An Open Letter to Bernie


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Thread: An Open Letter to Bernie

  1. #1

    An Open Letter to Bernie

    It’s been a long, strange trip. Am I right?
    You surely made your mark, even if your career has not followed what some consider to be a "traditional" path. You stuck to your ideals, and often it has cost you politically. Your independence has been a breath of fresh air in a political environment chocking with stale ideas and inane rhetoric.
    Your passion has driven you to this point. But I'm worried that the same passion may be clouding your judgement. If you truly want a new direction for America, and want Trump out of office, you must perform one final selfless act: Drop out.

    I’m really hoping this isn’t some pride thing, but perhaps you truly believe that you are the best person to lead our country. Maybe you are. Unfortunately, whether or not you should be President is irrelevant at this point. You had the nomination stolen from you in 2016. We already have one sore loser, who has contributed to the divisions in our great nation. You took the loss like an adult in ’16. Don’t repeat her mistake.

    We know why you need to step down now. Your age has been a lingering issue throughout this campaign. But now with your latest health issues, your longevity can’t be taken for granted by anyone. You looked good in your last debate. But “good” won’t be enough to defeat Donald Trump. In contrast, Elizabeth Warren has been energetic and fiery throughout the entire campaign. No offence intended.

    You keep trying to put ideological space between Warren and yourself, where in fact there is very little. Especially in the eyes of the average American voter. While it’s healthy to have a robust and vigorous debate over ideas during the primary, it’s evident that that time is drawing to an end. The fracture in the party between moderates and socialists must be repaired quickly so energies and resources can be directed where they belong. As long as we're keeping this real, let me state the obvious: You're an old white guy. In today's world, that means something.

    The longer you stay in, the greater the chance that a damaged, non-viable candidate like Joe Biden will be nominated. America wants, and needs, a clear choice between the status quo and the ideals that you (and Warren) represent. But only one of you can carry the torch. If those ideals matter, and you do truly care about the future of our nation, you know what you must do.

    Leave the race, and endorse Warren. You will forever be remembered as perhaps one of the last adults in Washington D.C.. Your hardcore followers like some of the kids in college will be disappointed, but you can make this transition smooth and relativity painless. Stay positive, and stay focused. “The Squad” and many other in Washington will see the wisdom in such a decision.

    With this new coalition, the lower-tier candidates will quickly drop out soon after. Then, Warren can focus on winning the General Election.
    The longer you wait, the harder it will be to dislodge President Trump next year. You cannot count on the constant impeachment drum beat to replace a vigorous debate over ideas. Warren can carry those ideas over the finish line. And when she does, she’ll have you to thank.

    History will remember you kindly. But it’s your choice on whether you want to be remembered as a selfless player on a winning team… or as a tragic Don Quixote.
    Do the right thing, and please do it soon. Thanks.
    And bless the working people of this great nation.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"



  2. #2
    "You're old and have had a heart attack therefore you should drop out". I don't see anything in this piece that goes beyond that single statement - and when it comes to Bernie Sanders, of course, it's not a new take.

    In fact, each paragraph is essentially repeating the exact same point in a different way. Which, of course, is not what an 'open letter' - or any writing really - is supposed to do. For example, look how many times you say basically the exact same thing from paragraph to paragraph:

    Para 1 = you must perform one final selfless act: Drop out.
    Para 2 = You took the loss like an adult in ’16. Don’t repeat her mistake.
    Para 3 = We know why you need to step down now.
    Para 4 = it’s evident that that time is drawing to an end.
    Para 5 = [if] you do truly care about the future of our nation, you know what you must do
    Para 6 = Leave the race
    Para 8 = Do the right thing, and please do it soon.
    ^ Do you see how you're effectively parroting the same point over and over using slightly different language? This gets tedious quickly. It would be far better if you left the 'conclusion' to the end and instead spent most of the piece laying the groundwork. If I am arguing a case in court and every single thing I say ends with 'convict this person!' people are going to (1) Be bored and (2) Believe I am not approaching the subject as an honest broker but rather peddling a foregone conclusion, which of course I am (that's what opinion journalism is about) but constantly drubbing the same catchphrase is tiresome.

    I think you may want to look at incorporating some data, also. Non-fiction tends to work best when it's at least including some facts. The only facts in play here is that Bernie is old and has had a heart attack, which probably anybody who is reading this knows. So the question needs asked, what is new here?

    It's also not exactly convincing to the point you are making. In 1984, Ronald Reagan ran for a second term aged 73 and having been shot two and a half years before (which isn't a whole lot longer than Bernie's heart attack would be if he wins in 2020) and served out his time as a transformative leader. It wasn't disqualifying for Reagan who did not die in office and actually lived quite a few years longer. Roosevelt was sick for much of his Presidency and nobody would say he was ineffective or incapable. I'm not saying that Bernie Sander's health isn't a concern, only that constantly fixating on it probably isn't the overwhelming slam dunk your piece paints it as. There's a certain negative reaction that tends to come from saying people are not hire-able due to advanced age - in most jobs, that would not be acceptable. So, if that's your angle, I think you need to be a little more incisive in making the case.

