Updated: Jul 2
When I woke up Sunday morning, I checked Twitter. To be fair, I do this every day and in fact spend an average of two and a half hours per day scrolling through the hell site. It is a borderline addiction. The result of clicking on that blue and white bird that morning though, made fueling that addiction worth it for at least one more day. Senator Bernie Sanders won Nevada.
I checked to make sure the Twitterverse wasn’t breaking down into chaos like what happened twenty days prior in Iowa. After seeing a disturbing video of an unhinged Chris Matthews, I was hit with a feeling, one of which has been hard to find since the election of Donald Trump: Hope. (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/23/msnbc-chris-matthews-sanders-nevada-win-nazi-invasion) Chris Matthews is scared. He is terrified of the fact that there is a very likely chance that Bernard Sanders, a 78-year-old Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn has a very real chance to win the Democratic nomination for president.
The candidacy and increasingly likely presidency of Sanders means many things to everyone. To the Michael Bloombergs of the world, it means a fear of losing a couple pennies on the dollar to social programs that will help the country. For the likes of Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd, it means that maybe, they aren’t as liberal as they, or their audiences would like to believe. For many, many more, it is a dream of his policies, policies that will fundamentally change the way this country works, improving the lives of millions of people by improving their healthcare and immigration policies while not turning a blind eye to the extreme danger that is climate change. For me though, it is something else. As much as I love Sanders’ positions, that’s not all. Sanders is Jewish.
First of all, someone’s ethnicity or religious beliefs (or lack thereof) SHOULD NOT MATTER when it comes to selecting a president. Still, being a Jew myself, I cannot help but feel good about a Sanders administration. If he was to win the presidency, he would be the only President who was not raised from a Christian background and only the second modern era president since Kennedy to not be a practicing Protestant. No doubt about it, a Bernie victory would be historic. Still, the significance of this cannot be understated. As hate crimes against Jews have risen just a preposterous amount since Donald Trump’s election, having the country’s most prominent Jew unseat him would be a fantastic comeuppance. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-antisemitism/anti-semitic-attacks-rise-worldwide-in-2018-led-by-us-west-europe-study-idUSKCN1S73M1)
Being a Jew also means Bernie knows the pain of marginalized groups. When I see refugees coming in from disastrous situations in the Middle East or Latin America, I have faith in Sanders’ ability to treat them humanely. Situations like the refugee crises America has faced in recent years remind me of the holocaust when America and other western countries turned away countless Jews leading to their deaths. As a Jew I know Bernie would do the right thing. He himself lost family to the Nazi party (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/18/the-rights-accusations-of-antisemitism-against-sanders-are-cynical-and-dangerous).
Growing up, I faced bullying and countless acts of anti-Semitism. I was quiet about it, never fighting back with words or otherwise. I took it. I had no strong Jewish role models. While I am not religious, I am a Jew. Bernie represents what I and many other young Jews have never had: an American Jew in a position of power. He is feisty, committed, and stands by his convictions.
Bernie represents hope. Hope for a better future, a more inclusive future, a movement based on what many consider Jewish ideals and values. Sanders is inspiring. That much is clear from the massive turnout by minorities in early states such as Nevada. America is coming to terms with the fact that one day very soon, we will have a Jewish President. One that we must all get behind to dethrone the wannabe fascist dictator currently in charge. Oh, what great karma that will be.