Guest op-ed from Adam Kenworthy, a Des Moines attorney.
All pivotal movements in our nation’s history draw from the principles enshrined in the very first line of our founding document that reads: “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union … ”
This concept is not one meant to outline a final destination, but to inspire a continuing journey. Our job is not to eventually form “the perfect union,” because there is no such thing, but to work together for greater dignity and equality, toward a vision of a more democratic society.
This sentiment is embodied fully in Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign motto: not me, us. Sanders, and the movement supporting him, understands that we must now organize, mobilize, and empower each other in order to move democracy forward. From voting rights, to economic and racial justice, Bernie’s campaign is about working toward the vision of a more perfect union.
The historical struggle for greater democratic control has always been met with the opposing forces of fear, greed, and oppression. We know this. And we know progress is never achieved without a fight. The forces that oppose real change tell us that we do not deserve more, are not worth more, and will be punished if we consider trying to push for greater freedom and equality. This is not new.
Bernie knows this, and that is why he has made his campaign about the empowerment of working people. This campaign is about all of us who volunteer and work for the values of democracy and the project of building a more perfect union.
We support Bernie’s campaign because we know we must harness our collective power. We realize that there is no one person who can steer this ship back on course, because this ship can only be righted when all of us pick up an oar and row together with our collective strength.
If you believe that your workplace should be committed to democracy, to valuing you as an equal voice, and respecting your right to unionize so you cannot be exploited, then you are part of this movement.
If you believe that the health of your family and of your neighbors is a fundamental right, regardless of if it makes someone a profit, then you are part of this movement.
If you believe that the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom fully embodies the promise of this nation that we must now work to fulfill, then you are part of this movement.
If you are for empowerment over salesmanship, for dignity over division, for the power of struggle over the promises of quick fixes, then you are part of this movement.
To achieve our policy goals, we must first build our committed democratic collective movement. Real politics is about real people taking hold of their rightful place within this system, and putting pressure on those in power to act in our collective interest.
We cannot be distracted by this notion of politics as reality television. We have to break out. We have to do the work, the person to person task of building strength through shared purpose and commitment.
It starts here in Iowa.
We, the people, must stand up and demand that the voices of everyday citizens are heard. Your voice matters in this process, in helping to build a true coalition of working people.
Bernie Sanders knows this, and that is why I and so many others around this country support him. We know he has a vision for transformational change and true empowerment. We know that this movement is about the future, about the promise of building our more perfect union, together.
We can do this. We the people. You, me, us.
By Adam Kenworthy