Updated: Apr 10, 2020
By Mark Faulk
This week, we have already mourned the loss of beloved musical icons Bill Withers, who died of heart failure, and John Prine, a victim of COVID-19. This morning, with the country still confused and reeling from a pandemic that has claimed over 86,000 lives worldwide (nearly 13,000 in the U.S. alone), Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for President of the United States.
Over the next few days, the nonstop COVID-19 coverage will be slightly interrupted by the media, Bernie’s ardent supporters, and yes, his detractors, all analyzing his campaign and questioning his decision to withdraw from the fight for the Democratic nomination. Even in defeat, he still urged his supporters to vote in the remaining primaries to garner delegates so that we have leverage to further implement his policies…our policies…into the Democratic and Presidential platforms.
We will mourn the loss of an election, as if the end of his campaign is the end of a dream, of our dreams. In John Lennon’s heart wrenching post-Beatles song God, he lists nearly every movement and its fallen heroes leading up to the end of the ‘60’s, from the Kennedys, Buddha, and the Bible to Elvis and Bob Dylan, and yes, even Jesus and The Beatles, all preceded by the assertion “I don’t believe in…”. But he ends with a profound truth: “And so dear friends, you just have to carry on”.
So, my fellow revolutionaries, do what you have to do to process this epic loss, and yes it is an epic loss for all of America and even for the world. Mourn. Cry. Scream at the injustice of the world. Ponder what might have been. But when you’re done, pick up the shattered pieces of your psyches and dust yourselves off. We just have to carry on.
Sometime soon I will post about an actual dream I had on January 29, 2019, where I was visited by Bernie and Jane Sanders, one month before he announced that he was running for president. It was during a time period where I was practically living in my subconscious, having dreams inside of dreams, waking up from one only to find myself in the middle of what would turn out to be another dream, sometimes on multiple levels.
For now, try to remember that every icon is a mere mortal, someone who carries a message that resonates with a specific generation or demographic, the torchbearer for a dream that rallies dreamers together to, just for a moment, believe in something greater than us. Bernie Sanders just happens to be the mortal who represents, and who will continue to represent, the needs of Americans in this exact moment in history.
For some, he awakened and enlightened us, and gave voice to ideas we had never even dared dream about. For many others, he simply brought to a national stage the things we (and he) had already been screaming from the rooftops for decades. He is the voice of a movement, but he is not the movement itself. His five-year campaign for president was the catalyst for a collective dream, but it is not the only dream, nor is it even the most important one. Yes, the dream of a Bernie Sanders presidency is over, but the movement, the Revolution, lives on. Now is not the time to accept defeat, now is the time to claim our collective power, and truly embrace the Bernie Sanders’ credo: Not Me. Us.