    Perhaps some polling data? Some research on the average life expectancy of a person of Bernie's demographic and lifestyle? Maybe something that is convincing beyond 'I think this because I think this and...because'.

    The last line, about working people, seems to come from nowhere and has no relevance to the rest of the piece. You do not mention 'the working people' once in the whole piece, so tacking it to the end feels out of place, mocking even.
    Last edited by luckyscars; November 19th, 2019 at 10:18 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

    “Remember this: Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. ”

    Hidden Content


  3. #3
    /\ Thanks for the read and the crit, LS!

    A writer should always be attuned to his audience. In this case, the audience is a well-meaning but curmudgeonly septuagenarian. A quick, simple, nuanced drive-by of “Oh, by the way, you should probably leave the race” would be ineffective. At this point, appealing to reason is even questionable. There is so much bad blood, infighting and mistrust within that current group of partisans that it must be laid out simply and directly.

    I’m not going to resort to a sophomoric listing of facts and footnotes. Everyone reading this should be mature enough to understand the germane issues and their relevance. But aside from his health, I do lay out many points quite clearly for the reader:
    -You (Bernie Sanders, I VT) have sacrificed already, and it is appreciated.
    -You were stoic in your 2016 theft / loss.
    -You’re performance is adequate, but Warren is more energetic.
    -There is little rhetorical difference between you and Warren.
    -You’re an old white guy. That is a detriment today in many people’s eyes.
    -Continued infighting will only embolden a weak establishment candidate, like Joe Biden.
    -Your supporters will follow you, and who you endorse.
    -A strong, united Socialist front is the best bet at defeating Trump.
    -You shouldn’t rely on impeachment to remove Trump.
    -Your sacrifice will be remembered kindly.

    Sorry, I’m seeing a lot, lot more here than, “You’re old and weak, Bernie.” I'm not quite sure how you missed all that, and only saw the health issue I noted. This piece acknowledges his strength and wisdom, and asks Sanders to use both to make the correct decision for his party and his country. And I'm going to let that very thinly veiled accusation of ageism slide. You are just trying to be helpful, after all.

    The “tedious, tiresome parroting” you deride is actually a time-tested persuasion technique called "effective frequency", pioneered by advertising visionary Thomas Smith circa 1885. The technique was later used successfully by Rosser Reeves in the 1950’s to elect Dwight D. Eisenhower and sell Anacin (and both sold quite well). My use of the technique may have been coarse in it’s application, but hardly the sloppy error you see it to be. But I do thank you in noting that it may need some work. Since you perceive the need for a citation, here’s one:

    …If advertising is effective enough and a product flawed enough, the advertising will accelerate the destruction of the brand. Similarly, Reeves believed it was a waste of money to claim uniqueness that doesn't exist, because consumers will soon find out, and they won't come back to the brand...
    Rosser Reeves of the Ted Bates Agency,
    Wikipedia Commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosser_Reeves

    If you took the time to fully read and unpackage this piece, instead if reflexively ripping at it, I could take the rest of criticism more seriously.
    You are very correct in one observation: Invoking class and status never has a place in rational discourse amongst critical thinkers.

    Again, I really appreciate the read, especially since you said you were not a fan of the “open letter” format, yet you still made the time to read it and comment. Thanks again.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"



  4. #4
    Hello Winston. I am curious - have you presented this non-fiction piece for a viable critique of your writing, or to simply encourage debate? The reason I am asking is that much of your response to Luckyscar's critique was not an acknowledgement (by you) of what he gave as his opinion of your writing, but only his opinion of the topic, which he reached based on your words. What I believe he is telling you is, your techniques have not worked on him as you may have hoped.

    For example:
    Do you see how you're effectively parroting the same point over and over using slightly different language? This gets tedious quickly. It would be far better if you left the 'conclusion' to the end and instead spent most of the piece laying the groundwork. If I am arguing a case in court and every single thing I say ends with 'convict this person!' people are going to (1) Be bored and (2) Believe I am not approaching the subject as an honest broker but rather peddling a foregone conclusion, which of course I am (that's what opinion journalism is about) but constantly drubbing the same catchphrase is tiresome.
    He has given you some solid options on how to arrange the information, and why, all the while letting you know what effect your WRITING had on him.

    So I'll give it a stab.

    It’s been a long, strange trip. Am I right?
    You surely made your mark, even if your career has not followed what some consider to be a "traditional" path. You stuck to your ideals, and often it has cost you politically. Your independence has been a breath of fresh air in a political environment chocking with stale ideas and inane rhetoric.
    Your passion has driven you to this point. But I'm worried that the same passion may be clouding your judgement. If you truly want a new direction for America, and want Trump out of office, you must perform one final selfless act: Drop out.
    Your piece is an open letter, which in itself implies that it is not just for Mr. Sanders' eyes, but for anyone who would happen to read where it has been published. IMO, your opening sentence would have been much more effective if you had acknowledged that it was your opinion that this presidential campaign of his has "been a long, strange trip." Saying, Am I right? implies you expect an answer. (I feel it's been a long, strange trip.)

