Constituent gives presidential candidate some advice

Dear Sen. Bernie Sanders,
I have been reflecting, since you made the decision to run for president of our United States. Here are my ideas. Use any, if they are helpful.
1.      Take care of your health. We, supporters around our country and your family, want you around on this side of the sod for a while. Whether you become president or not, we still need your voice heard. Your traveling team needs to have people who understand how to live in a healthy way. Learn de-stressing techniques.
2.      Talk less and act more. Instead of getting sucked into the normal campaign stuff, consider traveling around the country spreading your message. We are no long working with a fear-based economy. We are working with a building-based economy. Building what? Building community and whatever connections we can make in our country to show that we can act in a caring, sharing way.
Have a “bazillion” potlucks as you travel around the country. Visit farmers’ markets. Hang out and work with communities around our country. Most of the physical work is done by your support teams. You need to pace yourself. Remember your health, again, again, and again.
You will also share music and tell stories. Listen. Ask what a community needs and have your team start the project. When Nelson Mandela was alive, citizens of South Africa gathered and traveled around and helped communities. That was their way of honoring Nelson Mandela and all he had done to help their country come about. That grand day of volunteering was Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
Who makes up your team(s) of support? Recruit a cross-section of our United States. This action will allow citizens to be part of a caring community. Community building is our saving grace. I believe many Vermont towns have a healthy sense of community. You can use us a guide. (I live in Bristol, and I consider myself very fortunate. We are blessed with much community support.) Institute front porch forums around the country. I think there are enough citizens who can do their small part financially and make a monthly donation.
Since your campaign is so different than the usual, the media will be reporting about your projects happening around the country. There is no need to spend money on advertisements. Your actions will speak louder than words. DO NOT wait until you become president to make a difference. ACT NOW. In fact, and this is going to sound “not right,” DO NOT be hung up on the final “victory” of becoming president. Change our United States for the better, in the next 15 months or so.
Invite elders from around our country to come sit with you and share their wisdom. Listen. Reflect. Act. Express gratitude.
3.      I know that you are concerned about the disenfranchised. Visit the homeless. Visit prisoners. (Even though most are not allowed to vote. They have family. They have friends.) Visit struggling schools. Listen to their stories. Their stories will touch your soul, which will in turn open the hearts of our nation. We then accept plans for renewing our commitment to rebuild our nation. (The storytelling work that Satori Shakoor is doing in Detroit is truly uplifting. Listen to Detroit’s journey.)
4.      Hope in communities will work when we realize our roots. We cannot presently depend on any trickle-down effect to work. If we realize our commonalities and work together, work transforms into fun activity and not drudgery. Joyful celebrations can happen. We can also mourn together, realizing the pain that many are experiencing in their lives. In Quaker Friends’ Meeting, we have an expression: To hold someone or some situation in the light. If I know I am held, then I can gather strength from that energy of positive intention. We can develop our compassion.
5.      I recently saw the movie about Harvey Milk. You can use his line: “Hello, my name is Bernie Sanders and I am here to recruit you. Be who you are.” There is no need to hide. Come together and make a difference. We all know our democracy is NOT FOR SALE. We will not give up. This groundswell can happen around our country. Your teams of support will be the catalyst. Let us know what we can do to help this process.
Patricia Heather Lea, Bristol

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