Are you one of those people who still uses “Bernie Bros” in your political discourse to score points against Bernie Sanders and his supporters?
If so, this article is for you.
If not, this article is also for you. Why? Because you clicked on the headline, silly.
In all seriousness, maybe you clicked on it because you are like me, and you are as tired of this BS meme as I am. And you are looking for an article to share that spells out why it is a BS meme. I hope I can live up to that lofty expectation!
Defeating the Bernie Bros Meme with Facts (Head-Based Argument)
Sometimes to defeat a meme, all it takes is a tiny bit of research.
Here’s what I did: I went with the countering perspective to the meme and did a search for “Bernie Bros is a Myth.”
And found several articles from a variety of outlets showing why it is a myth. Some were editorials, and some were news articles from last summer, such as this one, that relied on data from the PEW Research Center (photo below) that shows statistically why it is a myth.
In fact, Bernie Sanders supporters are more female and less white than any of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Below is the graph offering evidence of this. Take a look at it. And if, after doing so, you still want to use the “Bernie Bros” pejorative, I will appeal to your emotions to ask you to stop.
Defeating the Bernie Bros Myth with Emotion (Heart-Based Appeal)
Before I open my heart, I want to share my history with Bernie.
I was a recent college graduate in 1995 when I first heard him. He was being interviewed on Democracy Now! on KPFK radio in Los Angeles. I remember being impressed not only with his intelligence, but with the way he spoke the language of the heart. I could use my own heart-language (emotion and intuition) and understand that he actually cared about people.
So I started watching him. He made some appearances over the ensuing years but mostly was in the background. Then, I remember in winter 2002–3 seeing him as an outspoken critic of the Iraq War. Good for him!
In this October 9, 2002 speech he gave outlining why he would vote against the resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to invade Iraq, Sanders said:
“I have not heard any estimates of how many young American men and women might die in such a war, or how many tens of thousands of women and children in Iraq might also be killed. As a caring nation, we should do everything we can to prevent the horrible suffering that a war will cause. War must be the last resort of international relations, not the first.” — Bernie Sanders, 10/9/2002
You see that? He is appealing to our hearts, speaking of our need to be a “caring nation.” Not the sort of language a misogynist uses, nor the sort of language misogynist supporters might rally around, is it?
But I said I was going to use an appeal to the heart. And I will. I just wanted to bring up these things to not only show why I support Bernie Sanders, but also to show how long I’ve been doing so. It never had anything to do with opposition to Hillary Clinton. It was and always will be about being pro-Bernie.
And if you don’t believe me on my timeline, well, the best I can do is offer a screenshot of a Facebook post from 2010 (on the left). There, in a post I wrote about a letter I wrote to then Washington state representative Norm Dicks and a pro-military vote he made, I wrote, “We need more guys like Bernie Sanders!”
Point is, I am an unabashed long-time fan of Bernie Sanders because of his principles. It has nothing to do with his identity, or with being anti- any candidate because of their identity.
I am a person who tends to find our exterior identities to be a rather shallow thing, certainly not something to judge a person by. I appreciate all of our diversity and am basically a lover of the human family.
What I don’t like, though, is when people use identity politics as weapons. And in 2016, I felt the sting of those weapons when female friends, mostly people who were women I hadn’t met in person, suddenly started calling me a misogynist merely because I supported Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
I told them over and over why I supported him — his principles and his policies (universal health care, anti-interventionalism, opposition to the Drug War, opposing bailouts for the Big Banks and wanting to go after Wall Street, opposition to neoliberal free trade agreements) — and I argued that these policies would be better for women than Hillary’s would.
Yet in spite of all that, I still heard this refrain: You just have trouble with women in power. You hate women.
Ask my mom, my grandmother, my daughter, my wife, the female teachers I’ve worked with over the years, the female students I’ve taught, etc., etc. Ask them if I ever gave the impression I hate women. I don’t think anybody ever would answer, “Yes.”
Call Me Crazy, Just Don’t Hate Me
I’ve got a friend who is a hardcore atheist. I’m not. I believe that we are all aspects of God who have incarnated as humans and one of the rules of this reality is we forget this when we are born and we are seeking to remember it. But I like to let people have their beliefs, even if they conflict with mine.
Anyway, sometimes my friend and I will argue about these things. But this friend told me recently he loved me and he told another friend, “Bryan’s a lover. He’s crazy as Hell, but he’s a lover.”
That felt good to hear. I don’t mind if you call my ideas crazy. But whatever you do, don’t impugn my heart. And consider that strategy when engaging with others in the political arena: attack the ideas, not the person.
For now, if you’ve read this far, hopefully if you were a user of “Bernie Bros,” you’ll now consider dropping that from your tool box.
Next, if you support someone besides Bernie Sanders, fine. Just tell me why (or link to an article you wrote telling me why). Tell me why your candidate would be a better president than Bernie would. Get passionate. Tell me what’s wrong with Bernie. Just don’t make accusations about me (or other supporters of other candidates), especially when you’ve never met me.
I have one rule on my personal Facebook page: Treat everyone with respect. I have friends from all over the political spectrum. All walks of life. Occasionally, someone will violate that rule. But mostly, we are able to talk about all sorts of stuff and get passionate about it without insulting the other person.
I’d like to think that the Democratic side of the aisle is better at these sorts of interpersonal relationship skills than the Republicans. Am I wrong to think that?
You tell me. Let me know in the comments. And thanks for reading.