Monday, April 18, 2016 at 2:39PM
Tom Hayden
I have long avoided the vipers who infect our internet, the latest being those trying to defame and intimidate anyone who questions Bernie's campaign. I don’t mean the large numbers of Bernie supporters who are working hard and constructively, but it getting so bad that Bernie himself has had to apologize for Paul Song’s attack on “corporate Democratic whores". The story is spreading into the national news and hurting Bernie’s campaign. See the LA Times' piece from April 15, for example.
To balance the situation a bit, here are only some of the messages I've received over the past 2 days.
This is a terrific piece Tom.  Very thoughtful, balanced, well informed, wide-ranging on issues that matter.  Your discussion of the Port Huron history and "part of the way with LBJ" is fascinating and directly relevant -- your efforts at that time not to demonize liberals, as is too often the case when the left attacks itself or its allies for not being on the same tactical page.  Your central.point about uniting rather than factionalizing is exactly right, and anyone who forgets that -- refusing to vote for the Democratic Party winner -- should be ashamed of themselves given the intoletable alternative on the other side in the general, whether it's trump, cruz, ryan, or any other.on the Republican list of nuts.
I was disappointed in how superficial Bernie's discussion of climate change was in last night's Brooklyn debate.  He seemed not to have any understanding of how important the Clean Power Plan is or the Paris Agreement, and how hard that progress has been to achieve.  Maybe that's just politics, but it makes him seem uninformed, and I worry he's less substantive than I had thought.  He's always voted the right way on the environment, so I'm not too worried. And he is dead right on the economic issues. But his gun stance makes no sense, even if long ago he  opposed assault weapons.
Anyway, thanks fot the excellent piece.  I'm going to send it around.
All the best,
Joel
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I agree completely with your piece on Bernie and Hillary. I support Bernie, but some of his ideas would be hard to implement given Republican intransigence in Congress. Hillary may be the only answer. Ted

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Thought-provoking and compelling as always, Tom.  I'm sure going to have to look at things hard between now and June. 

Best, Tom 

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Thoughtful, informed, wise, and brave. You will be attacked, but that's nothing new for you. Thank you very for this contribution.

Sincerely, Jim

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Tom:  This is a great piece that I think will have an important impact.  Thanks so much for your clear thinking and consistent values.  Vivian Rothstein

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Thanks Tom.  I agree and hope your words carry their usual weight with your many readers.  All the best. Ruth

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Thank you thank you thank you!!

We live in Topanga, and have met you several times...in fact you were at our home after the fund raiser we produced for IRC at the Theatricum a few years ago...up on Observation Drive overlooking the state park...I believe that Ron Kovic was at that gathering as well.

It's been difficult to have a dialogue with the Bernie supporters in the Canyon...they just become angry, say I want the "status quo" and that they will "never" vote for Secretary Clinton.  These are also individuals who've never read her books or understand her personal/political history. 

I'm hopeful that your thoughtful and informative treatise might persuade some persons to rethink what seems to be a kind of political rigidity, and work toward getting a Democrat elected, even if it isn't Senator Sanders... Hillary is, after all is said and done, the most viable candidate... and yes, "back in the day" I, like many of my friends, voted for McGovern....now we're more pragmatic...

I will post your message on my FB and send it to other friends as well...

With best wishes, and gratitude for your lifetime of hard work..

Susan & John 

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Tom

Your article in The Nation (which I just received from you) is a wonderful piece and very important for many people to see.  I have sent it to family members and friends, especially those living in California and NY.  I have struggled with both Bernie and Hillary and have come out where you are.  Your analysis and your clear statement about your life's work are a very powerful statement.  Thanks.

I noticed in the article that you stated you had a significant stroke.  How are you doing?

Hope al is well.  And again, thanks for your great piece.

Al

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Dear Tom (I hope this gets to you), 

I read your article in The Nation about you switching from Sanders to Clinton, and the reasons behind it. I couldn’t agree more.

I consider myself as liberal/progressive as anyone – having spent a year in jail in the 60s for my opposition to the Vietnam War, and continuing to support a more just and rational society though political participation in the Democratic Party.

But, unlike many on the left, I feel I recognize the limitations of our political process that is built into the system. I’ve exchanged emails with Noam Chomsky about this, during the Ralph Nader runs – a hopeless and destructive effort that only resulted in electing Bush (twice).

