders taught me to hope again. Especially when it seems hopeless.