In case you haven’t heard, Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination of the Democratic Party.  He lost, as fairly as one can lose in the existing Democratic primary system.  I can’t feign surprise or sadness. He lost– just as we always, deep down, knew he would. If he had won, all his talk of a rigged system would be moot. Do not be discouraged; we the people still have the power (if we choose to rise up and use it).

Bernie has always said that he cannot and would not make change alone. He far exceeded everyone’s expectations in this election and is still holding the DNC accountable to the message that resonated so loudly for millions of Americans who are tired of being a pawn in a game that’s being won by major corporations who have bought and paid for our government and its officials. I am afraid some of his die hard supporters are missing the forest for the trees.

This isn’t about a political party.  Bernie ran as a Democrat in order to be given a chance to be seen, working within the two party system that we all know isn’t working for us. Bernie is still an independent and so am I. Nothing has changed. The fight must go on. This has never been about a presidential election for me, and it still isn’t. The fight for liberty and justice for all is not over until WE say it is.

All we know now is what we really should have known the whole time: you can’t fix a broken system within the confines of said broken system. It was a valiant effort on Bernie’s part. I hope he continues to be a leader within this movement.

Quite frankly, this gives us an even greater opportunity to reach beyond party lines. It isn’t just so-called liberals who are tired of lobbyists influencing our laws for special interests. It isn’t just “liberals” who care about poverty and finding a way for all Americans to have the opportunity that the American Dream promises. It isn’t just “liberals” who want children to have access to high quality education.

Once we remove these labels and false barriers created by a two party system whose wheels are both greased by the same companies’ pockets, the movement will grow bigger and stronger. How do you keep the people from rising up? You divide them, of course! You make them fight amongst themselves instead of fighting together.

There are more of us. There are more good people who want the best for our society. If there are two ways to go about solving a problem, let’s listen to both. It seems a lot easier to hash that out than to have two groups whose primary interest is keeping themselves rich and in power. Right now, we have leaders who are not accountable to their constituents.

Take an opportunity to find how much you have in common with your neighbor, no matter  their political affiliation. Ask yourself how many media distractions have kept you apart. Are you fed up? Do you know that you’re not getting a fair shake the way the system is run? Do not accept it. Stop voting for the lesser of two evils. You know you’ve done it time and time again. Has anything changed? Republican George W. Bush ran up the deficit with massive spending over his eight years. Then, Democrat president Barrack Obama gets elected, wins the Nobel Peace Prize, and proceeds to expand our nuclear weapons program. Do you really think these guys are taking sides?

Please set aside the 2016 presidential election to think about where you would want to see our country in 4 years. Better yet, ask yourself where you what kind of United States you want to see for the next generations? Do you think any one individual candidate can get us there?

Only WE can do it.

Have you looked at an electoral map lately? Our country is gerrymandered unrecognizably when compared to a geographical map. “The system is rigged” is not merely a catchphrase that sounds good. It is true to the core. The two presumptive candidates for this election have the highest unfavorability (is that a word or did this election make it one?) ratings than at any other time in history.

You may look at that and say ,”We’re further apart than ever.” I look at it and see a historic opportunity! The people are no longer appeased by accepting things the way they are. If this much of the country is actively opposed to the two remaining candidates after whittling it down from over twenty to begin with, something in this process is off kilter. Isn’t voting supposed to give us what we want? Not that which we hate or are perhaps just willing to begrudgingly accept?

I am not a Bernie or Bust person. I am a Democracy or Bust citizen of a country that I still believe can make things right. You may call me an idiotic optimist, but pessimism isn’t worth living for.  So here’s to making America great (for the first time)!