Guest post from Dylan Funk
I keep hearing the two major camps in the Democratic Party, the Clinton supporters and the Sanders supporters, say that the opposing camp needs to apologize to the other. The question I have is, “apologize for what?” From my point of view, both camps were fighting for the same cause, they were just fighting in different ways.
Let me start off by saying that I was, and still am, a supporter of Senator Sanders, even though I ultimately voted for Secretary Clinton. I was a life-long Independent that did the research and voted the issues, not the party, until this election cycle. I started off supporting Secretary Clinton until Senator Sanders announced his campaign. After researching what Senator Sanders would campaign on, I switched to a Democrat so I could caucus for Senator Sanders.
Once Secretary Clinton won the nomination, I was not one of the members of the #DemExit movement. I decided to stay in the Democratic Party to invoke progressive changes and reform our party into what it used to stand for; fighting for the average American. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” The only way I saw to do this was to get involved. I am currently the Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus, a member of the Iowa State, Congressional District 3 and Polk County Central Committees and a member of the Ankeny Democrats. After Secretary Clinton won the Democratic Nomination, I spent the rest of the campaign attending Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Donald Trump rallies working to sway people to our down ballot candidates.
Even though Secretary Clinton was not my ideal candidate, I saw her as a far better candidate then Donald J. Trump. I may not share the same vision for how we move forward, but Secretary Clinton has the experience and the overall vision of what we need to do to make our country better for all Americans, not just Corporate America. In my view and from the research I did on Mr. Trump, he will do what benefits him, not America. This is why I voted for Secretary Clinton.
I think a lot of the animosity between the two camps occurred after the primaries when former Secretary Clinton won the nomination over Senator Sanders. Secretary Clinton’s supporters were viewed as people that have been in the Democratic Party for many years (Old Guard), while Senator Sanders’ supporters were viewed as petulant Millennials with a chip on their shoulder that registered as Democrats for the soul purpose of caucusing for Senator Sanders (New Guard). While there may be a little truth on both sides, I think that if we sat down and debated the issues, we would find that we have a lot of common ground that we can build upon, we just have different ideas of how to accomplish these ideas.
Each side expecting an apology before we can move forward will accomplish nothing, as neither side believes they have anything to apologize for. Instead, I believe that both groups should learn from each other. The Old Guard has a lot of experience and knowledge within the Democratic Party that they can impart on the New Guard. At the same time, the New Guard has a lot of fresh ideas that the Old Guard can help focus to accomplish our shared vision of where the Democratic Party needs to move towards. None of this can be accomplished if all we can do is continue the division between the Old Guard and the New Guard. To quote Crystal Defatte, “We will need to find common ground, stop accusing each other of always being the problem, and stop trying to push each other out. We need to unify to win. We’re already unified in our losses.”
I have the unique perspective of being a person that has been on all sides of the fence. I have viewed politics from both inside and outside the Democratic Party. My family is mostly Democrats with some Republicans peppered in. I have had the opportunity to discuss politics with Democrats, Republicans and Independents (and other 3rd Party members). I can see the common ground and the division between the different parties.
Other than the perception of the Clinton supporters and the Sanders supporters, there really isn’t much division between us on the core issues, we just need to set down and exchange our differing ideas on out to accomplish them. If an apology is truly what it will take to unify the party so we can move on to fighting to reclaim our government, I would like to go on record and apologize to both camps. We must move past this so we can move on to rebuilding our party.
by Dylan Funk