Publisher's Message: Dream Big with a Touch of Reality
by Sue Gillis

Sue Gillis, Publisher, Vermont Woman
photo: Jan Doerler

You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?

Remember “Happy Talk” from South Pacific? It’s a great reminder to keep on dreaming because if you don’t, then it’s a sure thing that none will come true. I figured this out a while back along with a couple of tricks to increase the odds and help dreams come true.

One is that they better be somewhat grounded in reality. The other is to accept that not all dreams actually turn out exactly as you hoped for, but many will come close, and coming close may make all the difference. As the motivational speaker Norman Vincent Peale said, “Shoot for the moon. If you miss you will land among the stars!” The point is to dream big (not moderately), and as you launch in your goal’s direction even if you do not reach it, chances are other opportunities will emerge that you could not have imagined.

So speaking of dreams … Well, there are ridiculous dreams like buying a starter house on Mars or living to 150. Then there are the simply delusional dreams, like Trump’s idea he could actually be elected president of the United States.

Then there are the dreams of Bernie Sanders, developed years ago. Dreams of restructuring the government both economically and politically with the ultimate goal of more equality for all. His journey has been remarkable all the way from serving as Burlington mayor and in the US Congress, and this past year being a serious contender to become the US president.

Bernie dreamed big. His campaign slogan—A Future to Believe In—resonated and won him millions of supporters and the awe of his colleagues. But ultimately, Bernie lost his primary bid to win the nomination to Hillary Clinton—now the presumptive Democratic candidate who has begun the daunting task of defeating Donald Trump, Republican presumptive nominee.

So now what? What’s to become of his dream and of those 10 million Americans who passionately support his dream and message?

Although Bernie is well liked by fellow senators and generally votes with the Democratic caucus, as a self-declared socialist and one of only two Independents in the US Senate, he is considered an outlier—often slow or refusing to compromise and not leading to put forth new and creative bills that might actually get presented for serious consideration. Very often by holding back his support he was able to raise the level of discourse to consider a broader and more comprehensive agenda, as he did with the Affordable Care Act, resulting in the inclusion of $10 billion for community health centers. Then he chose to run his campaign as a Democrat, taking advantage of the party’s structure, staff, money, and state-by-state organization, all the while dissing primary campaign rules, the party operatives, and the superdelegate system.

His future to believe in was to break up the banking system and Wall Street and provide universal health care for all, free tuition to attend public colleges, and a $15 minimum wage, without offering a politically clear and affordable plan on how to get there. In fighting for climate change, he declared an end to fracking; although fracking has problems, he gave pause to many because of the good that fracking has done in reducing CO2 emissions to the lowest levels in 20 years and the jobs created.
Still millions want to believe in his dream: many who are young and have never been involved with politics and others who feel left behind and struggling to make ends meet. He spoke to them directly, as he always has, and his message and dream resonated in a big way. Surprising everyone. And it’s understandable. Bernie’s presentation of his dreams is dazzling and seductive. Most would love to see his dreams become a reality.

But then dream reality set in. When it came time to actually explain how his dreams could be accomplished, instead of expanding on his message and giving more details, he repeated the same message, day after day, week after week, calling for a political revolution. By contrast, when Hillary comfortably got into the weeds, she expanded on her experience, competence, and mastery of domestic and foreign policy with minute details and vision, while Bernie’s call for a revolution carried memories of the chaos of the sixties.

Now, the dream of a political revolution is a high priority for Bernie and his staff and supporters as he begins the process of integrating into the Clinton campaign. He intends to use his leverage of 1,877 delegates and millions of e-mail contacts and potential Hillary voters to secure promises from Clinton to carry out his dreams (many of which she has already accommodated). And he has stated he will do everything he can to prevent a Trump presidency—so one should assume that eventually he will release his delegates to Hillary.

Hillary has proven again and again, over 25 years in public service, that she has the smarts, the courage, the ambition, and the stamina to fight for and win this election and hopefully, if elected, become an outstanding president. At a time in our nation’s history of rampant domestic violence, Middle East instability, economic volatility, and the impending climate change crisis, we are lucky that she chose to be a candidate and to fight every day to help make this a better country for us all.

Hillary is not perfect or unethical. In her humanness, she has made mistakes, as she has acknowledged. She will make more. Complicated problem solving requires timely decision making with the best information you have at the time, and most are made under enormous pressure. But she is experienced, deliberate, calculating, strategic, and even-tempered. And fun—she has loads of friends and is respected among her Democratic colleagues and foreign heads of state all over the world, polled as most admired woman in the US for years (Gallup) and second-most admired in the world (Forbes 2016), after Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Loving Hillary is not a requirement for voting for her but competence certainly is—if we want to continue building on the dreams of our forefathers and mothers and strive for a safe, productive, clean, country with equal opportunities for all. Of course, there is Donald Trump.

Bernie ran a helluva campaign, and he made Vermonters proud, including Hillary supporters. From Brooklyn to the backwoods of little Vermont, where he first acted out his dreams long ago by winning the Burlington mayoral election by 10 votes. This year he showed the nation and the world that there is one American senator who will stand up for the average American, and not only was his message heard by millions, but he also moved the Democratic Party and Hillary to support his issues.

As for Bernie’s revolution dream, if he can organize his supporters to work state by state to help elect good progressive candidates on the downside of the ticket to help get the Republicans out of control in the Senate and the House, then his dreams will have a chance of succeeding—because to actually govern in this severely polarized nation with a Republican-controlled Congress is nearly impossible, as Obama discovered. It appears Bernie will have a national voice for years to come.

Bernie is a force to be reckoned with. Together, he and Hillary (and Obama and Joe and Elizabeth) will deliver a knockout punch to that uninformed, incurious, filthy-mouthed, racist, misogynist, ill-tempered, lying, hair-trigger, unstable, and volatile Trump, who is a disgrace to our ancestors, the office of the presidency, our children, and America. (Time for Barbara Bush to get out her very large bar of soap.)

As for the Republican Party, it seems it is completely devoid of leadership, reality, or dreams.



Sue Gillis is the Publisher of Vermont Woman.