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An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders: ‘No Bernie, It Wasn’t the Russians’

By Teodrose Fikre

Let me preface this open letter of sorts that I’m writing to Senator Bernie Sanders. I’m not penning this missive as though I’m a crestfallen supporter, after falling for the okie doke in 2008 and waking up to the deception of Obama, I decided to stop putting my faith in politicians. Rather, I write this article on behalf of Bernie’s legions of supporters and the millions of Americans who put their faith in someone who spoke against the iniquities that are ravaging our nation and our planet as a whole.

Bernie, it was your decision to speak against this consolidated graft that is cratering society that captured the imagination of the disaffected and gave people hope that their voices could be heard above the cash extortion that dominates our government.

Instead of continuing your rebellion against the establishment and speaking against the corrosive nature of our politics, you are charting a course towards irrelevance by jumping on this cockamamie #Russiagate narrative. Here is what I don’t get about your decision to glom on to this most ridiculous assertion that 12 Russians had more impact on our elections than the the billions of dollars that are spent by corporations and plutocrats to bend elected officials like pretzels. The insinuation the punditry is making is that Americans were duped to vote against their own self-interests because they refused to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Never mind that Hillary was one of the most divisive and disliked politician to run for president in modern American history. Never mind that the DNC essentially rigged the primaries to ensure her victory at your expense. Instead of focusing on the structural and systematic flaws that render our votes irrelevant, fingers are pointed at a manufactured villain halfway around the world in order to distract from the fact that our elections have been hijacked by moneyed interests and entrenched leeches who are sucking the citizenry dry. Whatever efforts Russia might have made to influence our elections were outweighed by a kleptocracy that hacked down our democracy with dark money and self-centered politicians who put their interests above that of the people they purportedly serve.

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You had the following and the prominence to make a dent in this wall of malfeasance that is drowning our governance and exacerbating social inequalities in the process. Sadly, instead of leading a revolution against a most insidious duopoly that has monopolized the ballot boxes and commandeered our government, you chose to cast your lot with the cackling warmonger from Chappaqua who loves Wall Street as much as she craves power.

Instead of defending yourself and standing up for your supporters, you choose to accept this most outrageous narrative and in the process give credence to the lie that people spoke against the establishment in 2016 because they were gullible guppies who were manipulated by Russia. This is not to say that Russia played zero role, I don’t dismiss the fact that Putin tried to sway the outcome of the presidential elections. But this is not news, most countries are continually meddling in the internal affairs of other nations—it’s called geopolitics for a reason. To pretend that what Russia did in 2016 is some new occurrence and claim that it was “unprecedented” is to ignore history and our own government’s role in destabilizing countless countries around the world.

Is access that important to you that you are willing to go along with a lie in order to remain viable in 2020? The time is ripe for a third party as most Americans are fed up with Democrats and Republicans. You had and continue to have a rare chance to truly shake up the establishment and present people a different path forward. Had you summoned the courage in 2016, you could have ran as an independent or as the Green Party’s nominee and had a chance to be president instead of coaxing people to remain in party that is Democratic by brand and marketing only. In the process, you tarnish your own legacy by insinuating that your supporters chose you not because they believed in your message but because they were deluded by Russians.

There are no heroes when it comes to politics. You are proving this theorem right each time you keep latching on to this absurd Russian interference narrative. Either speak up against the excesses of corporations and entrenched groups that are destroying hope for millions of Americans or defend the establishment—you can’t do both. #EtTuBernie

Revolutionaries do not endorse the status quo, true change agents don’t become defenders of the establishment

Author Teodrose Fikre is the founder and editor of the Ghion Journal, and a former defense consultant was profoundly changed by a two year journey of hardship and struggle. Going from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses taught.

An original version of this article was first published at The Ghion Journal.

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