I Felt The Bern — Now I’m Heartbroken He Endorsed Hillary

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Elle Neubert is a staff member in Refinery29's Los Angeles office. The views expressed here are her own.

I went to my first political rally ever earlier this year. Up to that point, I never really thought that I would be that interested in politics. But I was so inspired by Bernie Sanders that I felt compelled to attend. And I was blown away by what I experienced.

I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. It felt like the system was finally about to change — that I could make a difference by voting for him. We had someone to lead us. We were organized, and we knew what to do. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we were ready. We would go all the way to the convention if we needed to. We were told that together we could win, that the revolution was here. We were ready to see democracy in action. That is why watching Sanders endorse former rival Hillary Clinton was so disheartening. This fight is over. We aren’t going to Philadelphia for a contested convention. We won’t be able to vote Bernie for president in November. We thought that we were in it to win it, in it for the long haul, but our hopeful stepped down and stood behind someone else. And now we are being told to vote for her, not him. It’s upsetting, in part because it feels so unexpected, but also because it feels so abrupt. Just a few weeks ago — even after Clinton secured enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee — the Vermont senator hosted a livestream reassuring us that he was still in the race. And now he is out.

You won’t always win but that doesn’t mean that the cause that you believe in is lost.

That being said, my hand will not be forced when I vote this November. I won’t vote for Hillary out of fear of Donald Trump or because Bernie Sanders endorsed her. I won’t vote for someone just because she is a woman, for someone who I believe blatantly lies and who changes her views on the issues when it suits her agenda. This year, I will vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presumptive nominee. I know that it isn’t likely that she will win — it wasn’t likely that Sanders would win either. But if I have learned anything from today, it is that it isn’t always about winning. We don’t need to fall in line or help to unify a party, but we do need to push for positive change and progress. My hope for today is that all of those who were inspired by Sanders decide to run for office themselves, to make a change in their communities, and to fight for their beliefs. That we will all carry on that torch. You won’t always win, but that doesn’t mean that the cause that you believe in is lost. You have to push forward — sometimes against the odds — even if it is to inspire someone else to action. Sanders conceded today, but he inspired so many people around the world — including me.

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