I’ve tried to encourage those who feel the two political parties to be the same to wake up and look at the real results of policies and the effects on the majority of Americans. As Chomsky says in his film, Manufacturing Consent, the two parties represent a small but powerful slice of the possible political spectrum – with the common goal of perpetuating their grip on power. BUT, there is a difference that is quite real, that has a real impact on the poor, disenfranchised, and powerless.

Chomsky encouraged his followers to vote for Gore (and then Kerry) instead of Nader, in states where it was close. It’s fine to make a point with your vote, but it shouldn’t be a suicide mission. From my point of view Nader, and now Bernie, would not make a good president, for all the reasons you list – they would have to work with Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress to actually get anything done. A hopeless expectation, in my opinion.

I wish Bernie’s supporters would take all their energy and actually get involved with the Democratic Party, at the local, county, and state levels. Only then can there be real change within the party. It won’t happen by an outsider kicking in the door. For years I was a board member of our local Dem Party organization – President and VP during the 2008 and 2012 elections.

The Tea Party actually showed the way to do it. They didn’t like the Republican Party, so they got involved at all levels and took it to a new (and horrific) direction. I saw up close here in San Diego County how they had organized to run for school boards, judgeships, county supervisors, and got some of the worst elected to the House (Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa, etc.), even though Dems outnumber Reps here. They are just more determined and disciplined.

I feel like the message has to be: Liberals – grow up and get involved; don’t just complain every 4 years. Do the real work of democracy from within the Party.

Thank you for all your efforts for the various causes.

Best,

Jon

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Thank you Tom for sharing your insights and analysis.  I personally feel pulled in both directions, intellectually and emotionally.  I can only say that I hope we can unify the democratic forces needed to defeat the Republicans following the convention.  I will have no problem supporting the Democratic nominee.

Again and always, thank you so much for your lifetime of dedication, thoughtful analysis, strategic proposals, organizing and persistent hard work to creating a more democratic and just world.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Dan

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Thank you, Tom.

This is the most articulate, thoughtful piece I've seen so far from someone on "the left" outlining their decision making process. 

Much appreciated,

Diane

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Thank you, Tom.

Well thought out, all the way through.

Garry

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Thanks for sending me your periodic postings which I always enjoy, but thanks especially for your most recent mailing in which you carefully and succinctly explain your shift in support from Bernie to Hillary. 

You’ve really helped to clarify my stance in regard to each of them, and while I continue to have deep respect for Bernie’s positions, perspectives and proposed policies (how’s that for alliteration?) I am deeply appreciative of your words that have helped me to reconsider and shift my support from Bernie to Hillary.

Even as I write this I feel a sense of betrayal to Bernie who has long been a hero of mine since long before the current electoral cycle. Yet your points are compelling, so much so that I find that I can no longer  go with Bernie, for many of the reasons that you stated. I also see that there are, ironically some similarities between Bernie and Trump, not in their values or the content of their positions, but in their failure (much moreso on Trump’s part than Bernie’s) to provide adequate, realistic, and practical details in regard to the enactment of their proposed changes that they claim to have the means to make. Your essay illuminates many of the concerns that I have had but haven’t clearly recognized within myself, until I read your words.

Thank you for the thought and time that you put into sending out this very important message. I intend to pass on to my friends who I think will similarly benefit to your enlightening words.

And thanks also for the good work that tho continue to do. We need it now more than ever!

In peace,

Charlie

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Tom,

Eloquent, powerful, beautiful as always. I'll share widely as possible your perfect statement at this crucial moment.

Alan

Well thought out.

Your guidance, I find, is indispensable for my own direction.

Roger

Much as I hate to admit it, Tom is right as usual. Very worth reading. - Jerry

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Tom -- Can't quite believe I'm saying this, but good for you.  To take this stand at this time takes guts and it's clear it didn't come easily. 

Thanks for being the grown-up in the room!

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I feel the same way, Tom.  Point by point.  Extremely well expressed, as always. Celeste

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Thank you so much.  I have supported the Sanders campaign financially, but have also decided to vote for Clinton.  Your thoughtful piece anchors my decision. Carolyn

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Thank you. Great piece. Am sharing widely.

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