    Your fourth sentence talks about "stale ideas and inane rhetoric." I think it might be helpful if you would identify even a couple of those ideas, so a potential reader (maybe even Bernie) could get a gist of where you are coming from. Without that clarification, I fear the point is lost.

    One other thing you might consider, when you go through this document, is include where you got your information. Some of the comments I would like to see verified are:

    *You keep trying to put ideological space between Warren and yourself, where in fact there is very little. Especially in the eyes of the average American voter.
    Do you have documentation on the average American voter expressing these thoughts? A publication perhaps? Online or print?

    *
    As long as we're keeping this real, let me state the obvious: You're an old white guy. In today's world, that means something.
    Can you provide some stats that tell us what that means? I mean, are there places where being an "old white guy," is so damning that there no point in continuing with goals?

    *
    With this new coalition, the lower-tier candidates will quickly drop out soon after. Then, Warren can focus on winning the General Election.
    Citations, please!

    Winston, honestly, this seems to me to be nothing more than a personal op ed, not a true "Open Letter" to anyone. I appreciate you taking the opportunity to share with us your feelings about Bernie Sanders, et al, but I think posting it in the Non-fiction Forum, as if your expectation was to garner critiques is a little off the mark. You seemed defensive when responding to Luckyscars critique. You must be experienced enough to know that such a piece would demand some kind of verification or citations on where that information came from, not just your own personal view of how things are going.

    It might be helpful if your periodically said things like, "I think . . .", or "I feel . . ." if there are no citations available, or if its from an unreliable source.

    Can you tell us how you came to form your opinions? Did you do research?




    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  5. #5
    I have not, and I will not debate. Even if I’m being baited into it.
    I am not arguing with Staff, or violating “Da Rules (sic)”.
    I am responding politely, but firmly to criticism.

    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    ...Your piece is an open letter, which in itself implies that it is not just for Mr. Sanders' eyes, but for anyone who would happen to read where it has been published. IMO, your opening sentence would have been much more effective if you had acknowledged that it was your opinion that this presidential campaign of his has "been a long, strange trip." Saying, Am I right? implies you expect an answer. (I feel it's been a long, strange trip.)

    Your fourth sentence talks about "stale ideas and inane rhetoric." I think it might be helpful if you would identify even a couple of those ideas, so a potential reader (maybe even Bernie) could get a gist of where you are coming from. Without that clarification, I fear the point is lost.

    One other thing you might consider, when you go through this document, is include where you got your information. Some of the comments I would like to see verified are:

    *You keep trying to put ideological space between Warren and yourself, where in fact there is very little. Especially in the eyes of the average American voter.
    Do you have documentation on the average American voter expressing these thoughts? A publication perhaps? Online or print?

    *
    As long as we're keeping this real, let me state the obvious: You're an old white guy. In today's world, that means something.
    Can you provide some stats that tell us what that means? I mean, are there places where being an "old white guy," is so damning that there no point in continuing with goals?

    *
    With this new coalition, the lower-tier candidates will quickly drop out soon after. Then, Warren can focus on winning the General Election.
    Citations, please!
    You could have started, and ended with this. These point are relevant to my OP, and I would have taken them at face value as honest feedback. But instead, this was inserted:

    I am curious - have you presented this non-fiction piece for a viable critique of your writing, or to simply encourage debate?
    If you doubt my veracity and motives, please Private Message me and we can discuss this. Writing areas are not the proper place for this kind of “discussion”. It is not fair to accuse a Member of this, knowing that you are begging a tangent that will lead to debate.

    look at incorporating some data,
    include where you got your information.
    Do you have documentation
    Can you provide some stats
    Citations, please!
    that such a piece would demand some kind of verification or citations on where that information came from,
    Can you tell us how you came to form your opinions? Did you do research?
    Sue, I’ve been posting in the Non-Fiction section here on WF for 8 years (since 2011). I have given, and received a lot of feedback. I would ask that you review some yourself. Just click on any post in this section. You will note that no one is asked to “cite their sources”. Ever. Quite the opposite, I see a lot supportive, encouraging, positive feedback without the condescending schoolmarmary. I don’t know if this is some new standard that is being universally applied, or it is selective.

    Regardless, I graduated Summa Cum Laude 30 years ago. I know how to cite sources if needed. But the assertion I must cite sources to be taken seriously is tedious and frankly overtly stifling. The only justification for your and LuckyScars citation drumbeat would be to either discredit my writing by implying it’s hackneyed, or discourage me from writing altogether.

    As far as the alleged victimhood of the other member and his critique, please note that his post has been edited at least three times in four days. Content was altered so he would look less offensive, and he could play the aggrieved party.

    In summary, if you want your critique to be taken seriously: Don’t talk down to the poster, make nonsensical demands, and treat them like your student. Respect is earned, not awarded and worn like royal colors.
    Purple. Interesting...

    I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.
    Martin Luther, 1521

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"



  6. #6
    I meant no offense and I'm sorry you misunderstood my interest.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


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