I am a Montpelier resident, in the process of relocating to the Village of Adamant in Calais. I have been aware of you and followed your rise in politics since I worked at the Chittenden County Superior Court as a judicial law clerk in the early 1980s. I watched as you took on the Board of Aldermen and then were elected mayor of the City of Burlington. I was then working from my corner courthouse office with a view of City Hall. I remember when the “Mayor’s ‘Swiss cheese’ car” was towed from your designated parking space. Those were great times, with Ben and Jerry serving us lunchtime ice cream from their trailer across the City Hall green. I have always admired your dedication to the people and have been in agreement with most of your policies.
However, I am writing to implore you, beg you, to drop out of the Democratic presidential primary for two essential reasons.
First, under the throes of this coronavirus pandemic, we cannot possibly have a Democratic primary process. At this juncture time spent on the primary process is wasted time and money. At this juncture, the voters will not come out in the numbers needed to call this a fair, representative voting process. At this juncture, and even before the pandemic hit, you are not going to get the young voters you need to win the nomination and certainly not to win the presidency. Our youth are disengaged and clueless. It is a sad state of affairs. I recently had two Millennials in their 20s tell me they don’t vote. One excuse was “I have to work.” (Well, hello, why do we stretch the voting session from 7 to 7? For workers like him.) The second excuse was “I’m not settled yet.” (Well, hello, you vote wherever you are, and you can change that location when you move. I believe voter registration is a pretty straightforward process now. It can even be done on line. But they don’t do it.) These “kids” make me crazy. They stress concern about global economy, environment etc. but then don’t practice what they preach. Bottom line is, regrettably, many of them just don’t care as long as they are comfortable and have their technology.
My second reason is that we must get Trump out of the White House. I have not been a Biden supporter but, at this juncture, he appears to be our only chance. If he identifies the right running mate (it needs to be someone younger, hopefully a woman to cross the voter divide) and surrounds himself with a solid administration and supporters like yourself, we have a chance. We cannot expect Biden to be president for a long period of time given his age and dementia.
If you want to leave a legacy, we need you to help choose the right vice president and be there to promote your agenda. Please think this over. You are in the unique position to negotiate who our vice president will be and leave that decision as part of your legacy.
Another reason is that we need you fighting for us in person in Washington. You have had amazing impact on our legislation and governance. Traveling around politicking and/or vacating your seat will put an end to that legacy. And if and when Pat Leahy decides to retire, it will be even more important to have you there in person, fighting for the underprivileged and downtrodden.
Bernie, I lie awake at night worrying about what is happening in this world. It is a world I personally don’t always want to live in any more. I am grateful to be older and to have lived a wonderful, fulfilling life, with ups and downs for sure, but with many satisfying accomplishments and relationships. If I go tomorrow, I will not be sad for myself. I will have done what I need to do and have experienced much joy in this life. But for others, our youth, our elderly who are not ready to say goodbye, our struggling sick and poor, Third World countries just identifying opportunity, it is not a time to say goodbye but to stay hopeful, keep living, keep trying to make this a better place. Your place, your reason for being, is to continue to help make all that happen. So please, do what is right for the times, what we need.
Read The Times Argus editorial of this past week saying it is time, time for you to bow out and get behind what is our best shot right now to move government forward. Stomp Trump. Identify the right VP. Stay where you get the most bang for the buck, representing Vermonters, youth and the underprivileged in Washington.
Dot Helling is a Montpelier resident.