bernie sanders announces his leaving the race for president
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in St Louis, Missouri, U.S., March 9, 2020.

Editor’s Note: This piece is written by Raul Kohl, son of Ron and Laura Kohl. Laura was a frequent contributor to Alianza North County and was known to many in North County as a tireless activist. We miss Laura.

Since hearing the news of Bernie suspending his campaign I have spent much of my quarantine reflecting on where to go next, how to support this country, what could have been, and his place in history.

I come from a family of activists. My grandmother fought much of her life in Washington DC for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam. My father fought police oppression in New York City. My mom threw her support behind some of the greatest progressive thinkers of the 20th century like RFK and Cesar Chavez. She believed a perfect world could exist where it wasn’t them vs us but all of us.

While my 30 years haven’t measured up yet I still try to support the people and organizations that have my best interests at heart. I spend my days teaching young people about the past and present as well as encouraging them to question everything, fight for what they believe, and seek to make the world a far better place then they found it.

I do love this country, despite being told to leave it, despite racial slurs, and despite knowing that many people do not like me simply because of the color of my skin and the way I think. What I want is a better United States and that is why I support those I do. I want the people of this country to shout in unison that racism, greed, favoritism, discrimination, bullying, and unpatriotic acts have no place in our highest office.

Like my mom I have found inspiration in people like Obama, Bernie, AOC and Omar. Perhaps I, along with so many, was too hopeful of a Bernie presidency. Maybe I dreamed too hard of a country where healthcare was for everyone, education no longer came at a steep price, the expanse between the haves and have nots shrank, and the American Dream could be realized again. I had hoped that we would be able to say to the world that the United States had awoken from a deep slumber and were prepared to rejoin the rest of the first world in those and many other ways.

Despite that dream not being realized in 2020 I have hope, as I always have. That dream that I had may not be ready yet but that doesn’t mean steps can’t be taken to getting there. History is full of steps, some small, some large, of progressive minded people moving nations forward. FDR established so many programs we take for granted while being called a socialist. JFK fought for Civil Rights, and while many of his ideas weren’t enough they were a step towards a better United States. Union members have died in the streets so workers have protections and women had to fight against unimaginable oppression for a right to fill in a circle on a ballot.

Even today this country is full of people making small steps towards a brighter tomorrow and I am there, marching in support of those working for a better United States and those who do owe a debt to Bernie.

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