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I agree that electing Hillary Clinton will be historic for America, but the message of Bernie Sanders shouldn’t be muted to get there.
Editor’s Note: Vinod Seth, MD, an internist and infectious disease physician has been shareing his thoughts on being both a doctor and a delegate for the Democratic Party. Seth practices in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Dr. SethMy mind, numbed by the intensely bright lights, the terribly noisy arena, and exhaustion from too many late nights just could not take it anymore. On the last day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia before Chelsea and Hillary Clinton spoke, I walked out. Again.
Further reading: Top 13 healthcare quotes from the 2016 DNC
I joined the peaceful protesters at FDR Park. It was 10 p.m. on Thursday (July 28). Helicopters hovered overhead. Police, very professional and polite, were all around. My wife was with me and a fellow North Dakotan.
Lending support to the thousands of young people gathered in the park felt good. To be able to step in the younger generation’s shoes and say, “No, we are not satisfied with the way things are!” reminds us older folks that the ebb and flow of time eventually makes all things dated.
Inside the convention center for four days, speaker after speaker had come to the podium with the same message. We, who had paid to be inside, were in a tightly scripted, made-for-TV event. It was a zoo and we the animals on display.
More from Dr. Seth: Despite Clinton nomination, Bernie's revolution will go on
New signs regularly handed out to us to were waved wildly. You saw that on television. Dissenting signs were strongly discouraged. By the last evening, some were forcibly taken away. Delegate credentials were threatened. In the New York delegation, one person was reportedly taken away and another delegate was ejected.
Heterosexual women and men, those who are LGBTQ, as well as priests, soldiers, elected officials, moms, dads and even kids all came to speak to you via TV. And to us. The theme was the same. Each spoke to us about how bad Donald Trump would be for America. If anything else of import was said I am sorry, my numbed brain missed it. And I agree, electing Hillary Clinton would be a historic moment for America.
By Thursday night, I felt like the trauma surgeon in the operating room 24 hours into one of America's frequent mass shootings. I decided to leave early, taking the train to a stop away from the convention center and doubling back, walking the dark deserted streets a 1/2 mile to reach FDR Park, fenced off from the Wells Fargo arena.
Tuesday night was historic with the first woman candidate for president nominated-just in time for the evening news.
It was at that very moment we Bernie Sanders supporters walked out en masse. Over a thousand of us joined the walkout. A few hundred were able to get inside the media tent before police locked it. The other Berners milled about just outside. A nearly three-minute video confirming the huge numbers of empty seats in the arena was taken by Josh Fox, a filmmaker. Find it on YouTube. Please advance video to 1:10 minute mark for best view of the empty arena.
To understand this walkout you have to understand the Berners. Our North Dakota delegation demographics are illustrative. Of the 14, only four were over 35 years old, one was just 19, four were people of color and four were LGBTQ. The vast majority of these had to utilize a GoFundMe campaign to cover the more than $3,000 it cost to attend.
They had passionately worked heart and soul for Bernie. His vision had clearly excited a younger generation of first time voters. Very informed via social media, they were upset by the voter suppression and downright bias of the DNC disclosed by the latest leaked emails.
Despite 15,000 reporters all over the event and intense security, these millennials had managed to keep their protest, which everyone was expecting, to be a secret. During this media occupation, hundreds of interviews were recorded and posted to social media.
In my blog last Wednesday, I had written that Bernie’s revolution will go on.
It will, because of the sincere commitment of this younger generation in Philadelphia.
It will, because many thousands braved the horrible heat and humidity in Philadelphia and marched passionately for an America that had left them behind.
It will, because this emerging majority will not be silent anymore and America’s prosperity shall be shared equitably across all colors, all genders.
They will not be quiet until guns are controlled.
They will not be quiet until the criminal justice system is reformed.
They will not be quiet until a new FDR-style “New Deal” creates prosperity for all in America.
We need to engage them soon.
Or the Trumps will win.
Not just in America, but worldwide.