The temptation in campaigns is to vilify those we do not support and I fall victim to that myself sometimes too.
Primary elections often times become difficult and acrimonious even when the candidates involved share many of the same principles and values. Now #ImWithHer. She's qualified. Hillary Clinton will continue the work of Barack Obama, and that is of vital importance.
For many, that isn't enough. I'm one of those that want change to come quickly but I also have nearly 30 years of experience working for social justice and recognize that change is a process. Sometimes we can move forward in unexpected ways when we are ready to seize the initiative and push justice-centered agendas forward. Just consider how quickly we advanced the cause of marriage equality in this nation. Still, a president has to create coalitions to pass legislation in the Congress and work with the courts.
I also recognize that the formal political process, the passing of legislation and such, is only one venue to advance the cause of social justice.
Bernie Sanders is a man of good moral character. As I've said before, I believe in many of the principles that he articulates. His focus on economic inequality can only make the nation a more fair and equal place.
The reality is that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both good and decent individuals who share a progressive agenda for making America a better nation. I don't agree with Bernie Sanders on every issue and it is fair to say so. Some of you may be critical of particular policy stances that Hillary Clinton has taken and that is fair. I don't agree with her on every issue - and I support her. When people find a candidate that they agree with 100% of the time it concerns me. A cult of personality develops. Donald Trump is the ultimate example of that in this election cycle as his followers uncritically support his every statement.
So my hope is that as the New York primary approaches that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and their supporters can move back to a more issue oriented campaign. We need to stop this nonsense talk about whether or not Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president. She is. And what progressive could argue that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump would make a better president than Bernie Sanders?
Debate the important issues. That is what a primary is for. But let's stand down with these personal attacks. Progressives need to remember that our ultimate goal is having a strong candidate to face either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in November. These two don't share our basic values. They have campaigned on division. They have a campaigned on religious bigotry. Their campaigns have been truly sexist and racist. It would be disastrous to have either as president.
Progressives still have the opportunity to show the nation, and demonstrate to the world, that our democratic election can be a process where ideas are debated with our nation's highest ideals in mind.
In the end, an election is not about candidates or political parties. Elections are about the common good of a nation. We are not doing as well today as we need to be. Despite the enormous progress since the Great Recession of 2008 when the economy collapsed under the leadership of President George W. Bush, too many people are still hurting. Elections are about the common good. About how to make life better for us all. Let's focus on that, campaign for the candidates we believe in, but do so in a positive spirit the lifts the nation up and offers hope.
- Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie
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