Once upon a time I was a woman obsessed with Bernie Sanders. I had a Bernie Sanders poster in my window, and I had stickers and buttons galore. I went and spoke for him at my local caucus and was thrilled to move on to caucus for him at the district level.
I could go on and on about why I felt such single-minded devotion to this grandfather-like character, but the reality is that my devotion is in the past. As bitter as Bernie’s loss felt, I’m faced with a much larger issue, an issue that overshadows any of my previous feelings: What the hell is going on, America?
Ignoring the fact that we let a real-life, bird-speaking, elderly Disney Princess slip through our fingers, why is there an orange-flavored megalomaniac standing across from the person who I used to view as the enemy? When did this change from a race between real people to a choice of whether we should give nuclear bombs to a candidate with a controversial past or to a racist, sexist bully of a candidate with no impulse control?
I feel like I came out from the hole I’d buried myself in to mourn the passing of my 2016 Bernie Sanders for president dreams and found people calmly weighing the pros and cons of choosing between Mrs. Not Always Honest and Mr. Absolutely Insane.
Am I missing something?
When Hillary Clinton beat my beloved Bernie Sanders, at least there was no fear she would try to grope the first female foreign leader she came across as president. At least there was no need to worry whether she would make a hasty decision and start a war to prove the size of her hands. At least this was a real person whose main claim to presidential responsibility was more than a reality TV show and a few failed businesses.
How does a tax evader, bully and known sexual assaulter still have a 40 percent approval rating, according to Quinnipiac University? Why do I still hear “At least he isn’t Clinton” when only one candidate in this race is known for going on air and making fun of people for their weight, their gender, their disabilities and countless other things that make a convenient target for his ridicule?
As much as I would have loved to be led by a dapper, kindly older gentleman, I would hate even more to be led by Hitler reincarnated with a permanent head cold.
I watched the presidential debate this Sunday in a state of permanent WTF?, an emotional state that was developed specifically for situations like the 2016 presidential race. At one point, with all of Trump’s constant interruptions and snide comments, he began to resemble a 12-year-old boy mumbling insults under his breath and crying that Mommy didn’t give him as much time with his toys as someone else.
Did I fall asleep and wake up in some alternate universe where pettiness, meanness and overall creepiness make for a good president? Did the apocalypse occur while I was taking an afternoon nap?
I don’t know about anyone else, but after the tape released last week, I’m getting ready to join the other crazies and start stocking an underground bunker full of cans of food and Donald Trump repellent.
Are my fellow Berners as freaked out as I am right now? I sure hope so, because there’s a real chance we’ll have a president who thinks adequate “locker-room” talk includes plans for sexual assault. We’ll have a president who seems actually incapable of answering the questions given to him at debates. We’ll have a president who thinks the best measure of a woman’s worth is a single number between one and 10.
What’s a Berner to do? Run screaming to a voting booth and ensure America doesn’t turn into a dictatorship led by a Cheetos puff whose foreign policy experience and knowledge of the country in general stem from the locations of his more profitable business ventures.
It’s time to pack away our Bernie stickers and bid a tearful farewell to the presidential love affair that couldn’t be. It’s time to let go of our summer fling, fellow Berners, because winter is coming and November’s not looking pretty.
Dominique Kent studies English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.